How do you like your shoot ’em ups: vertically scrolling and difficult to get hold of? If so, you might dig XIIZeal [official site], which has come to PC years after various versions bounced around arcades and consoles in Japan. Please pardon my ignorance of shmup history, but I believe it’s an updated version of 2002’s XIIStag by Triangle Service. As I understand it, your best chance to play Zeal was to import an Xbox 360 shmup compilation for £30. Well, now it’s on Steam for £8.99.
Zeal looks more towards the arcadey side of shmups than bullet hell. It has lots of ships and tanks and multi-part bosses you can shoot. And shooting them gives you points. And those points? Get this: they’re registered on scoreboards.
I feel like one of those awkward E3 presenters who’s clearly a washing machine salesman but impressed a company VP while flogging them an Hotpoint Ultima S-Line in eggshell blue, and anxiety over their ignorance is grinding away their initial excitement at being on stage. Quick, get a famous sportsperson on stage. Is Ian Botham still alive? Get Beefy in here to smile and nod and tell everyone how fun it is to hit things with bats. Bring on the musical guests! Get me Miley Cyrus and Joan Jett. Release the balloons. Send in the clowns. Summon the warlocks. Unleash the cyberbees. Fire up the holographic Derek Acorah. Do anything just get me out of here ROLL VT