Frantic 2


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Rating: 4.4/5 (117 votes)
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DoraFrantic 2In every laundromat in every small town, sandwiched in between the detergent vending machine and the gumball machine that hasn't been refilled since your mother was born, there are three arcade games. These games are Contra, PacMan, and some sort of scrolling shooter game. While the former might be there to occupy children while parents fight over the only cart with working wheels, the latter is there to serve a sinister purpose. It is there to take the quarters of every innocent tot who wanders by, forever and ever without end. It is impossible, it is addictive, and the gleaming rows of High Score initials beckon like sirens on the ancient Tyrrhenian sea, entreating you to join them with just one... more... quarter. Polymer Rabbit brings you a new game in this fine tradition to haunt your productivity until the end of time with Frantic 2.

What? What are you... are you seriously clicking to fire? We don't have time for that! While you can set the options to allow you to manually fire every shot, the default setting is for your ship to emit a continuous stream of hot death. The basic configuration of the game has you moving with the [WASD] keys, and tapping the [space] bar to unleash a special ability when your meter is full. Your special ability is... well, come on, this is a game that features more explosions and enemy fire than a Michael Bay movie. It isn't going to rain chocolate chip cookies.

What, you want strategies now? Here's your strategy. Don't get blown up. While the enemies at first appear slowly and stay on predetermined tracks, it won't be long until breathing space becomes a fond memory. Each enemy destroyed drops coins or power-up tokens, which you'll need to collect. You'll find yourself doing a lot of fancy flying to slip under every bomb and dividing laser to get those coins, too, since you can spend them on various upgrades between levels.

Frantic 2Analysis: If you don't enjoy getting shot at, blown up, or an unreasonable amount of explosions, bullets, lasers, and particles effects, Frantic 2 is probably not going to be your new Best Friend Forever. On "easy" difficulty, the game is a bit of a bully even to veteran fans of the scrolling shooter. Then again, there's a reason the game isn't called "Let Me Stroke Your Feverish Brow And Inflate Your Tender Ego". Frantic 2 is meant to be a game for everyone who has ever complained that an arcade game was "not hard enough", usually when their boy or girlfriend was in earshot.

So it's unfortunate that the last two difficulty levels aren't as knock-down, drag-out difficult as you might hope for. While at any given moment the screen is likely to be full of enough hot laser death to cook a sumo-sized banquet, your enemies never change. Oh, there are more of them, but they never get any stronger or smarter. Most of them still go up like a Roman candle at a single hit, and they never track you down; they just sit on the screen firing until they're destroyed, or follow their set path off like a row of particularly deadly-but-dense ducklings.

But for those of us who can't get enough of explosions and think cel shading is for fancy pants, Frantic 2 is a dream come true. It is simple, it knows what it should be doing, and it does it extremely well. The screen is rarely any less than full to bursting with coins, power-ups, lasers, and explosions, and son, that's how we likes it. It's all the bells and whistles of an old fashioned arcade game without the tokens or the old man behind the prize desk asking why you're not in school. The game offers you several different ships to choose from, and while it all comes down to personal preference, I found that light-and-speedy wins over slow-and-thick any time.

If you like death, spaceships, and graphics lifted straight out of yesteryear, you're going to enjoy Frantic 2. There's no awkward backstory about an evil empire and a wronged youth out for vengeance with his plucky sidekick. Just coins, bombs, and really big bosses. This will probably be the next big summer blockbuster one day, just as soon as they can get Bruce Willis to voice the spaceship and Clint Eastwood to play the ending credits. And it will be awesome.

Play Frantic 2

28 Comments

FranticAgain August 27, 2009 11:23 AM

Sometimes when I play the game, I think to my self, "OMG! This game RULEZ!" But now, when you play it too much, it gets boring, then duller, then sensless, then you'll be wondering why are you playing this, then you remember-this game was supposed to be awesome, exhilrating, and not-boring-stupid-dull. It really makes me mad that the adrenaline bar has only a few passive skills to use and when Frantic 3 comes out, I hope it becomes the best game ever.

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LevelLightly Author Profile Page August 27, 2009 1:09 PM

Can anyone explain the scraping/combo/power-up system?

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Anonymous August 27, 2009 1:49 PM

Like its predecessor, far too easy, which spoils an otherwise fun game. It should take a leaf from Touhou's book and turn its Insane difficulty into its Normal one, then go from there.

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waycooler Author Profile Page August 27, 2009 2:08 PM

So I haven't played it yet but just looking at the first screenshot made me :O

Second impressions to come shortly.

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awesomelyawesomeAJ Author Profile Page August 27, 2009 2:56 PM

I have been waiting for Frantic 2 ever since I found Frantic 1, mostly because it is the one shooter I don't suck at and that I will play for more than 10 minutes. The first one was total awesomeness, but it needed a lot of work. For one thing, it looked super hard but when you actually played it it was ultra easy. But no. 2 was a disappointment! They didn't make many major changes and it is definitely still way too easy. But then again, I got no. 35 on the high scores list! Let's see if it lasts more than 5 minutes...

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Alex Kantal Author Profile Page August 27, 2009 3:25 PM

I got 39th on the Episode 1: Easy scoreboard! 13,546,983...Could have been better though. This game really lives up to it's name, even on easy.

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This is decently fun, but I don't have a clue how the powerup system works. Is it explained anywhere?

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Agreeing with JIGuest that compared to Touhou this is child's play

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There's no law that says you have to compare this to Touhou. It's a manic shooter that casual gamers can play. I agree that it would be a stronger game if the higher difficulty levels were significantly more difficult, but it's just not aimed at hardcore vertical shooter fans.

