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Only After I Embraced My Doom Did Abadox Reveal Its Charms

I’ve been playing a lotta Nintendo Entertainment System lately, partially to make sure RetroArch’s workin’ fine on this new PC, and also just because I’m jonesin’ for some simple, classic fun. Natsume’s 1989 shooter Abadox was one of the first new-old games that came to mind, so I took it for a spin.

Abadox (longplay) is an alternating horizontal and vertical (downward-scrolling!) shooter that challenges your lone spaceman to assault the internal organs of Parasitis, a massive cytoplasmic alien beast that’s eaten both your planet (“Abadox”) and Princess Maria. What a cad!

The game takes Life Force’s inside-a-monster aesthetic and makes it grodier, and its memorization- and pattern-heavy gameplay is reminiscent of Irem shmups like R-Type or Image Fight. Your alien foes appear in the same spots every time, but often change behavior based on your own movement. At its most intense, the game becomes a frantic dance as you flip between struggling to stick to your pre-set plan and madly improvising to stay alive. As in R-Type, it’s hard to keep up the latter for very long.

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