The vertical scrolling shooter is a great, classic arcade genre.
In 1992, Epic MegaGames released this almost forgettable little EGA game called Overkill. You, the pilot, are tasked with destroying all the evil alien forces that captured six otherwise peaceful planets, enslaving the populations along the way. Destroy them.
Overkill was developed by Tech-Noir Productions and Ste Cork, and it was the first vertical shooter released by Epic (oh there would be others…). It had some period features including joystick support and MIDI music but was technologically unimpressive. Other games of the time — Commander Keen, the original Duke Nukem I and II — had far superior graphics.
The game gave the player shields/life energy, a contrast to other “one hit you’re dead” scrollers of the time and earlier. You could also collect power ups and boost your fuel, shields and weapons.
This game was a bitch to extract originally. I bought the shareware in the 90s on 3.5″ floppy at one of The Christmas Tree Shops on Cape Cod — one of many bribes from my mother for one of many excursions to the stores, which are basically the perfect visage of an adolescent male hell.
Anyway, do you know how hard it is to pull something off a floppy these days? They’re gone, baby, gone.
Come to find out, Overkill was released into the freeware realm on July 23 by Ste Cork. Now the whole world can have it.