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Twin stick shooter appreciation thread

Sep 3, 2004
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(OP edited to include twisty stick shooters as well)

This thread is for talking about how awesome twin stick and twisty stick shooters are. Specifically, twin stick games are action games with a top-down view where one joystick controls walking, and the other joystick shoots, allowing you to fire in a different direction than you are walking. These games tend to have a very high number of onscreen enemies, since the control scheme allows you to more easily deal with so many enemies at once. Twisty stick games only have one joystick, but you can rotate the joystick to change your character's firing direction. Here are some of the classics:

Robotron 2084



I have to include this because it's the granddaddy of twin stick shooters, but I actually haven't played this one much! :O What the hell am I doing making this thread? Hopefully someone else can go into what makes this one good.

Smash TV



I'll let the game's backstory speak for itself:

The year is 1999. Television has adapted to the more violent nature of man.
The most popular form of television remains the game show.
One show in particular has dominated the ratings. That show is Smash TV. The most violent game show of all time.
Two lucky contestants compete for cash and prizes. Each contestant is armed with an assortment of powerful weapons and sent into a closed arena.
The action takes place in front of a studio audience and is broadcast live via satellite around the world.
Be prepared.
The future is now.
You are the next lucky contestant!
This game is so badass. You are swarmed with so many enemies that all you can do is carve enough of a swath through them that you have room to stand. The gameplay is simple: Kill all the enemies in the room, then pick which door to go through. Pick up any cash and prizes you see. Repeat until you reach a boss.

This is one of the first great co-op games. The challenge is so high that it really pays to work together, but one of your main objectives in the game is to collect as many prizes and piles of cash as you can, so you're always scrambling to grab more than the other guy. The bosses in this are EPIC, and at the end of each level it counts up which player won more cash, toasters, magnificent 4200 inch TVs, etc. Also there are a shit ton of secrets. Both the arcade and SNES versions of this are really good.

Total Carnage



The bigger, badder, more violent follow-up to Smash TV. The evil General Akhboob has invaded the middle east or something. The Americans' response is to send in the Doomsday Squad: Major Mayhem and Captain Carnage. Gameplay is mostly like Smash TV, but the levels are bigger and there are some parts where you can call in airstrikes. There's also a fun electric chair sequence that will feel familiar to Metal Gear Solid fans. The story is hilarious, half of which is General Akhboob talking shit to you between levels.

Modern games on XBLA, PSN, etc

In the last few years there have been some really cool twin stick shooters like Geometry Wars and Super Stardust HD. Instead of the humor and ridiculous amounts of violence that Smash TV and Total Carnage had, these games feature bright colors, insane special effects, and smooth 60 fps 1080p graphics. I love these games less than Smash TV and Total Carnage, so they don't get screenshots.

Who else loves twin stick shooters? :D

----

Edit: Twisty stick shooters like Ikari Warriors are also welcome in this thread.
 
Sep 3, 2004
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Why would you do that? said:
Smash TV was amazing. While in college, I got quite a few people interested in that game. Could never beat the second level, though. :(
Did you get to the level 2 boss, Scarface? Fighting him was INSANE. When friends and I would play it on snes, it took forever before we ever got past him.
 

Narcosis

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Apr 21, 2007
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Total Carnage was awesome. I never played the arcade version, but I remember my old beat up SNES got plenty of playtime with that game and it was some of the best co-operative play to be found.


[EDIT] I just remembered I played this game with a buddy once after we got stoned and we both kept trying to imitate the speech style of that General guy
 
Jul 15, 2009
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Parallax Scroll said:
Did you get to the level 2 boss, Scarface? Fighting him was INSANE. When friends and I would play it on snes, it took forever before we ever got past him.
I've never even seen the boss, actually. One day, I'll get good enough to see the boss, I hope...
 

GDGF

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Jun 6, 2004
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Hell yeah! I love these types of games. SMASH TV was sweet, as was Robotron 2084. Never got much into Total Carnage.


I miss rotating joystick shooters, too (like Ikari Warriors)
 

VALIS

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Robotron is the greatest arcade game ever. This has been proven by science.
 

Azure Dream

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Since it's going to come up anyway...

I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1NIT!!!1




80 Points, amusing as hell at first, decent enough time waster afterward.
 

DJ_Lae

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I love Smash TV so much, even though I suck at it.

I spent a ton of money on it in arcades, played it on MAME, and then bought the XBLA release and cried when I saw there was an achievement for beating the game on one continue.
 

Llyranor

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I thought you were talking about VOOT ;___;

Dual analog shooters are awesome, though! My favs are Smash TV (just classic fun with a nice sense of humor), Geometry Wars 2 (all the modes are really good, especially in co-op), and Omega Five (great little overlooked dual analog shmup).
 
