Saturday, January 16, 2010

Somewhere in a secret headqurtaer in the Antarctic...

Sidescrolling shooters are usually known for weapons, bullet-dodging and hordes of different enemies. While Intrusion does have all these features, it adds another element to the game: ragdoll-like physics. This makes it harder to jump away and avoid being shot, but it's just so much fun to see your opponents fly around when hit. During the game you'll fight soldiers, robots, helicopters and even get to try a huge robot with a machinegun and infinite grenades.

Story of Intrusion

Your rocket lands inside of an arctic place full of enemy soldiers and exploding mechanical pigs, you have to kill some giant robots, you get hit by a train, fight on that train, shot up in the sky and shoot down lots of enemies on your way. Ya' know, just the usual plot.

Gameplay of Intrusion

As I already said there's some physics involved in this game, which, on one hand, makes things a little more exciting, but your character becomes very slow and a bit more difficult to control. It takes some practice to figure out how to move best and plan forward to balance your weaknesses. By the way, you control your nameless soldier with WASD, change weapons with 1,2,3 and 4, and aim with the mouse.
At this point I have to say something about the graphics: it keeps getting better during the whole game! Even though the first level's plain icy deserts aren't very spectacular, you'll soon see what I mean. Detailed sky and backgrounds that look like a photo, just like the whole scenery make everything look better than most flash shooters do. Also, spectacular cutscenes and big bosses prevent the game from getting boring or repetitive.

Intrusion provides a normal and an easy mode, and a list of every chapter you have played through which you're then free to choose from. All in all Intrusion is a reasonably difficult game, but never completely unfair. Some boss attacks are a little overpowered in my opinion, but that's what makes a boss fight interesting I guess. Of course there are multiple checkpoints in every level, so you don't have to start from the beginning every time you die.
Since I took more screenshots than usual and there's really not much more left to say about the gameplay, I'll end this part now with the facts that missiles can be shot, enemies have the ability to shoot and walk through crates and you can climb and swing on ropes, but you'll figure that out while playing the game anyways.

Further info

-The blaster can shoot through some platforms and multiple enemies, this is especially useful when many weak opponents attack you or when you're fighting the worm-like boss in the second level.
-You can only dodge the worm's lasers if you move close enough to his head, if you're too far away he'll easily hit you.
-You can get out of the giant robot in the fourth level by holding down and pressing jump. You should do this to collect weapons and health on the way.
-Jumping around is not always the best choice, since you can hardly control your character in the air. Try ducking or taking cover instead, keeping a low profile is sometimes the only thing you can do.


If you're looking for a challenging and good looking game, you'll probably like Intrusion. This game has it all: graphics, physics and huge robots. One of the best run n guns you'll find on the net.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Everybody was little fightiiing...

I think it's safe to say that the golden age of side-scrolling fighting games has ended with the SNES and Sega Genesis losing their popularity. Maybe you have stumbled upon a few remakes or emulations, but considering how many great one-on-one beat em ups (which I also really like) have been released for consoles recently, it's also clearly to see that big developers don't care for the sidescrolling kind of the genre much anymore. Luckily, freeware games are known for reviving games that were thought of as long forgotten, and Little Fighter 2 is a great example for this.

Story of Little Fighter 2

Although it contains a Stage mode, Little Fighter 2 doesn't have a story, but if you really want to see the game's characters in an animation, you should check the fan-made flash animation series: Little Fighter Alpha.

Gameplay of Little Fighter 2

In LF2 you control a fighter, each with different abilities, for instance, while Woody can teleport away from his enemies, or Rudolf, the ninja (quite an odd way to call a ninja, isn't it?) can transform into people he touched or clone himself, Freeze has the ability to throw iceballs on his opponents that capture them inside an iceblock. In a close combat characters usually use chains of punches and kicks, but there are some special skills that you can use right next to your opponent too. Most special attacks cost mana points that regenerate over time.
The thing I love most about sidescrolling fighting games is, that even though you can play against each other competitively, most game modes allow you to cooperate with other players, fighting together against hordes of enemies, or if your friends don't feel like playing you can set computer teammates that you can even give commands like come, move or stay.

Little Fighter 2 combines this with a great selection of different characters, there's a total of 23 characters you can choose from, 10 you can play with from the beginning and 13 you have to unlock by playing the stages (or type in a simple cheat ;)) though 8 of them are rather playable minions you'll meet along the game. All characters have different strengths and weaknesses, and a few can even change to someone else or fusion with a teammate so feel free to experiment for a while before jumping into a game. Surprisingly, you can also unlock the boss, Julian. This character is undoubtedly the strongest of all, to be honest fighting with him against a standard character would be unfair, but in LF2 you can team up with multiple companions and balance the match. Joining a team is also possible in the stage mode, but the number of players will affect the number of enemies you have to beat, but of course the AI of your opponents can be changed in the difficulty settings.

