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D3 Publisher's Upcoming Shooter Line-Up

D3 has never been known for intensely polished games. If anything, their games fall into the budget realm of software. While most other studios wallow in mediocrity, D3 has taken many of their titles and transformed them into popular and beloved franchises with low-production costs and low prices for consumers, but plenty of fun.

At GDC, D3 Publisher made sure to show off some of their new titles releasing later this year. Three new shooting games will be launching on everything from home consoles to the 3DS. There’s a lot to see, so keep reading for what D3 hopes you’ll buy in the coming months.

Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon: When D3 published Sandlot’s Earth Defense Force 2017 in North America, fans were wowed by the overt tongue-in-cheek nature of the game. While many games strive to be major triple-A blockbusters, Earth Defense Force 2017 did one thing very well: killing lots of enormous insects. That's basically it. Players ran around a gigantic, blocky city as nasties rampaged through Tokyo, and they had a great time doing it. Thankfully, this simple and stupid game is coming back with a sequel.

Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon might be developed by a Western developer, but Vicious Cycle Software has done little to ruin the fun of the series. Now set in New Detroit, Insect Armageddon is more of what people love. There are more bugs to kill, including enhanced spiders and ants, ticks, praying mantis, and daddy longlegs. There are over 350 weapons, such as a new pesticide gun and new vehicles to control.

Sure, the graphics have been improved, and environments are much more destructible, but the gameplay is the same. The campaign is spread across three chapters with five levels each, and the game is fully cooperative, with up to four local or online. There is also a survival mode, a hoard-esque mode of up to six players across six arenas. All in all, it’s the game people fell in love with in 2009, so be ready for the July 5, 2011 release date.

Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury: For fans of the Dreamcast and N64 classic shooter, Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury is a godsend. A high definition remake of their beloved shooter, Missile Fury retains all of the features of the original while adding a fresh coat of paint, online co-op, and level editors.

The game was actually supposed to be out now, but developer Treasure wanted to make sure the bullet hell game could properly support multiplayer action. Local play is not supported due to the nature of game, as the title tends to run fairly small on playable mechs.

Since Bangai-O is an arena-based shooter, players fly around shooting sometimes hundreds of enemies and thousands of projectiles. Smart players can switch between the bouncing laser and the homing missile weapons while collecting falling fruit from enemies and utilizing defensive burst attacks. Stages and goals vary by design. Some of them are very open, but others are designed as a linear maze. Different enemy types will require different approaches to defeat them. For example, one stage has large mechs that can only be damaged by bouncing soccer balls. By dashing through the balls, players can destroy the impending threat. Missile Fury is a quirky and odd shooter, but one that will fit well on XBLA when it launches later this year.

Dream Trigger 3D: If Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury and Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon are too traditional for your liking, you might want to check out Dream Trigger 3D, an upcoming 3DS title that plays like no other. A single-screen shooter, Dream Trigger 3D requires the player to multitask as their sparkly little ship destroys enemy objects.

Every enemy ship is invisible on the top screen. Players have to avoid their projectiles, and the only way to destroy them is to relocate to the bottom screen. Here a time-bar moves across the screen in tempo. Players can lay down audio blocks that correspond to top screen locations anywhere on the bottom screen. When the time bar slides across, rather than sending out a little blip, it will send out a slight ripple on the top screen, making any nearby enemies visible. It's during this window of opportunity that the player can shoot the enemy.

It’s very difficult, and a weird musical puzzle-based shooter that requires a lot of patience and skill. Controls aren't the easiest to master, as players need to place music tiles on the bottom screen while dodging and shooting with the top.

Visually, Dream Trigger 3D aims for an ethereal and unworldly aesthetic. Pinks and blues fade in and out, and the power-ups that rise from the background move slowly forward. With 3D turned on, players can recognize exactly when the power-up can be collected, meaning they can orient themselves to collect as soon as the power-up becomes available. As an alternative to the string of 3DS titles coming out, Dream Trigger 3D is defiantly unique. It looks like nothing else out there for the device.

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Ben PerLee
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