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Azul Baronis


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Rating: 4.4/5 (62 votes)
| Comments (26) | Views (40)

DoraAzul BaronisOh my God, it's full of stars!

…and lasers! And explosions! And bright green ships!

Hmmm. The Black isn't looking as Black as it's used to, in Azul Baronis, a retro space shoot-em-up from Andrew Martin and James Pags. In fact, it's downright colourful! Why, space would be pretty cheerful, if it weren't for the hundreds of people who want to send you out in a blaze of glory. It may be an older game, but I ask you; does blowing up gigantic death ships with your tiny space fighter ever go out of style?

While the tutorial informs you that you are some sort of unsavory warlord who thinks a regime of terror and slavery is awfully keen, it never crops up again throughout the game. So if you'd rather close your eyes and pretend you're liberating defenseless bunnies from space fur-traders, you can do that too. Personally, the promise of becoming the most violently neon fleet in the galaxy was all the motivation I needed. Nobody shall be more extravagantly hued than I!

The game goes out of its way to make the experience comfortable for you. The tutorial does everything but stroke your hand reassuringly and offer you toffees before it sends you out to get vaporised — and you will be. Use the [WASD] keys to fly around the screen, pressing [Space] for a quick boost of speed when the yellow bar at the bottom right of the screen is full. Keep track of the battle on your radar, where you can see your allies and enemies represented by coloured dots. And what do you do when lasers start firing your way? Why, you click the mouse and send some hot lasery death right back! If you need to take a breather, pressing [P] will pause the game for you, where you can access the other options as well, such as turning off the game's oh-so-arcade soundtrack.

You can expect to do a fair amount of exploding of your own. Each small ship can take eight shots before it gets destroyed, which sounds like a lot before you're swarmed by two dozen enemies who don't like the cut of your jib. As long as you still have ships flying on your side, you'll be able to click through the surviving CPU-controlled allies and press the [Space] bar to instantly control one of them, dropping you right back into the action. Which is nice, since this also nets you the chance to control some of the bigger, badder ships, too.

Azul BaronisAnalysis: Gameplay consists of flying after folks really fast to shoot at them, and flying really fast away from folks who want to shoot you. This lack of fancy trickery may be a let down for some, but for me it meant that I could really just enjoy the game without worrying about pulling off the Super-Ultra-Hadoken combo. All I had to worry about was flying in curliques like a crazed bumblebee so nobody could get behind me long enough to blow up my tender engines before I blew up theirs.

You can wind up doing a lot of fumbling when you first start out, so the radar will come in handy figuring out where the fun is happening. Because the map repeats on itself — ie, go left far enough and you'll pop out on the right side — you can never really get lost, but it's still very easy to get seperated from the action. At its best it's an annoyance, as you have to zip back towards the battle where all your companions are busy dying fiery, painful deaths. At its worst, it can be an instant death sentence as the fifteen enemies who followed you suddenly have you as their only visible target.

Every battle is randomised, down to the number of troops you and your enemies have, and here the game engine shows its sadistic side. You're rarely ever given more than a dozen ships in the beginning, and your enemies' numbers dramatically increase with every battle. If you're facing two different factions, they'll happily shoot at each other as much as yourself, but that's still double the number of opponents you're facing. Add to that a lack of a save feature, and it's easy to get blasted into space dust in later levels because you just didn't have the luck of the draw when it came to determining your firepower that round.

But despite its balance issues, there's something incredibly addicting about Azul Baronis. The gameplay is fast, furious, and challenging, and there's something intensely satisfying about managing to pull off a victory despite overwhelming odds. It's old-school Star Fox complete with radio chatter, without the annoying formation minigames, or that stupid Frog.

Play Azul Baronis

26 Comments

I don't know.. so far this game only made me wish I was playing Star Control 2 instead.

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Star Fox? The first music I heard sounds more like King Dedede's theme from the Kirby games! The review and intro makes me want to throw up a comment before even playing it.

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Now, from playing it, I can make my decision.

The hectic remixes of music from Nintendo games adds to its already fast pace, but the fact that you can't see very far on the map makes a lot of the game just shooting and hoping the shots hit something. The game looks to have better aim, as it's programmed instead of relying on a slightly small line of sight.

I can't help but think of the player as some kind of overbearing space sergeant or corporal, telling one fighter what to do at a time. Still, it's fun to play for a bit at a time, before it goes from engaging to annoying. (that might happen the third time you lose because you got 0 destroyers that time)

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drakono Author Profile Page May 28, 2009 2:49 PM

Merlin: What are you doing? You're slowing down, you're slowing down!
Maverick: I'm bringing him in closer, Merlin.
Merlin: You're gonna do WHAT?
Maverick: I'll hit the brakes. He'll fly right by us.

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tenkuchima Author Profile Page May 28, 2009 3:11 PM

Isnt this game old. Like 5+ years old, I could have sworn I've played it before

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Another game from the studios of "when the hell will you understand we can't play a WASD game on a european keyboard"?

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LOTS and LOTS of text up front on this game... it would be nice if it were streamlined a little more to get you playing faster.

