Fren-ze - Hermit Games

Hermit Games - PC (Windows XP) - 08/26/06

Reviewed by Xaer0Knight.

I've heard mixed reactions to this game and tripped over it while searching Shoot The Core PC SHMUP database. The game after all was recommended by them. I downloaded the Demo from Hermit games website and was so impressed and hooked, I paid for the Full Version. The Full Version was a steal in my eyes for a easy $5 USD or $10 USD for a CDROM delievery with many pay options. Quite an encompassing SHMUP for less than 3MB download. Great shield/reflection system with kick ass Matrix/Hackers soundtrack.


As far as I can tell there is no story to this shump

SOUND 7 / BGM 10

The Background music is a throw back from the early days of Techno music and should be along side with the soundtrack to "Hackers." The Boss Music remindes me so much of "The Matrix" fight scenes. This Score is made quite well.
The sounds of the games are most like any other well made SHMUP. Nothing special except the sound of the exploding Boss and the sound of your Reflective shield. You'll hear/know when you get a power-up.


The visuals are vector like reminds me of the old SHMUPS like Tempest. Unlike a Manic SHMUP like Marz Matrix or Gun Bird 2, you can see all the bullets. Explosions are done well thanks to the use of a blur and vector like Boxes spinning randomly. The bullets are drawn well with a little slow down on bigger enemies and while you use your Reflective Shield. The Bullets are generic, mostly trangle shaped either in yellow, blue, or pink fashion. The shield power-ups (dark blue orbs) can be hard to see because of the dark background with a grid and moving Double Helix shape thats always there. The Helix will either be Green (regular/mini boss battle) or be Red (in a boss battle)The Fire-power (bright yellow orb) up can easily been seen most of the time unless there are a screenful of Yellow Bullets around there. If you love Vector-like elements with a mix of Neon colors, You'll be at home.


Even on my old Pentium 800MHz (GeForce MX4400 and 576 MB RAM) this games preforms well. There is no set system requirements but this game was sluggish with running higher than 800x600 or in a Window form. This game is like most Vertical SHMUPS because all it takes is some Memorization to become great at this game.

The options are nice and straight forward. There are 3 displays modes, Normal (vertical), Horiz(ontal), and 'Tate. For your Ikargura and R-Type Fans this option is a great plus. 'Tate is a little harder with Horizontal view and Reverse controls. Hard as hell in this option. Of course a Window Resolution as well as a Fullscreen option and included is 4 Resolution settings (640*480, 800*600, 1024*768, 1280*1024).

The Input options are great. As long as your Joystick or Gamepad are Windows XP Compatable, they will work great. I used my XBOX Controller to USB and it worked perfectly. 3 buttons is all you need Fire (Z) and Shield (X) and Pause (P). Of course the Keyboard is default but I would recommend a good Controller over a Keyboard.

Collection of Blue Shield Power-ups are essential for your sheild to become active. Press the Shield Button and a Reflective shield will protect your ship as well as Reflect the enemies bullets back at them. Certain instances such as boss battle and blue/pink bullets will recharge your Shield Meter. Your Shield meter is located at the top Left Hand corner as XX/XX. The first XX is your current Shield and the second is your Maximum Shield Meter. The Reflective shield works as One Second per Button push. More Blue you collect the more Seconds your get.

You start with only 5 Ships, no Continues, and no Extends.. Ther is also no Score Keeping as well. 5 Ships is all you get.
Each Stage also has a Mini Boss and well as a Main Boss.


Certainly the Longevity is there with Unlockable Areas such as Practice Levels, Boss Practice, and Boss Rush. For a Practice Level all that is need is to complete the stage, a Boss Practice is harder with Collect all Blue Shield Power-Ups, and the Boss Rush is the hardest with collect all the Shield Power-Up in each stage to get a Boss Rush. There is also a Speed Option as well set at 60Hz for Regular Speed and 30Hz for Half Speed which helps you to get your timing and memorization down (thanks Ikaruga).


Overall, a well made PC Shmups with the ability to use USB controllers, an excellent Soundtrack, worked well on a 800Mhz, the Longevity of this game is no question and priced perfectly at $5 USD. Anyone, should be able to afford this. The only thing that I think that this game lacked was Mac or Linux support and no Online Ranking system.



Mini Boss Battle

The mini boss of trangles and the only way to tell is the double helix are green in color

Star Men

Artsy stars come raining down. One of the harder enemies


A Boss >>

Well drawn enemies nice use of Star-Shapes, Boxes, Trangles, and simply artistic The Shield is also in use


<< An Explosion

A nice explosion showing off the spinning boxes and blurring light


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie