User review spotlight: Carmageddon (DOS). Released in 1997.

Genetos (Windows)

Genetos Windows Introduction screen

MISSING COVER

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Description

Genetos by Tatsuya Koyama is a 2D vertically-scrolling space shoot-em-up, but also a retrospective of the shmup genre as a whole. Based on the theme of evolution, the player's spaceship, the environment, the enemies, and the firing and movement abilities evolve seamlessly throughout the game, taking the player on a trip of the genre's history. Starting out as a simple Space Invaders clone, it moves on to a late-eighties world, into a nineties look and eventually the bright bullet hell environments the genre is especially known for in the noughties. The final generation is a futuristic one, mainly building on the elements of the fourth generation. During the last section players take on the final opponent, the planet Genetos, in five more phases, often with surreal elements and opponents such as traffic and road signs.

The generation shifts are triggered by collecting green items left behind by enemies. These fill up a bar at the bottom of the screen, leading up to a shift for every 1,000 collected items. Not only the visual aspects change, the overall gameplay is altered as well. At the start the ship can only move horizontally. The next generation adds partial vertical movement, until complete freedom is reached.

The simple laser beam at the beginning is not upgraded according to a linear scheme. By analyzing the player's attacking style, a specific weapon upgrade is offered to complement it (straight bullets, circle bullets or laser streams). This is called the divergence of evolution and the followed weapons path can be tracked through a history screen. Other abilities include bombs for additional damage (third generation), wingmen, different kinds of power-ups, lock-on and slower movement (fourth generation), and eventually complete defence through a temporary shield. The bomb system is unusual, as the explosives generally act one second after activating them and in certain generations it can be charged with additional effects. Enemies in the affected area turn into bonus items.

At the beginning of the game the screen is fairly empty, but later on the amount of enemies as well as the detail in the environment increase, moving on to a view with pseudo 3D elements. Each large section also presents a powerful end boss (always dubbed The Mutant), fitting the corresponding generation.

There are different difficulty modes and after completing the game additional options are opened up, including a Free Play mode, Sound Test and the credits. It is possible to record the game session as a replay and attempt to beat the best scores. Additional video modes include a negative and a blur mode.

Screenshots

Genetos Windows That is one happy boss.
Genetos Windows Bright colours and confusing backgrounds
Genetos Windows The beginning of bullet hell
Genetos Windows A large boss appears in the background, watching you wipe out smaller enemies.

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The Press Says

The A.V. Club Feb 08, 2010 A- 91

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  • Genetos (Download the game, free of charge.)
Sciere (269241) added Genetos (Windows) on Jan 10, 2010