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Xyanide

It's been an incredibly long time since we've seen a space shooter the likes of Xyanide. Basically an updated, 2D, interstellar laser-fest in which your sole objective is eliminating each and every enemy that wanders onto the screen, Xyanide captures that old-school arcade intensity in a way that makes us ache for the good ol' days.

What instantly grabbed our attention was the sheer number of hi-tech gizmos our little space ship gave us to work with. Essentially, you move your ship around the screen with the left thumbstick while shooting in any direction with the right thumbstick... simple, right? It gets much more complicated when you throw in the weapon-switching between Organic (little purple energy balls) and Mechanic (brilliant blue laser beams) modes of fire... it gets downright insane when you add the missile charge/lock function (accessible by holding down the left trigger) and a vast number of power-ups for each weapon in your arsenal. Oh, and there are special attacks as well that function mostly in a support capacity like shields and ship-shrinking minimizers (which telescope your ships size to microscopic proportions).

All of these assault options may sound confusing, but the simple controls of this star-blaster make all of the weapons variations taste like icing on a cake. What more could you ask for out of this type of game besides heaps of weapon-boosts and ship-modifiers? Maybe a kickass intro movie? How about a brooding techno soundtrack? Wildly scrolling 3D backgrounds? Xyanide's got all these, in a surprisingly polished (and value priced - $20) package. Look for this madness to hit stores on July 25.

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