Freeware Garden: Level 2 – Virus Master

Better than X-OUT!

Listening to a thundering heavy metal soundtrack while blasting enemies straight from the 16-bit demoscene is, almost surprisingly, exactly as awesome as it sounds. Level 2 – Virus Master, on the other hand, is not as awesome as it sounds. It’s way better.

It’s a perfectly choreographed, on-rails, twin-stick 2D shmup through a master pixel-artist’s fever dream, where everything is happening in sync to the music of progressive metal band Last Chance to Reason and their Level 2 album*, and singing monstrosities and odd bosses seek your destruction in a wild mix of art and action. Yes, this is as Dionysian a celebration of metal and its iconography as the venerable medium of the shoot-’em-up can offer.

Surely, the Amiga could never pull these effects off.

Nothing ever gets in the way of your enjoyment either, as death only results in losing a few percentile points and nothing stops you from trying again. Level 2 – Virus Master, in its painstakingly created stunningness, could only ever last for a few minutes you see, and restarting it feels as natural a thing as giving Super Hexagon another try. Anything longer would have probably required a Kickstarter methinks.

Still, a modicum of longevity is provided by its scoring system. You’ll get a percentage representing your performance in each of its four stages and should you do well enough a fifth one will become available, though after a couple dozen or so playthroughs I’ve only comes close to unlocking this fabled stage once. So, yeah, longevity indeed. Should you see it, please let me know what the real finale of the thing actually looks like.

[* Level 2 – Virus Master is a promo game for the band and its titular album by Lazy Brain Games.]


  1. Dominic White says:

    Virus Master is actually the second game based on this particular album. The other one is entitled ‘Upload Complete’.

    link to

    The original release was meant to be a demo, eventually growing into a full-length interactive version of the album, but things fell through and Virus Master was produced by a slightly different team, hence the change in art-style.

  2. GallonOfAlan says:

    I love a classic SHUMP.

  3. Geebs says:

    Nice Lost Worlds-y style, shame about all of the prog. Warning: cookie monster vocals in abundance.

    • magogjack says:

      More like, extra bonus : COOKIE MONSTER VOCALS !!! YAY !!!

      • Geebs says:

        Well, the last album I bought was Allegaeon’s latest…. But I wouldn’t put it on when the SO was about :-P

  4. dethtoll says:


    Nice Sega Genesis Treasure graphics.

    (alternately Konami, but Treasure is probably closer)