Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Game of the Day - Regulus

It's cold in Seattle this morning.  After a record-breakingly beautiful summer, fall has arrived with a vengeance - bringing wind and rain and a chill in your bones.  The solution is simple, play Regulus and you will be warmed up and then sweating in no time.

Regulus in an old-school omni shooter.  Basically, it's a primitive version of Valtric, one of my all-time favs.  You drive your vehicle around in a slowly scrolling vertical shooter kind of direction.  But, you can use the joystick to point, drive and shoot in any direction you'd like (well eight directions, anyway).  So along with the joystick, you have two buttons, shoot and bomb(?).  The first button fires your weapon in the direction you are facing, handy to the max.  The second button, like many games of this ilk, only fires straight up the screen (no matter how you are facing), dropping a bomb where you had previously aimed a cross-hair that is always travelling at a fixed distance directly in front of you.

The enemies that come at you are weird and sometimes carrying stuff.  Also, many of the enemies cannot be reached directly because they are on something like land or rocks.  Whatever it is supposed to be, your vehicle/ship can't go there, and the bomb helps out a lot in these instances.  In fact, the landscape is a little weird.  It seems that solid colors are types of land you can't traverse, but there is also a lot of dotted landscape that is like a swamp - you slow down drastically in the dotted landscape but are still able to move some.  This swamp-sluggish movement comes into play a lot and you have to plan your strategy around it.  Another interesting feature is that your bombs blow-up and clear the dotted landscape, so that you can drive at normal speeds once you have bombed the crap away.  There are places on the map completely covered with the swampy stuff and clearing it will be your primary target.

As I mentioned, the enemies sometimes carry things... A dragon looking thing drops an egg when you shoot it, some of the enemies carry flags and plant them when you shoot them. Collect all these things when you can for bonuses.

Back to the difficulty.  Regulus is bitch-hard.  You have to constantly move in all directions to avoid the enemy attacks.  It took me several plays just to get past the first checkpoint so that when I died I didn't start back at the beginning.  It seems like there is something about omni shooters that make you tense up and give you a better workout than vertical shooters.  When I think of really difficult vert shooters, I realize they are terribly hard, but they don't give me the same type of workout that Regulus and Valtric do.  Maybe the smoothness of the flying action and most of it being left and right in vert shooters just doesn't take as much energy as freaking out in all directions like the omni shooters. Anyway, I went from being chilly to super warm and had to go outside in just a few minutes of play.  Of course, nothing will warm you up faster than an old-fashioned game of Track & Field, but that's another post.

It's old and not exactly pretty (hey, sounds like me) but Regulus is a great game and a tough challenge.

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