Whether you refer to them as the "manic shooter", "curtain fire" or "blanket shooter", the undeniable fact is that it produces some of the most intense responses a genre of games can. Both on an impressive visual scale, and the more personal, adrenaline-based impulse reaction level. And it cannot be denied that the Japanese have a stranglehold on all things "manic shooter".
The Flash-based Pararalyzer, from Japanese developer Heriet, is no exception. From the opening screen, there is action galore and soon enough amazing bullet patterns criss-cross the screen in a dazzling kaleidoscope of colour. Through it all the [Z] key will be your best friend, as you unleash a seemingly endless stream of bullets toward the equally endless droves of enemies who are bent on destroying you.
Every so often a boss turns up, usually with three different stages of destruction to battle through before it is dispatched. The action never lets up as the ballet of enemies and their bullets once again resumes with you, the star, caught in the middle of it all. Fortunately, the intensities can be alleviated somewhat with the [C] key, which provides temporary relief in the form of a shield, provided you have some in stock. The [X] key not only provides sweet bullet respite in its main form as a spray of electric enemy disabling bombs, but as a multifaceted tool for organising pick-ups.
By launching the [X] bombs into the pick-ups, they change in a sequence through life>shield>vanish>force and back again. In order, "life" increases your health, or 200 points if your health is already full. "Shield" gives you another stock of shield (mentioned above and deployable with the [C] key) or 200 points if that stock is full. "Vanish" is the most immediately useful as it clears the screen of any bullets. And "force" temporarily increases your attack power. Another, "Extend" is only available at the end of a level and gives you the ability to hold more health. Playing with all these rules in mind not only deepens the gameplay, but adds another layer of strategy. Quite an achievement for a fast paced flash shmup.
Analysis: It's not difficult to understand why games like this continue to be so exciting. There is something inherently gratifying about being stuck in a surely deadly situation only to suddenly find a few pixels of maneuvering space and escape. Then it happens all over again. With the unique option of being able to double the screen size, or to turn the background to black, this shooter, despite its relative length, provides a very intense and exciting game play experience. I'd love to write a bit more about it, but for now, it's back to this incredibly enjoyable game.