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A spot of original blasting
For a slightly different take on the scrolling shooter genre, consider taking a look at Battlestorm. It's not a vertical blaster, like Tyrian or The Reap, nor a horizontal one like Forgotten Worlds or Gradius, but instead it combines elements of all these games to create a multi-directional scroller that is actually pretty decent. It's fairly simple stuff as far as these go, but hardcore genre fans should find plenty to enjoy here. There's probably a story about invading aliens or somesuch nonsense but no one really cares about that so let's concentrate on the gameplay. The game takes an overhead view and throws players into a series of fairly large levels, all based on a devastated, desert-like planet, where your goal is simply to explore and blow merry hell out of whatever comes your way. The overall goal is to destroy the motherships which hover threateningly overhead and ultimately take out the big baddie at the end, but along the way you'll find auto-turrets and little spaceships, which all aim to make your life a misery. The game does't continuously scroll but allows the player freedom to stop, start and explore pretty much at will, while there are few fairly satisfying powerups to grab if you're quick. While certainly not a classic shooter, Battlestorm is still enjoyable stuff. The addition of the multi-directional scrolling helps it to stand out in an overcrowded genre, while the action is intense enough to keep most fans happy. The visuals are respectable enough, bearing a certain resemblance to the classic Uridium, so on the whole this is good enough to make the short list of any but the most discriminating of shooter addicts.