Every Extend Extra
is a strange beast. In these times of sequels and over-blown budgets, an original freeware game being picked up by a respected developer and turned into a full-blown commercial release is not only unheard of, it's practically unthinkable. However, that's just what the eccentric genius Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Q Entertainment
has done with EEE
. The original game, Every Extend
, was developed by a programmer called OMEGA and released on the unsuspecting world as a free download. The game proved popular, with over 25,000 downloads on C|Net's Download.com to its name. It was picked up by Q Entertainment and has now been released on the PSP, first home of Mizuguchi-san's most famous puzzler, Lumines
The basic premise of the game is to destroy your enemies by blowing yourself up. This may not seem like a tactic with a long-term future, but it helps to think of yourself as a commander sending in expendable warriors to die gloriously in order to win the battle.
Or you may think of yourself as a Zapp Brannigan-type character, hurling men into the fray until the Killbots reach their pre-programmed kill limit, the choice is yours.
In either case, exploding the craft under your control should be used to start a chain reaction through the random swarms of enemy craft, each destroyed enemy causing another explosion that catches more enemies in its blast until no more are within range.
Sounds great doesn't it? Well be careful, because you only have a limited stock of craft to detonate in order to reach the end of the level, known as a drive. However, in true shoot-em-up style, you can gain more craft by reaching score targets, this is called an ‘extend’.
Points are awarded for blowing up enemies; points double for each successive enemy in the explosion chain. The first is worth 10 points, the second 20, and so on up to a maximum of 2,560 points per enemy.
Some enemies are coloured green and drop point bonus items when destroyed, these items are initially worth 800 points, but each successive one picked up is worth twice as many points as the one before until you blow up your current ship or you crash into an enemy without exploding.
Crashing your ship results in a five-second penalty against the time limit, and will reduce your ship stock by one. The good news is that there are "mini-boss" enemies who, once destroyed, will drop time extension objects that can replenish your timer.
When the countdown gets to a pre-determined point, you have to face the end-of -level boss who can only be destroyed by being caught in explosion chains over a certain length: the longer the explosion chain, the more damage done to the boss, eventually depleting its strength to zero. The boss battle is played against the remainder of the countdown, but again, there are time extensions to be gained. Beat the boss before the time runs out and you progress to the next ‘drive’.