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Freeware Games/Shoot 'Em Up

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Screenshot Title Platform Description Download
Alien-Swarm 1 Alien Swarm Windows An online coop top-down shooter, players must work together to advance through levels, completing objectives along the way. as missions are completed, extra weapons and tools are unlocked for the player to use. Originally an unreal tournament 2k4 mod, Valve hired the mod team and during their employment, they remade the game in the source engine in their spare time. (Screenshot is of the old UT2k4 mod version.) Link
Observer 02 Babo Violent 2 Windows Link
Blue Wish Resurrection Blue Wish Resurrection / Plus Windows A doujin shooter that draws heavy influence from Cave's works. Has multiple difficulty settings and passive options ranging from casual (Heaven/Guard) to damn near impossible (Hell/Accel). Very bullet heavy and score-centric, enticing the player to risk waiting on cancels for huge score bonuses. Plus adds more bullets and a slowdown option when the screen is completely full. Link
Chaks Temple Chak's Temple Windows A shoot 'em up Game which goes in a very different artistic direction. The varying locations, lots of bonus levels and the Diablo II-like graphics makes the game really a stand alone classic. Link
Chalk Chalk Windows Destroy your opponents using your drawing skills. Very clever and polished, but like too often with these sort of games, the game ends a bit quickly. Link
ChapolimSuperSam Chapolim & Super Sam: A Lenda dos Super Heróis Windows Knightmare-styled shmup where you control the titular hero from El Chapolin Colorado. Player 2 controls Super Sam, a Uncle Sam parody which appeared in one of the show's episodes. Link
Cho86 2 Cho Ren Sha 68K Windows A famous manic shooter for the Sharp X68000 released in 1995. Later ported to Windows 98 and released as freeware. Gameplay is straightforward but challenging, especially after beating the first loop. Tip: Stay inside the power-ups to collect all 3 at once! Run in compatibility mode on Windows XP. The original X68000 disc image is also available (provided you know how to work an emulator). Link
CodenameMadruga Codename Madruga Windows Top-down shooter/Ikari Warriors parody with Seu Madriga/Don Ramón from El Chavo del Ocho. Link
Dardius Burst Dardius Burst Flash A shmup homage game inspired by Gradius, and Darius. The game plays like Gradius, but has multiple stage paths and fish based enemies like Darius. There's also a bit of Parodius to be seen, as the obstacles and enemies you fight are goofily rendered photos of aquatic creatures and food products made from them. A surprisingly solid, though rather tough game that's worth a play through. Link
Logo epiar Epiar Windows Epiar is an open source, open-ended space action/trading game, currently in development. Link
Every Extend Every Extend Windows No weapons. Self-destruct only. Final destination. From the people behind Rez. Also on PSP as Every Extend Extra and XBLA as Every Extend Extra Extreme. Link
CUBES Exception Windows CUBES! CUBES!! CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUBES! A game were you shoot big cubes into smaller cubes. Using both keyboard and mouse is a bit tricky though. Game is mostly in Japanese but with enough English for you to play. Link
Forever Eden screenshot Forever Eden Windows Currently InDev, You can go around Mining asteroids, Upgrading your ship, blasting Hostiles, refueling, and docking on the one space station - Has a nice selection of ships though. Link
Fraxy-tree Fraxy Windows An arena shooter for boss battles. There is plenty of user-made content for it. Link
Gridrunner PlusPlus screenshot Gridrunner++ Windows Ever wonder what's it like to play Centipede while tripping balls? Wonder no more, the legendary Jeff "Yak" Minter will show you! Link
Gunbound-game-shot Gunbound Classic Windows Worms-like multiplayer action with cute graphics. Equip and upgrade your characters and rise up the ranks. Pretty addictive and perfect for LANs, in fact, playing with someone you know is advised because the community is facepalm fodder (HUA HUE HUA HUE HUA). Link
Gunroar Gunroar Windows Geometry Wars, vertical scrolling, and GUNBOATS. GODDAMN. Crazy action with ships exploding left and right. You can even play this with your MOUSE, which makes the game laughably easy. Made by Kenta Cho from ABA Games (the guy who made Tumiki Fighters and Torus Trooper). Link
Guxt2a Guxt Windows Link
Guwange Dash Windows Guwange-Ruga-Daioujou-XII-Kizuna-Down
Yeah, it's what would happen when every great shmup company in existence came together to make a stupidly fun mash-up. Nearly a dozen ships across many quality titles like DoDonPachi, Twin Cobra, R-Type, Ikaruga and many others (you can even play as Hibachi!). Developer's page was hosted on but no longer, Dropbox download is missing too.
Hydorah Hydorah Windows High quality shooting game that's a melting pot of Gradius goodness. Tons of levels to conquer with each mission bestowing a new special weapon. This game is HARD but extremely rewarding, as there's dozens of secrets hidden off the beaten path for you to uncover. Gorgeous 16-bit graphics, a rocking soundtrack and charming Spanish voice actors(!) that blend for some impressive action. Easily better than most commercial shmups of its time. Link
Knightmare Remake screenshot Knightmare Remake Windows
A fantastic remake of the classic MSX shmup. Link
La Lethal Application Windows A 2D shooting game by Daisessen for Windows where you need to fly up by shooting down. Propel yourself by pointing your main weapon in the opposite direction and fly higher in the vertical stages. Use special weapons to build up a combo for higher score and health upgrades. Has some frantic boss battles and an exhilarating finale. Japanese system locale may be required. translated DL
Liero3 Liero Windows
Liero is basically Worms on steroids. It was spat out of a Finnish guy's sauna in the '90s and kept the European indie scene on life support for almost a decade. It has destructable environments (kind of), 2-player support and 40 unique weapons, with adjustable firing rates and a lot of other gameplay-tweaks.

