extrapower art.pngA special treat for 80s anime and horizontal shmup fans, EXTRAPOWER Star Resistance is a refreshing Windows freeware title that is heavy on challenge and style. The bullets start flying even in the first stage, and even the first boss takes on multiple forms.

Fortunately, each of the four playable characters has unique abilities, seen in their main, sub and "final crush" attacks. For instance, Walhalla's main attack is a close-ranged sword swipe and her sub attack is charged sword thrown across the screen. Numeri's design and play is a personal favorite. Her main attack involves hundreds of bullets that have homing capabilities, and her sub is a fierce swipe from this creepy huge claw that helms her bed-like chariot.

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The final crush attack is a very risky, close proximity attack that is also key to high scoring. Players get 2x the normal amount for destroying enemies with it, and it produces items that translate to points at the end of the stage. Each character also has a secret attack, with conditions somewhat shrouded in mystery (the developer didn't want to spoil the secret, despite my emailing). It seems I can only do the attack with one life left and mashing buttons simultaneously.

The stages are action-packed and have wonderful animated touches of super hero folklore, such as seeing the helper characters bring power ups and other characters battle in the background. My semi-visible character was in the middle of respawning when I snapped this photo:

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The only downside is that the story is in Japanese, but from the past decade or so of excellent STGs/shmups, that barrier has been a constant. Do yourself a favor and download EXTRAPOWER Star Resistance and this RPG School VX Real Time Package dependency to enjoy the game now. Those who can read Japanese can play EXTRAPOWER Attack of Darkforce, the team's previous game that seems to delve deeper into all of these characters' stories.

Finally, those hesitant or without Windows can check out this playthrough on uStream.