The main calling card of TASSURUS 3012 ($1.00) is a return to the arcade thrills of old, pumping quarters into a hard-as-nails shooter that loved to punish you, but also made your eventual victory that much sweeter. This was before genre mashups, before twin-stick shooters really existed, back when eight-directional fire (and you couldn’t move and shoot at the same time) was as futuristic as it got.

This was also before ‘we’, collectively as gamers, knew better. TASSURUS 3012 is essentially a series of wave-based rounds. These can be tackled solo, or with a friend locally, warping from one training room to the next, clearing it of robotic sentries and avoiding the roving mines that seek you out. Its claims of 65,000+ levels are a nice gesture, but feel merely like a tick on a marketing checklist, as the dull grey walls that comprise the entirety of any level’s geometry (a design that’d be right at home on a Commodore 641) are the only visual differences from stage to stage.

Those walls can be removed / added as needed via switches, inviting some strategy. Each arena comes lined with several exits, though, giving you an out should you need it. Enemy AI starts out docile, but gets smarter and more aggressive as you advance, with one hit all that separates you (and your foes) from death. At the same time, you are rewarded for clearing the room. Take out all enemies two waves in a row, and you’ll unlock the ‘weapons portal’, which gives you a chance to upgrade your guns, provided you can successfully run the gauntlet of mines / foes on the other end. While undeniably helpful, those same upgrades only last as long as you do; one life.

You’ll find that your life is precious, and in constant danger. Although the levels aren’t expressly ‘timed’, you do have an impetus to work quickly. After a set period, mines are released into the arena from one of the entrances. Most can be avoided or outrun, but the dreaded ‘ottomine’ is another story entirely. This one actively seeks the player out (and cannot be destroyed!), gaining speed relative to how many enemies are left standing. The continual threat the mines pose does add a dash of random to the proceedings.

TASSURUS 3012 - Screen

Of course, your patience with the basic level design and simplistic shooting mechanics will be tested. It does indeed recall the arcade shooters of yesteryear, but that throwback to a simpler time is not necessarily an automatic upgrade; there’s a reason we’ve evolved to our current generation of games / consoles. Still, if you hunger for the knowledge of those old arcade games, one could do worse than TASSURUS 3012. One could also do better.

  1. Speaking of Commodore 64 and the old-timey stuff, I’d recommend giving The Retro Years a look. 

11 thoughts on “REVIEW: TASSURUS 3012”

    1. Missed this review / game? Fret not, good sir, for Microsoft prevented me from doing much of anything since the end of July. As for the game, I promised the Dev I’d cover it, but only once his price change took effect ($5 down to $1… you’re welcome). 🙂

  1. Blame it on the analog stick. I mean, I love the 360 controller (never was a fan of the DualShock), but man, the D-Pad is shite and those analog sticks just can’t replace a proper old-school joystick.

    But the joystick died a long time ago and is only used nowadays by people who own Flight Simulator.

    Or we’re just getting old… yeah, I think that’s it.

    1. @Soosh: Gah! You had one job! How could you!? 😀

      @Dream Poet & Soosh: Joust is another good example. I haven’t played it recently, but the last time (this is probably 4-5 years ago now) I did, I was beyond terrible. A more recent example for me would be Time Pilot. Rocked it on the ColecoVision (and we all remember that weird controller / joystick / turning knob thing), then I bought it on XBLA, and could barely make it to the last level.

      I won’t say we’re getting old, as much as I would say we might be… gulp… getting too used to the ‘automatic win’ / ‘checkpoints for everybody’ difficulty of most console games these days.

  2. OMG that so reminds me of Berzerk on the Atari 2600.

    And OMG, I’ve got mentioned in one of your footnotes. Thank you sir, really kind of you.

    1. Damn, remarkably similar. I knew I had seen the game type somewhere, just couldn’t place it. I kept wanting to say Robotron, but that was fast-paced, and no disappearing walls. Really, the only thing missing here are the portals, and that damn ‘ottomine’. Ruined a damn good run last night, grrrr. Anyway, nice find.

      Oh, and no problem on the linkage. While it’s not exactly ‘indie’ games that you’re covering, it’s video games. Close enough! Also worth the nostalgia. 😀

    2. The sound effects/background sound remind me of Robotron. A game I couldn’t play worth a crap when I was plugging quarters into machines but now with the port that was available I rocked it. The graphics for sure remind me of Berzerk. Spent many hours on that game. No one in my family or neighborhood like playing multiplayer games against me on the 2600 because I took no prisoners. Wasn’t a humbled gamer till I first started playing over the internet games on my PC. Found out I was only mediocre then. 😛

    3. I was never any good at Robotron either. One of those old titles that just had my number every time. I did rather well against the neighborhood competition irregardless of the console, though, so no complaints. 🙂

    4. It’s funny, there’s certain games you used to be good at, then you revisit them 20-30 years later and all of a sudden you suck at those titles. Take one of my all time favourite games on the Amiga, Wings (not to be confused with Wings of Fury), for instance. I was really good at it back in the day, while nowadays I can’t hit crap.

    5. Thanks for the edit Tim. It was bugging me.

      Soosh I know exactly what you meant. Joust is that game for me. I think that game is better suited for a joystick as apposed to the 360 controller. As well as defender and dig dug I rocked the stand up consoles but suck on my 360.

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