Just what you sow? Quite.
I play all types of games, for all different purposes. For an adrenaline rush, I might play an arcade racer. For relaxation, I might play something like Sim Golf. For sheer entertainment, I might play Resident Evil 4, or perhaps go retro with MAME or an old console. But there are times when just shooting the shit out of everything in sight is all I want. In those times, I turn my PC on and blast away with The Reap.
Now, there’s a fair chance you haven’t heard of The Reap. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a massive commercial hit, and I don’t recall the reviews at the time being exceptional. I’m not even entirely sure what prompted me to buy it. But buy it I have, not once but twice, and it always leaves me grinning after a session. That’s a fair mark of quality, right there.
Well, maybe Zaxxon isn’t that bad…
If you don’t know what The Reap is about, imagine Zaxxon. Now imagine Zaxxon if it were good. There you have it. It’s got the same viewpoint as Zaxxon, with the added benefit of having extra weapons and gameplay modes to liven it up. But what really makes it stand out are the explosions.
It’s not just that things blow up. Every craft that attacks you is piloted by somebody, and when you blow up their craft, all the little men come spilling out, spinning and screaming in a most satisfying manner. Shoot down a plane, and the pilot tumbles to the ground. Blow up a bus, and all of the occupants spiral out of it. Shoot a ship out of the water, and every single mariner goes flying into the drink, even if there were 100 of them in there. That’s just splendid.
…and after. Ah, lovely.
Gunning down squadrons of foot soldiers is equally enjoyable. Same goes for cows and sheep. Alright, so I’m a bit twisted. Some of the ground troops are specifically marked out, like scientists or government agents, and you get bonuses for these at the end of the level. And they don’t disappear like in most other games; they lie in a bloodied heap to remind you what a badass you really are. Not very nice, but in a spacey shoot ‘em up, most gratifying.
Ker-POW! That’ll take some cleaning up.
This game’s got all the things that push my buttons. Big bangs, a variety of nice weapons, hidden bonuses to find, choice of arcade or “Bounty Hunter” mission mode, and enough button presses-per-minute to leave my finger nicely blistered at the end of a session. It’s about eight years old now, and I’ve loved it for every day of those eight years. The Reap goes for about two quid on ebay these days. If you end up loving it even half as much as I do, how can you go wrong for that?