Sep 3, 2004
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Why would you do that? said:
I've never even seen the boss, actually. One day, I'll get good enough to see the boss, I hope...
Are you playing on snes? If so, use this rule of thumb for the first 2 levels:

1. When you have to pick an exit door, always go down.
2. If down is not an option, always go right.

This is the most direct path to the bosses that also gets you all the secret rooms. Get goot at those screens and you're set. Keep in mind that the secret rooms are behind doors where the exit sign is NOT lit up, so try the bottom and then right door every time, regardless of whether they're lit.
 
Sep 3, 2004
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GDGF said:
Hell yeah! I love these types of games. SMASH TV was sweet, as was Robotron 2084. Never got much into Total Carnage.


I miss rotating joystick shooters, too (like Ikari Warriors)
Fuck it, let's talk about those too. Wasn't there also one where you're on this hovercraft that shoots axes and boomerangs and shit?
 
Sep 3, 2004
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Why would you do that? said:
I've never even seen the boss, actually. One day, I'll get good enough to see the boss, I hope...
I'll do coop on it with you if you want. Emulators can do that nowadays, can't they?
 

Daigoro

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Nov 7, 2004
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Llyranor said:
I thought you were talking about VOOT ;___;

Dual analog shooters are awesome, though! My favs are Smash TV (just classic fun with a nice sense of humor), Geometry Wars 2 (all the modes are really good, especially in co-op), and Omega Five (great little overlooked dual analog shmup).
the new ones are the analog ones. the OG ones were digital.

i love the old Robotron and Smash TV type games (never played Total Carnage though! i need to check it out), but i despise the Geo Wars games. i just find them completely un-fun.

Zombie Apocalypse just came out for XBLA though (not the homebrew looking ZOMBEI game), the demo was fun. ill probably pick it up at some point.

Parallax Scroll said:
I'll do coop on it with you if you want. Emulators can do that nowadays, can't they?
can they?

i was just wondering if this was possible when i saw Total Carnage in the OP.
 

GDGF

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Parallax Scroll said:
Fuck it, let's talk about those too. Wasn't there also one where you're on this hovercraft that shoots axes and boomerangs and shit?
I don't know but that sounds pretty awesome! There is this one that I can never remember the name of, but it's one of my favorites. All I can remember is that you collect the pieces of this one fucking killer ass gun as you go through the levels (but the gun only lasts for one minute or so)

I remember playing it at Diamond Jim's when I was a kid. Can't remember the exact year, but it was pre SFII. I do remember that.

FrostuTheNinja said:
Here here!

Now let's not forget Forgotten Worlds.
One of my favorite games. Loved it at the arcade, and spent countless hours with it on the Genesis.
 
Sep 3, 2004
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GDGF said:
I don't know but that sounds pretty awesome! There is this one that I can never remember the name of, but it's one of my favorites. All I can remember is that you collect the pieces of this one fucking killer ass gun as you go through the levels (but the gun only lasts for one minute or so)

I remember playing it at Diamond Jim's when I was a kid. Can't remember the exact year, but it was pre SFII. I do remember that.
Heavy Barrel?
 
Sep 3, 2004
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Daigoro said:
can they?

i was just wondering if this was possible when i saw Total Carnage in the OP.
I got out of emulators right around when online play was sort of getting started. There's something called Kailerra(sp) that people used to use to play arcade fighters online. It might even be built into zsnes.
 

sixteen-bit

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Aug 16, 2006
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Llyranor said:
I thought you were talking about VOOT ;___;

Dual analog shooters are awesome, though! My favs are Smash TV (just classic fun with a nice sense of humor), Geometry Wars 2 (all the modes are really good, especially in co-op), and Omega Five (great little overlooked dual analog shmup).
I don't think I've played Omega Five since 07. I need to revisit it.

edit:I made that post in '09. I still haven't replayed it :(

Geo Wars 2 is fun times with friends.
 
Jul 15, 2009
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Parallax Scroll said:
I'll do coop on it with you if you want. Emulators can do that nowadays, can't they?

I got out of emulators right around when online play was sort of getting started. There's something called Kailerra(sp) that people used to use to play arcade fighters online. It might even be built into zsnes.
When in High School, I toyed around with co-op on 2 computers over LAN with ZSNES, and the problem was, even over LAN, sometimes the action would get out of sync, which leads to confusion when both people say that they won. :lol I'd still like to try it anyway if you want, but I just can't do it right now because I'm on wireless and it's 1:00 in the morning...

I don't know about Kaillera, though. Haven't tried it.
 
Sep 3, 2004
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Why would you do that? said:
When in High School, I toyed around with co-op on 2 computers over LAN with ZSNES, and the problem was, even over LAN, sometimes the action would get out of sync, which leads to confusion when both people say that they won. :lol I'd still like to try it anyway if you want, but I just can't do it right now because I'm on wireless and it's 1:00 in the morning...

