XOP is one of the best shareware vertical shooters I have come across in recent memory.
Although graphically the game is nothing to marvel at ? the graphics are more reminiscent of DOS games than today?s 3D-accelerated game ? XOP excels in the gameplay department in ways that fans of classics like Tyrian will find familiar.
Like all good shooters, XOP is easy to learn, but hard to master. Your is equipped with three weapons you can rotate: primary, secondary, and optional secondary. A nice touch is that you can choose your secondary weapons at the beginning of each level, from the available pool of different weapons that vary in power and speed. Your ship is also equipped with shields that can reflect enemy fire and destroy them except the bosses. Another nice innovation is ?score attack mode? which allows you to tackle each of the 8 levels individually. There are over 70 kinds of enemies, each with their own attack and movement patterns, 8 levels plus 3 bonus levels, and an excellent soundtrack that ranges from jazz to techno, and even classical music.
If you enjoy no-frills, playable shoot ?em ups, you can?t go wrong with XOP. Customizable skill levels make this a great game for novices and masters alike, and a nice tutorial is offered before you get into the game. Well worth the $15 cost of registered version. Two thumbs up, way up!
Note: XOP was released as freeware by the author in 2006. You may also enjoy the author's official sequel, XOP Black, also downloadable below!