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A Space Shooter For 2 Bucks

It’s understandable that skepticism would be the initial reaction one would cultivate from reading the game’s title. But I can assure you, that after giving it your full attention, your final reaction would fall somewhere between being surprised and content. In today’s sprawl of gaming’s quality versus quantity, Frima attempts to boldly go where no developer has gone before, and thankfully it’s nowhere within the deepest recesses of our wallets.

A Space Shooter For 2 Bucks tells the tale of Commander P. Jefferson, the xenophobic, high in testosterone space pilot of the USS Eradicator, the instrument of his megalomaniacal goal to cleanse the universe of alien life. This task was given to him by god and is the sole reason for his existence as it is his right to send all aliens to, in his own words, “space hell”…or rather this is what our misguided prime mover likes to believe. Accompanied by the ship’s sentient navigation system, Edgar IV, complete with English accent, Jefferson soars through the stars “bringing justice” one galaxy at a time.

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If you’re still hesitant to believe that a two dollar game is capable of keeping you on the edge of your seat then perhaps now is the time to tell you that A Space Shooter For 2 Bucks is a manic shooter, a game that incorporates bullet hell. This means that if you thought you could have the USS Eradicator fire and lounge around the bottom of the screen while occasionally moving about to pick up health, temp upgrades, space bucks, and the occasional time slowing icon, you’re seriously mistaken. The enemy holds no remorse in bringing a hailstorm of projectiles and lasers spread and scattered enough to make your screen look like an extra chocolate chip cookie. If the minions of the alien nations aren’t enough to encourage you to make some serious moves the bosses will certainly make you feel atrophic.

If you’re a non-hardcore shoot ‘em up gamer then you can take solace in the game’s apathy towards your specific demographic. Contrary to the genre’s infamous design of forcing players through a one way trip of increasing difficulty, the game provides the player with the ability to choose the stages while also being shown the individual levels of difficulty for each destination. Even better is that players can return to previously beaten stages for the purpose of building up cash towards purchasing add-ons to better assist in tackling harder areas, all the while gradually mastering the art of dodging space bullets.

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The game obviously exhibits a number of inspirations stemmed from the winning peripherals of other shmups. However, it also incorporates one pleasantly unexpected influence. Once you defeat an “alien master” boss, the USS Eradicator will assimilate the signature weapon of that villain’s ship. As you advance, you can go through and select from your arsenal of stolen weapons and each come with an energy meter that depletes with use. Unfortunately, the alien masters are not particularly vulnerable to the special attacks of one another; the unique powers merely grant convenience in general gameplay.

The graphics are passable and definitely worth what you pay for, but the only major flaw of the game is its excessive attempts in trying to be funny. I have no idea why the intro has the player flip through a story book regarding the days of little P. Jefferson’s career as a school bully but as far as I can tell it was a prelude to the game’s over exertion in humor. You know those awful Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer parody movies? That’s what it’s like, a helter skelter of hit or miss quips relying on shock factor jokes and pop culture mockeries. I certainly didn’t find it amusing that every time I visited the weapons shop I had to skip the overabundant dialogue involving Jefferson’s needs to hit on the shop keeper before being able to browse the products in stock…and then having to do it again when I’m ready to LEAVE. I just want firepower, not further insight into Jefferson’s poorly written libido. Same can be said about Jefferson’s needs to engage in a conversation with every boss. Listening to his and Edgar IV’s random exclamations in battle is fine, but we can do without his tendencies in trying to build up the moment of committing space murder through speech. Had the dialogues been cut or better written and the number of inadequate voice actors been reduced the game would be truly exceptional.

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A Space Shooter For 2 Bucks goes to show that you can still have your fun without having to challenge your bank account. Whether you’re on the go with your PSP or if you need something to greatly occupy yourself between paychecks, we can be thankful for the fact that the option of killing space cretins is available as an alternative to spending the evening hitting up the drive-thru window.

8 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in August 2010. Get in touch on Twitter @S_Chyou.

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