“Have you played Truxton?” a friend of mine asked, knowing for my partiality for the Shoot em up genre (Shmup). I hadn’t even heard of it I had replied and down the rabbit hole I went, from not knowing anything about the game, to obsessively playing it, sneaking in a little Truxton here and there, before breakfast, after work…it’s been a rewarding challenge and has propelled me back in the world of spaceships, lasers and hard to kill enemies.
Let me explain why
Truxton is a Sega Genesis (Mega Drive for those in the UK) version of an arcade classic. The Truxton arcade machine was an absolute powerhouse, with a fully upgraded player ship boasting five beams of lightening shooting from it, absolutely annihilating the enemies who came hurtling down the screen as the catchy music blared from the speakers. The home console port faithfully recreates this experience, and for my money, it’s even better.
The game design is, admittedly, minimalistic, the game scrolls along, never pausing or slowing down until you greet it’s final boss. The player blasts, fairly slow moving enemies and at some points fighting a unique enemy with a different attack pattern and the ability to soak up some extra damage. As usual for the top-down shooter genre, boss battles appear at the end of levels. So far, so ordinary – what makes this such an addictive pull then?
The Weapons system and it’s upgrades, your ship can fire one of three main weapons, a powershot (which turns your ship red), a Sun Laser (which turns your ship green) and a Tatsujin beam (which turns your ship blue). Weapon change icons are plentiful and you can collect powerup icons which increase the strength of your main weapon in devastating ways.
The Power shot is fairly standard and can be upgraded to firing shots which burst out at multiple directions – this is the default weapon you respawn or start the game with and is effective at wiping out most of the smaller enemies.
The Sun Laser fires forward only, but when fully powered emits a three way lurid green coloured shot which is more than enough to deal with the toughest enemies.
My favourite is the Tatsujin beam, which fires out a series of lightening arc when fully upgraded and allows the player to hold down the fire button, unleashing a devastating, beautiful blue storm which locks onto all enemies that you encounter.
The level design is also slightly different from most games in this genre, there are no Stage clear messages, or congratulatory pop ups, this is played as one long continuous unbroken Level. The only notification that you will receive that you have cleared one of the stages is a change in the music.
Part of why I am so entranced by this game is that it’s incredibly difficult, this is complete bullet hell and I find it almost impossible to reach the third stage – but that’s part of it’s charm, it’s the the old school, pushing slightly forward, gaining a little more ground that the previous attempt and finding satisfaction while doing so.
The music is incredibly powerful and varied, ranging from mellow to dark power metal, it’s a catchy soundtrack that you find yourself humming over and over again.
I really recommend this title, it’s obscure but once you settle into it, you will wonder why it doesn’t get discussed more.