I'm surprised that this is the latest version of this game given that it's been out for two years. It's definitely cool, but I had a hard time feeling like I was going to get better with such a small area visible. As soon as I managed to get to a part of the map where there was a little red dot, the fighter had managed to fly off the screen. If only there was a sequel that made it bigger!

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Awful! Horrid! 99% of the time you get annihilated on the first level because the computer starts with one, sometimes more, destroyer and you never, ever, ever start with one. This game is proof that even trash can get a high rating.

[Edit: If it proves anything it's that everyone has their own opinion. ;) -Jay]

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Anonymous May 28, 2009 7:02 PM

That's right Jay you tell 'em!

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It would have been much funner if enemies weren't randomized in "campaign mode" (perhaps if there was another mode for the randomization instead), and also if the laser and missile colors weren't all the same.

I can't tell if it's a friendly homing missile or an enemy homing missile while in a huge dogfight.

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So if you'd rather close your eyes and pretend you're liberating defenseless bunnies from space fur-traders, you can do that too. Personally, the promise of becoming the most violently neon fleet in the galaxy was all the motivation I needed. Nobody shall be more extravagantly hued than I!

Please keep reviewing games. I don't even care what the game is - I just want to read more stuff like this :)

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I would comment on the game, but am still pretty confused by that comment up there which says that you cannot play a WASD game on a european keyboard.

@Toto, are you in Europe, Earth or somewhere else?

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re: European keyboards

Not everyone uses a QWERTY keyboard. The French, for example, use an AZERTY keyboard. WASD on an AZERTY keyboard correspond to ZQSD on QWERTY. Dvorak users would have to use the equivalent of

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Argh. Apparently using the "less than sign" ends the post (HTML tags, I know). Anyway, what I was going to say was the Dvorak users would have to use the equivalent of "less than sign," A, H, and : on QWERTY.

Try playing a game with these key setups and you'll see why some people get frustrated with WASD, and why all games should allow players to assign keys.

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I think it would be more immersive if your ship did not rotate on the screen when you turned, but if instead the galaxy (and radar) rotated around your ship.

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That's right : we french are using AZERTY keyboards, because you see, we are rebels. Germans too, and probably many other countries.

Try to imagine how it feels to play this game if, on a QWERTY keyboard, Z is up and Q is left...

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Anonymous May 30, 2009 2:52 PM

Only the french-speaking use ASERTY, germans do not. Why would they? There's hardly any Q's in their language.

More to the points, it's a good game, although a bigger playing screen would help a ton. It'd be nice to be able to see a bit further out and not lose sight of the enemy fighters every time they switch direction.

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Gobsmacked May 30, 2009 7:26 PM

Who thought a space shooter where you can see like 1/2 a ship-length, everybody's faster and a better shot than you no matter what you do, and you can't ever outrun anybody because you can't survive long enough for your afterburner to charge?

This thing fails on so many levels it's obviously unplayable almost within seconds of trying. What the heck are you supposed to actually do, other than watch yourself fly around in useless circles missing, or die (or first one, then the other...)?

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TaintedDeity May 31, 2009 8:07 AM

I don;t know what you guys are talking about, I love this game. I remember playing it a while ago and being consistently good.
To be honest, I don;t remember any randomisation, so it couldn't have impacted me much. I love it.

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For those who cant get the hang of this game, try this tip: when you start to chase a ship in circles, slow down so that you get behind the enemy, and then turn with the other ship, shooting as you go. Then you can make a lot of kills.

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Man, this game is addicting. I really don't find the small window to be a problem once you get the hang of tailing other ships. In fact, I think the small window heightens the experience.

In all, I think this game is dangerously fun and unique. The only thing that I'd like to see added is a method of directing the other AI ships so that they don't fly headlong into huge enemy formations.

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This game rocks, i don't know what people are talking about it being a lost cause trying to aim and chase and escape.
Just twist and turn and slow down and 10 enemies will soar by like retards with you getting shot maybe twice, giving you the possibility to mow down dozens of them.
For the moment i've gotten a 12 kill combo, up to psychopath and past blue baron, with the small fighter (favorite)

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PandaKnight Author Profile Page June 21, 2009 10:48 AM

This game becomes unfun the second you play a level where the enemy has 3 times the number of fighters you have, 2 more destroyers, and a Testudon when you lack one.

This usually happens around level 3.

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Neon Obliterator August 17, 2010 4:16 PM

Once you get the hang of it, this game is great. The first level is downright easy, and levels 2-5 are just the right difficulty for me, except for the one where you fight three enemy forces at once. My strategy is to look for enemies on the radar and target those. If you have a tail, just fly in a circle until he's in your sights, then unload on him. And if you're outnumbered 3-7 to 1, just fly consistently in a circle blasting all enemies. Almost nothing can hit you that way, and I won against something like 7 enemies when I was the only one left. It got me down to 1 health but it WORKED.

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This seems to be mainly dependent on your own cpu's actions as to whether the battle is an absolute victory, even battle or massacre, at least vs 3s.. which i seemed 2 get a lot of for some reason..

Seems I tend to lose whenever my ratio (my kills to total kills) falls below 1:5..

Main strategy for vs 3 - follow testu around, surprisingly tends to work 80% of the time :D

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