I don't know about Kaillera, though. Haven't tried it.
My experience is pretty similar. I tried zsnes's net play over a dorm LAN, so it should have been pretty fast, but yeah, it got out of sync a lot and we would have to reset. That was in like 2001, and I think the tech has gotten better since then. But yeah, I'm down tomorrow or whatever.
 
Sep 3, 2004
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Actually, it looks like the XBLA version of Smash TV supports online co-op. I think the game costs 400 points. Anyone up for a game? Gamertag: ParallaxScroll
 

shpankey

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Ok.
I dunno if this counts, but I'm very much enjoying Zombie Apocalypse right now on the PS3. :D I give it a big thumbs up. Playing online with 4 other peeps is pure awesomeness.

 

CitizenCope

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When Robotron first released I played it for about 5 or 6 hours straight. Had to keep beating my previous high score. Consider myself good at this game but I can't believe some of the high scores. Insane!
 
Feb 7, 2008
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Kulock said:
Since it's going to come up anyway...

I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1NIT!!!1




80 Points, amusing as hell at first, decent enough time waster afterward.
Definitely worth the 80 points. Although I was suprised to find out that Indie Games don't work if you're not connected to the internet. They don't have the same DRM that all other Xbox Live content does, which is a little weird.

Love me some twin stick shooters, Geometry Wars 2 is the King.
 
Sep 3, 2004
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shpankey said:
I dunno if this counts, but I'm very much enjoying Zombie Apocalypse right now on the PS3. :D
Right stick makes you shoot, right? (I haven't played it so I don't know for sure) If so, it counts.

Blackbird| said:
What the heck game is that?

Muffdraul said:
Berzerk wasn't a twin stick shooter.
But it served as much of the inspiration for Robotron. Hooray! :D
 

shpankey

not an idiot
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Parallax Scroll said:
Right stick makes you shoot, right? (I haven't played it so I don't know for sure) If so, it counts.
Yup. It counts then.

Truely awesome fun, highly recommend it. Killin' Zombies never gets old. Haha. :D
 
Sep 3, 2004
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Muffdraul said:
Only if Eugene Jarvis said so. =P
wikipedia said:
The dual joystick control design resulted from two experiences in Jarvis's life: an automobile accident and playing Berzerk. Prior to beginning development, Jarvis injured his right hand in an accident—his hand was still in a cast when he returned to work, which prevented him from using a traditional joystick with a button. While in rehabilitation, he thought of Berzerk.[7][9] Though Jarvis enjoyed the game and similar titles, he was dissatisfied with the control scheme; Berzerk used a single joystick to move the on-screen character and a button to fire the weapon, which would shoot the same direction the character was facing.[7][10] Jarvis noticed that if the button was held down, the character would remain stationary and the joystick could be used to fire in any direction.[4][10] This method of play inspired Jarvis to add a second joystick dedicated to aiming the direction projectiles were shot.[10] Jarvis and DeMar created a prototype using a Stargate system board and two Atari 2600 controllers attached to a control panel.[4][7] In retrospect, Jarvis considers the design a contradiction that blends "incredible freedom of movement" with ease of use.[5]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robotron:_2084
 
Sep 3, 2004
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Oh man, I just remembered. The original "Castle Wolfenstein" computer game (aka Wolfenstein 2D) had a 2-stick control option. You would still have to push a fire button to shoot or throw grenades in that direction though. As a kid I would play this with a friend where we each had an Atari 2600 controller. Usually I was "pilot" and he was "gunner". His button fired the gun and my button threw grenades. It actually worked really well.



That game was dope.
 
Apr 20, 2005
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levious said:
the arcade version was a twin stick shooter? I never knew this
Actually, it wasn't, as it used just one. But you could rotate the stick to the direction you want to shoot in. I still consider it be a twin stick shooter, though. ;) Not sure if others agree or not... :lol
 
Sep 3, 2004
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nextgeneration said:
Actually, it wasn't, as it used just one. But you could rotate the stick to the direction you want to shoot in. I still consider it be a twin stick shooter, though. ;) Not sure if others agree or not... :lol
I edited the OP to indicate that Ikari Warriors style games are OK as well. I call them "twisty stick shooters."
 

Muffdraul

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Apr 23, 2008
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When GunValkyrie came out, I remember thinking of it as a sort of updated 3D take on the classic twin stick shooter. It had the tricky ass flying/hovering gimmick, but it still boiled down to moving in one direction while shooting in another. But in the years since then, I've realized that it was really just one of the first typical 3D third person shooters, in the line that continued on through kill.switch, Lost Planet, Gears of War, etc. Anyway, I always felt lucky to be among the 17 or so people on earth who played GV and didn't hate it.

 
Sep 3, 2004
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Kulock said:
Since it's going to come up anyway...

I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1NIT!!!1




80 Points, amusing as hell at first, decent enough time waster afterward.
Let's see how long it takes me to figure out how to buy this.

Edit: Not long at all. I didn't realize they had added an "Indie Games" menu.