Gridrunner++ Llamasoft Ltd. 2002

Gridrunner++ was originally designed for the Pocket PC but a Windows port followed quickly. It only runs in a window, and going windowed full-screen stretches everything wide, but other than those legacy issues from Gridrunner++’s original platform it's an absolutely perfect, pure arcade shooter. The Gridrunner series has always been Jeff Minter’s version of Centipede. Enemies pour onto the screen in a line and, as you shoot them down, they clutter up the playing field with bombs. This one is a bit more agile than its predecessors, though, so instead of the bombs just dropping straight down when they go off, they explode in a plus shape, which isn’t all that big a deal until you have 10 go off in a line. Because of that gameplay turns into a balance of shooting and dodging enemies and running cleanup on their remains. It gets a lot easier once you’ve collected a few powerups called sheepies, though. It not only increases the score multiplier but also gives you a ghost ship that fires vertically both up and down. Its shots aren't as strong as the main ship's, but seeing as the ghost doesn't take damage and you can stack up to 9 of them at a time, they quickly become indispensable. There are a few good reasons to hold off getting the sheepie powerup when it first appears, though. Even on the earlier levels, zipping up the screen is a great way to get an enemy in the face, exploding a pixel or two away from your goal. If you do manage to get it just before inevitable doom the ship de-rezes for a second, granting a tiny little window of invulnerability, which is just what you need for a quick flick of the mouse to send you to safety. The final advantage of waiting is the sheepie save, which is needed when all hope is lost and your ship is nothing but shards of pixel-shatter falling to the bottom of the screen. If you can steer the wreckage onto a sheepie, you won’t get the bonus multiplier but it will save your life. High level play means conducting a careful symphony of focused firepower and sheepie management, zipping into danger to grab salvation while strings of enemies swarm the screen and bombs cut the play field into tiny zones of limited safety. In 2003 the Arse on Fire Edition was released for a Llamasoft party. This edition features a larger playing field than the regular game, and the special Endurance Mode for veterans who think they can finish the game with one life and a larger concentration of enemies. In 2013, the original game was made freeware by the developers.
Videos
Arse On Fire Special Edition - Free Game (provided by starlord & upped by Scaryfun) 4.7MB
Infos
Gridrunner++ - Free Game / Gridrunner++ - Arse On Fire Special Edition 2.2MB/3.6MB (uploaded by roioros)


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