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Shardnadal Author Profile Page August 27, 2009 5:37 PM

This shouldnt be compared with Touhou; Touhou is made for ultra experienced "i-have-no-live-whatsoever" people who want to train. This is a game for people who dont want to train but to have fun for 10-20 minutes.

Just my 2 cents...

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Yeah, there's pretty much no reason you would ever want to compare any shooter to Touhou. Doing so is just unfair to the game in question, as only a select few games are more difficult. This is a casual gameplay blog, any game where you have to practice multiple times just to beat the easiest setting is pretty much off the list.

Touhou is practically its own genre, why do people always try to compare other games to it? It's like comparing Mario to IWBTG.

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Cyberjar88 Author Profile Page August 27, 2009 6:29 PM

I played this on Newgrounds earlier. It is incredible!

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OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER before reading this post: I have Cave games on arcade PCBs, which probably makes me a game snob, at least when it comes to this stuff. Consider this fact when reading the below rant.

This is WAY too easy for this type of gsame. For one thing, health bars have no business being in a manic shmup. PERIOD. It's 3 hits and a game over, got it? I think my Grandma could beat Espgaluda or Ikaruga if you gave her 30 lives to work with. If we're feeling nice today, maybe we won't send you back to the beginning of the level every time. And none of these ridiculous uber-bombs that last so long you could grab a cup of coffee while they're going off. That's OK, the bullets are going to take half an hour to reach you anyway. Granted, manic shooters tend not to have particularly fast bullets, but these are traveling at about half the speed they need to be to be challenging to dodge. All in all, the whole thing feels like someone saw a grainy 15fps cameraphone video of someone playing Dodonpachi Daioujou in a Japanese arcade, and interpolated the rest.

That said, there were a few things that were good here. The Warning Forever style bosses were a nice touch, and some of the bullet patterns are well done (if, as I already said, way too slow.)

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tenkuchima Author Profile Page August 27, 2009 11:46 PM

why were you going on about this game being hard? beat the first episode on hard without dropping below 3/4 health

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zbeeblebrox Author Profile Page August 28, 2009 2:42 AM

It bugs me that the stuff you buy doesn't carry over to the next episode. Kinda takes away the fun of buyin stuff in the first place..

I think the first replier had the best insight: this is more of a bridging sequel between a flawed but good idea that was the first, and the hopefully brilliant third.

@ Brian: Yes. That makes you a snob. :p

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I only compared it to Touhou because it says:
'On "easy" difficulty, the game is a bit of a bully even to veteran fans of the scrolling shooter.'
I guess you can call me a veteran fan... and this is still the easiest vertical shooter I have ever played.

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Enjoying the game, but it would be nice if there were a help menu with some explanations, i.e. what is scraping (thought I'd figured it out, but either I can't tell a laser from a a bullet or my 'stats' menu disagrees)? how do multipliers work? why does the special attack seem to randomly fire even though I haven't triggered it?

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this game pleases me
but I dont like how you lose all your weapons after each episode

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Shardnadal Author Profile Page August 29, 2009 11:57 AM

I don't understand why such people like Brian with their "uber"skill don't play touhou and beat every record in there :P

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No, I don't have uber skills at this type of game (I can make it about halfway through the second level in Dodonpachi, and that's about it.) And I can beat this game on hard difficulty without even being challenged. There's a certain difficulty level that's required for this type of game to work, and it's just not here.

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I just checked it out and it's definitely an improvement upon the first. I felt the mouse controls were a bit off since you couldn't see where the mouse was and you didn't auto lock to the mouse position, however I'd rather play with keyboard anyway so it didn't really bug me. Overall a definite improvement upon the first.

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Yes it's fun, yes it isn't hard on the easier difficulties (though it probably did oversell itself a bit), but my problems with the game are the very similar music tracks, and the fact that the game doesn't auto-save. If you close it and start it up again, you're back at the very beginning, having to unlock everything again.

Also, for reference, "Scraping" is getting close to enemy shots, but not close enough to get hit. There's an option to show your ship's hitbox (which shows up as a big red dot that's actually smaller than your ship's size, which can make scraping confusing if your ship is bigger or wider than the dot) and a larger circle which counts anything that moves through it a scrape. It's supposed to reward you for getting close, but not too close, to enemy fire.

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Little incentive to upgrade when it will all be snatched away from you shortly afterwards.

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I love this game so much! After playing this, I decided to influence my skills on playing shmups. I already played the first one, but hey, this one is a lot better. There tons of other features you can do in this game, such as Frantic difficulty.

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Anyone know how to unlock the last ship? I beat the game on Frantic hoping to jump right back in and play it as a nearly-invulnerable behemoth, but when I clicked back through it was still ghosted.

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blackmercury January 10, 2010 7:14 PM

@wastedtime, look in the feats section it tells you how to unlock everything, and just for reference, you have to beat a level with a 100 or more multiplier. Which I still haven't done yet >_>

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A bit of a grindfest, especially the bosses. A lot of them are repetitive, with the same lasers and cluster shots and rockets.
The upgrades not carrying over is what makes this game playable. You unlock new cards, which still require good performance to upgrade. The enemies don't have to be OMGBBQ powerful near the end because of this.
The last ship

is not invincible, but starts out with decent laser wingmen. And it's fast. I recommend you unlock by playing on Easy, Episode 1, and grazing every shot that comes your way. Don't be afraid to use special atk against the boss to preserve your combo.

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Anonymous April 10, 2011 3:12 AM

i think this game can be a warmup to touhou
aka play arcade play this then if you want harder play touhou!

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