Guilty Party – Retro Redress

Crime – Being utterly useless at shoot-em-ups (Part #1)

Redress – Play Resogun and try to get past Level Four.

I love shoot-em-ups. I’m not sure why, but just being able to fly through space shooting aliens and monsters is pretty awesome. I love the game names and art too, such unique designs.

Here is the kicker though…I’m terrible at shoot-em-ups. As much as I try, I just can’t get more than a few screens into them. For example, I love R-Type. I play it at every opportunity I can get. However, in twenty eight years of trying, I’ve never got off the first level. Never. Same with all shooters….love playing them, but can’t see most of the game because I’m terrible at it.

One of my goals with Retro Redress was to play more shoot-em-ups and get better at them…and I can’t think of a better place to start than Resogun…

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When I first got my PS4, I was kinda rusty with consoles. I had sold my Xbox 360 in January 2012 (I was burnt out on games and had a kid on the way) and didn’t get back into gaming until I grabbed a second hand PS3 in August 2013. I had six months with the PS3 and instinctively knew I had made the right decision to come back to consoles, but I knew the PS3 was a passing phase. Once I saw the PS4 and sampled it’s fluffy, soft pad (my favourite pad in gaming) I knew I had to get a PS4. January 2014 saw me jump on the PS4 train and I’ve never looked back. My passion for gaming was re-kindled from that point onwards.

Sorry, I’m rambling…Resogun was the Jan 14 PSN game, a concept I did not understand at all. A free game? A game I can keep forever? I had missed the beginning of PSN games and Games With Gold so was kinda confused. I downloaded Resogun and loved it. Bright colours, simple but addictive gameplay and lots of action. It’s been on my PS4 hard drive since day 1 and will probably be there when the PS4 bites the dust…in three weeks or so when my cats finish eating the wires at the back.

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But….I’m terrible at Resogun. It hurts me to say it, but I’m poor at it. I’ve played it on and off over the past three and a half years and never got past Level Four in the Arcade Mode. Well…it’s time to try and beat that. Firstly though…I’ll be honest. The difficulty is going on Rookie as I am awful at the game. It’d still be a challenge for me, so I don’t feel like I’m cheating the system. Plus, gotta start at the bottom right? That’s where I am anyway…

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I need a ship I can rely on and there is only one ship that fits that role in my mind…Opa Opa! One of the great features of Resogun is that you can create and download ships to use in the main modes of Resogun. There is practically every ship you can think of online. However, big Master System fan I am, Opa Opa is the only choice for me. I will definitely get to Fantasy Zone one day, but first Opa Opa is going to help me complete my  Resogun redress.

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I’m going to have a practice run before I seriously settle down and challenge Resogun. I haven’t played Resogun for a while so I figure that I need a go, just to ease myself in. There are eight levels in Resogun I believe, so to get to Level Five, I’m going to need to get past the halfway point of the game. I’m not too confident to be honest – I think getting to sLevel Four was my absolute best effort, so I’m really going to have to go all out.

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So, off we go. Opa Opa looks great flying around in Resogun and I’m enjoying firing at things. Again, to be honest…I have absolutely no idea what is going on. The pad tells me I need to rescue the humans, there are colours everywhere, a score multiplayer dancing upwards…I love it but I have no clue whats happening. I simply just shoot everything and try and catch the humans I see. They are being held in a cube and are released after I trigger it (shooting enemies? getting a certain score? I have no clue)  for me to rescue and give back to the green beam, Does the green beam take the humans back to Earth? I don’t want to know to be honest. In an age where the stories of video games are protracted, sub Hollywood affairs, Resogun is a great throwback to the retro shooters of old. Shoot bad aliens, move to next level, repeat.

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Eventually, me and Opa Opa get to the boss of Level One, a giant wheel thing, that in time honoured shooter fashion, we have to navigate around to shoot the flashing weak points. I’m sure Opa Opa is familair with this type of boss. I get past the boss pretty handily, but the next level destroys me, It’s a series of silly mistakes and I’m completely to blame. I lost my focus but this was just a practice go right? I’m warmed up now…

*Cue a montage of Retro Redress being distracted by cats, pro wrestling and old episodes of Red Dwarf*

…and we’re back. It might be a few days later, but I don’t need a warm up, do I? Time to get serious and get past Level Five…

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My first go ends in a awful death on the first level. I’m lethargic for some reason and die quite handily. As is often the case with hard games, I find myself enjoying the game greatly, I’m just useless at it. Resogun is quality though – the best description I can give it is that it’s the offspring of the aforementioned Fantasy Zone and Ikaruga, with a lot of inspiration from Wipeout. I’m almost as bad as describing shoot-em-ups as I am playing them though, so take that with a pinch of salt!

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A quick bit of Wikipedia research inspires me again – there are only five levels! If I do my best, I could beat Resogun! My research also notes that reviewers thought there should have been some tutorial levels, which I agree with. It doesn’t stop me from tearing through the first level without losing a life. In fact, I actually gain a life which must mean this is my best ever performance on a shoot-em-up ever. Usually I just lose thousands of lives so it’s good to actually gain one! My new strategy of shooting everything and ignoring humans unless they are right next to me seems to be working. However, I try and be too clever on Level Two and die three times trying to dart around enemies and their fire…so Level Three and one life left…

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…which lasts about three seconds as I die trying to save a human, Damn it! Then Resogun lets me continue….which surprises me. I didn’t realise it had continues?!? Only 5 levels and continues? Why haven’t I beat Resogun before?!? I’m determined to do it now and restart smash through Level Three, only losing one life to a bullet I had no chance of seeing. Me and Opa Opa are on a roll and heading to Level Four.

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The problem with Level Four is I keep dying at a crucial points. I seemto lose my lives at the end of the stage, meaning I have to use a continue to start the level again. It’s morale sapping, especially at 11:27pm on a school night, Another loss of lives leaves me having to consider quitting…it’s 11:30pm and I’m off to Vegas in a few days, I’m running out of time. I decide to lead Opa Opa into battle one last time…it we fail, then the redress is over…

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Opa Opa heads out to battle one last time…but I am simply far too tired to keep up with an ever more frantic Resogun. There are colours flying around the screen, bullets moving far too quickly for me…I die quickly and call it a day there. If you’ve played Heavy Rain and (SPOILERS) seen the ending where Norman Jayden finds he is seeing things because he uses the ARI glasses too much, then you will know how I feel right now. I do not need that at work tomorrow….

Verdict – It was a shame to fail this redress, but needs must – I can’t risk exhaustion and retina damage. I enjoyed playing Resogun again and will have to go back to it again someday, to see if I can beat that elusive fifth level. Resogun has also whetted my appetite for playing shoot-em-ups again, so expect to see more shoot-em-ups on Retro Redress in the future!