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Sunday, March 25, 2007
Twenty of the best freeware shooters released in 2006 and early 2007, ordered alphabetically.
[Top 50 shmups page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4, the entire list]

1. Ablation
2. Blue Wish Resurrection
3. Clean Asia
4. Demolition Gunner
5. End Effector: Accomplished Edition
6. Ether Vapor
7. Gamma Bros.
8. Mogura 2
9. Titanion
10. Vacant Ark

1. Ablation

Ablation is basically a four color vertical shooter with an interesting concept. Touching a white bomb neutralizes all projectiles, while activating a black one destroys every object in range. Collect power-ups for a firepower upgrade. Controls are:

Left CTRL, Z, Space - shoot
F5, F6 - change window size
P - pause


Black pixels do no damage, though contact with a white pixel will cause your ship to lose one power-up degree. Destroy an enemy's weak point for a special core bonus.

Name: Ablation
Developer: Nenad
Size: 7.50 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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2. Blue Wish Resurrection

Blue Wish Resurrection is a vertical shooter by x.x that features two ships to choose from, three difficulty levels and five stages with obligatory end-level bosses.

There's an autobomb option in the config screen, and pressing space will bring you back to the main menu even when you're playing. The Heaven difficulty is probably too easy for most players, while Normal is the best one to start with. Health indicators are shown for large enemies to help you gauge the amount of damage they can take.

Name: Blue Wish Resurrection
Developer: x.x
Size: 56.5 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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3. Clean Asia

Part Warning Forever, part Tumiki Fighters, all style. In Clean Asia, the eyes of mankind has decided to leave their hosts and take over the earth. Their first move was to escape to the moon, where they developed their hostile weapon technology. Ten years later they return and forcefully take over some prominent countries in Asia. Thailand and New Korea has both succumb to the hostile threat, while China insists on dealing with the eyes themselves and refuses any helping hands from around the world.

America sends a pair of pilot twins with extraordinary sixth senses to battle against the evil eyes. They both have designed their own space ships that seems to be about the only thing in existance that can be used to battle these terrible fiends.

It has three levels and two selectable ships with distinct controlling differences and abillities, fourteen bosses and ten regular enemies.

Name: Clean Asia
Developer: cactus
Size: 5.62 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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4. Demolition Gunner

Think Under Defeat, but with 2D sprites. Demolition Gunner: In Search and Destroy was originally developed for a three minute gameplay competition, then turned into a complete production featuring seven stages and obligatory boss encounters.

These battles last only twenty seconds each, so there won't be much of a struggle beating them assuming that you're good at dodging an insane number of bullets. Press the Z key to shoot, or hold the X key for a few seconds before releasing the button to launch a napalm bomb.

Name: Demolition Gunner
Developer: DHC
Size: 11.2 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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5. End Effector: Accomplished Edition

End Effector Accomplished Edition is another superb freeware shooter from Japan that actually showcases 3D graphics for sprites and backgrounds, although gameplay is still very much on a flat 2D plane.

Textures are poor but that's practically the only drawback of an otherwise excellent shmup. The Z key is assigned as the cancel/secondary button, while the X key is used for selection and shoot. Pressing the C key will bring up a menu. Hold the Z key for a few seconds to charge your special weapon.

No power-ups to collect as you're already equipped with a powerful charge weapon that can be used like a slingshot. The first level is quite plain, but things do pick up after the initial boss battle.

Name: End Effector: Accomplished Edition
Developer: KMC
Size: 69.1 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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6. Ether Vapor

Ether Vapor is a 3D shooter that looks very impressive, with plenty of special effects and cutscenes to set up boss fights. The action switches from vertical to horizontal halfway through the demo, practically offering two types of gameplay for the price of one.

Three weapons are available to the player but only one can be used at any time. Enemies do look a little bland with gray as their primary texture color but credit to Edelwiss for squeezing in so much into a 15.5MB trial version.

Name: Ether Vapor
Developer: Edelwiss
Size: 17.9 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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7. Gamma Bros.

The name Gamma Bros sounds like a platformer but it is in fact a shooter. Use the W, A, S or D key to shoot in any of the four directions. Collect coins to purchase upgrades or health, and get close to an enemy to fire rapidly. You can change characters by touching your partner's ship when it appears on the screen.

A password save function is available, allowing players to continue from the last stage attempted. Access it by pressing the arrow keys while viewing the main menu. There's a Mac version as well.

Name: Gamma Bros.
Developer: Pixeljam Games
Size: 19.5 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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8. Mogura 2

Mogura 2 is an excellent shmup by Krobon Station, featuring two characters with different abilities and weapons. Both gets a standard shield which can be activated using the X key. Hold the Z key to shoot, and tap the C key to initiate a special attack. Press the left control key to change the way your weapon operates.

A tutorial can be accessed from the main menu by selecting the third option. The second offers a difficulty setting. After picking a character, you can choose to either start from the first level or continue from the last stage attempted.

Note: Installation can be a bit of a hassle but the effort is worth it. Rename the largest executable and cca file to the same name, then repeat for the smallest file. For example mogura2.exe, mogura2.cca, config.exe and config.cca.

Name: Mogura 2
Developer: Krobon Station
Size: 15.8 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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9. Titanion

In Titanion, the ship you pilot has a capture beam that can be used to coax enemy craft to your side. These deserters will form a line formation and act as options, increasing your firepower in the process.

There is a standard level progression implemented, with all captured enemies retained from one stage to the next.

Name: Titanion
Developer: Kenta Cho
Size: 5.29 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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10. Vacant Ark

Vacant Ark is a strange departure from standard horizontal shooters, featuring excellent sprite designs by Buster but employing a slightly awkward gameplay system. You can only store and use up to six bullets at any time, although this supply can be replenished by collecting blue gems from vanquished enemies.

You lose all your energy stock if an enemy bullet grazes your on-screen character. A life is lost if you have no energy left when receiving damage. Your pod can also turn enemy bullets into gems when not in use for a few seconds.

Each end level boss requires a different strategy to beat. Some weapons are more effective in certain situations. You can only progress to the next zone if none of the bosses escape.

Name: Vacant Ark
Developer: Buster
Size: 9.83 MB
Direct download link: Click here

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Labels:

4 Comments:
Anonymous Anonymous said at 4/13/2007 11:37:00 PM:  
I'm pretty sure Blue Wish resurrection has unlockable ships as well.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 7/08/2007 09:53:00 AM:  
Wow... there are no comments here, and yeah, I'm pretty sure BWR has an unlockable ship.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 7/23/2007 08:00:00 AM:  
unlockable boss as well...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIxjezQ4ofI
Anonymous Anonymous said at 10/04/2007 03:35:00 PM:  
The fact that Cho Ren Sha isn't on this list is saddening... (hard, fast fun, and plays heavily like a classic arcade shmup)