The basic controls are simple, you move with the arrow keys, plus there's a button each for attack, jump, and block, but you can configurate the buttons which is especially convenient if you want to play with more people on the same keyboard. The special skills are activated by pressing the defense button, a direction and then attack or jump. You can look up the entire moves list on the official site, there's also a link to it in the control settings menu, or download the guide which includes the Firzen fusional technique too and explains things a little more detailed.
As I already mentioned, in LF2 you can play with or against many opponents, controlled either by a player or by the computer. This makes new game modes possible like the battle, where two players choose each an entire army to fight with. Furthermore, in the game you'll find several weapons like baseball bats, crates, stones or scythes. You can also throw these, so use them wisely.

Another great thing is the possibility of recording matches. All you have to do is clicking the turn the recording button in the recording info menu and all of your matches that you play will be saved. Then, you can play these back anytime, or share them with anyone who has the same version of LF2 by sending the text file with the data of your recording. And if that's still not enough, you can try creating your own character with the help of some template files especially made for this purpose. If you don't have the patience to do this yourself, look up the Little Fighter forums, there should be plenty of characters ready to download.

Further info

-Most energy balls can be hit back.
-If Firen and Freeze run towards each other while both have less than 1/3 of their energy, after a huge explosion the combine into Firzen and one of the players take control over him.
-Louis can change into LouisEX if he has less than 1/3 of his life, in this form he takes off his armor but gets a spear. LouisEX has a different moves list from Luis' and he's also faster, plus running through people will hit them since he holds his spear in front of him. This can also help you hit back energy balls.
-After his Strike attack (D, down, A) the character called Deep can do a Leap Attack (D, up, J, A). This will hit the airborne opponent guaranteedly. Davis has a similar combination, except he uses his normal melee combo to hit the enemy in the air.
-John's Energy Shield can also be used as an attack if you opponent touches it.
-In the stage mode you can save some characters lying tied up in levels. These will fight with you.


Little Fighter 2 combines elements from sidescrolling beat em ups with Dragonball-like characters and techniques and lots of modes for one or more players, mixing all into an extremely fun fighting game easy enogh for anyone to jump in and play, while it still leaves enough free room for exploring new combos or even new forms of some characters. Anyone who likes fighting games of any kind and doesn't get irritated by plain levels or the lack of a story should give it a try.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Games for pros: Varia (freeware)

Top-down shoot em ups, or short SHMUPs usually take place in space, with the objective of shooting down alien spaceships with your devastating lasers. Varia is very similar to these typical games, with a little difference that you're not on the way to a foreign planet, but into the core of a computer.
This unusual setting has a great influence on the graphics style, giving the game a futuristic neon-look.

Gameplay of Varia

There are three basic elements you'll find in most shoot em ups: flying, shooting, and upgrades. You move with the cursor keys, shoot with Z, X puts you into slow mode and freezes options and C lets you discard an ability picked up with your options (more on that later). You can also use the slow mode to dodge bullets. Let's get to the upgrade system.
The way to get them and the powerups themselves are very similar to those in the popular arena shooter Fraxy. To get a powerup you have to shoot down a certain type of enemy, after it's destroyed 3 bonuses appear and you're free to choose whichever you like.
-The red powerup increases the number of bullets you can simultaneously fire with your basic gun.
-Green ones give you a shield (not accumultative)
-Yellow adds an option (a green floating orb, similar to the ones in the NES classic Gradius) that follows your ship and has the ability to absorb an enemy projectile and copy it. More on that later

-If you can stay long enough in between these upgrades you'll get all of the above. Otherwise the rest disappears once you picked one of them.

You can own a maximum of 4 options and 4 upgrades for your vulcan gun at the same time. To use an option make it touch an enemy projectile. Once it absorbs the shot it'll copy that enemy's ability. Simple, round bullets are the most common in the game, they're not too strong but don't be afraid to pick them up, you can discard abilities absorbed by options by pressing C. You can collect most kinds of projectiles this way, but some enemies, especially bosses have weapons thats bullets can't be absorbed.
Shields protect you from a shot, you can't use multiple shields at a time. If you die all your upgrades will appear on the screen, you only have to collect them again. Weapons absorbed by your options will be lost though, so be careful not to die when you can't find strong weapons.
There's also an in-game tutorial that explains the basics fairly well, if you have any difficulties take a look at it.

Further info

-Staying in the middle of the powerups dropped by some ships in order to get all of the upgrades is a lot easier in the slow mode. You activate this by pressing X. This will also keep your orbs in the same place related to your ship, which makes collecting new weapons a lot easier, too.
-Bosses usually consist of multiple parts that can be destroyed seperately. Always go for the one first that you find hardest to dodge.
-You can discard any unwanted weapons you picked up with your option by pressing C. If you have multiple options you can select another one by pressing up or down.
-You can use an empty option as a shield if you freeze it right in front of your ship. Beware of projectiles that cannot be absorbed though!


Varia is a fast (and with only 5 levels maybe a bit too short) action shooter with many great features, some known from other similar games, but a few very innovative ones too. Tricky bosses and lots of different abilities you can collect from your enemies make the game fun and give it a good value of replayability. Higher difficulty settings might be frustrating for casual players, but offer real experts just the challenge they'd expect. The flashy and even spectacular effects manage to make a distinction to other games with this common graphics style.