Galshell: Blood Red Skies Artesneit 2004

The main draw of this free shmup is the amazing Gigeresque visuals, though the detailed sprites have a payoff in that there isn't much animation to go with them. What there is, is used effectively, with enemies and bullets pulsating and wiggling like gross infectious parasites. Even the two player craft have their own unwholesome little twitches. The game itself is a lot of fun to play. There's no fancy scoring system like you'd expect from a modern shooting game, though there is a fairly novel power-up and extend system. The player gains experience points for every one of their bullets that hits an enemy, and killed enemies drop blobby red throbbing items, which also give experience when collected. Upon levelling up, the player's weapon is upgraded and they get an extra life. Even when your weapon's fully upgraded, you can continue levlling up to keep gaining extra lives. Along with the three regular difficulty levels you'd expect (easy, normal and hard), there's also an extra mode, which ramps the difficulty up to crazy levels, but also gives the player experience at a much higher rate.
Level Demo v2.0 6.4MB (uploaded by Vector)
Full Demo 26MB (uploaded by scaryfun)

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