Go get those aliens!
Things really don't get much more basic than Zap 'em, in terms of either visuals, options or gameplay itself but for a neat variation on the classic old-school shooter formula as established by Space Invaders, it's worth a brief inspection. While many shooters which followed in the progenitor's footstep were merely content to copy wholesale from their inspiration, Zap 'em does at least offer a little something in the way of originality and can even be seen as a forerunner to the likes of horizontally scrolling shooters such as Gradius. The twist here is that instead of presenting players with a simple screen with their ship at the bottom and wave after wave of enemies approaching from the top, Zap 'em turns things on the side and positions the ship at the left of the screen, with the enemies coming from the right. It's like a static version of the horizontal shooter and it's a concept which has been used surprisingly little over the years but which is nevertheless an entertaining proposition. Where Zap 'em falls down is in its obvious home-made nature with excessively crude graphics that are little more than an arrow for the spaceship and square blocks for the bad guys. When even the instructions acknowledge the fact that the main sprite doesn't really look like what it is supposed to, you know you're entering amateur hour! Despite these visual shortcomings though, Zap 'em plays reasonably well and if you are the kind of player who enjoys high score chasing and is not put off by the low rent graphics, this might prove to be right up your alley.