Protip: picking the missile launcher makes your friends eligible to physically break your arms.

Madscreen M.A.D. Flash Postpone a city's destruction by shooting by intercepting incoming missiles. Great music, surprisingly addicting. Basically, an update of that old arcade game, Missile Command. Link
Naev Naev Windows Top-down space shooter, you do the basic space sim routine of mining, exploring, shooting, etc. The 'Ndata' can be tricky, if the installer doesn't get it for you, DL it manually from the downlods section. Link
Nomltest Nomltest FS Windows Space Invaders with pissed off aliens. Refined shooter with rudimentary curtain patterns that become increasingly more manic as your level rises. The box surrounding your ship "eats" bullets if they stay in it for a short duration, encouraging players to risk nomming grazing bullets for a higher score. Link Lost
Patriotdark Patriot Dark Windows An amalgamate of refined gameplay elements, Patriot Dark has all of the trappings of a Cave-branded arcade shmup. There's strong emphasis on chaining (DoDonPachi) and "gaining" (Espgaluda) through use of your laser. If you don't like the regular music for some reason, apply this alternative sound pack. Link
Radiozonde RADIO ZONDE Windows Thought Touhou was hard? Good luck with this shit. This game defines challenge and complexity, mostly due to being unintuitively intricate. In general most ships have infinite lives where deaths and "pains" are merely strikes against your end score. Advanced techniques and endurance are essential for a good end score turnout. The game is still a WIP, but it's playable in its current form. Link
Spacesim3 RPG Shooter: Starwish Flash The dude behind this Flash game (xdanond) is obviously an enthusiast in visual novels and probably Sigma Star Saga, and it shows: on one hand, there is a surprisingly well-written Firefly-style story for a Flash game. On the other hand, he sucessfully mixed RPG elements into shmup mechanics (character leveling, ship upgrades, weapon shopping) without breaking the game. His friend, auriplane, also turns in a fantastic score.
The game is long, and you'll be using save feature a lot. It's a fucking shame this is a Flash game.
5 rrootage2 rRootage Windows rRootage, like Warning Forever, is essentially an endless boss rush shoot-em-up. It features 4 different game styles that spice up gameplay, as well as having a fuckton of stages; all you do is pick a game style, and then a stage, and then you play until you die. One of the game modes is basically Ikaruga! A must-play for shmup fans. Link
Self Destruct Screen Self Destruct Windows Ten minutes. That's it. Self Destruct is a game that only let's you play for ten minutes, then you self destruct. In that ten minutes, you have a fast-paced, over the top shoot 'em up, in which your goal is to rack up as many points as humanly possible. Very addicting. Includes an online score keeper and a leaderboard! Made by the guy behind Don't Look Back. Link
Stellar Trader Mainscreen Stellar Trader Windows In this game you take on the role of spaceship captain, seeking fame and fortune in the wild frontiers of space, and trying not to get blown to bits in the process.Made by the same guy who made 'Decker'. Link Lost
SuperSpaceRogues Super Space Rogues Windows Journey through a procedurally generated pair of solar systems to collect $50,000 for a disgruntled mob boss. Buy upgrades to make your ship more powerful along the way. Link
The Ur Quan Masters screenshot The Ur-Quan Masters / StarControl2 Windows A Space Adventure game originally released for DOS, It was released as freeware and remade into The Ur-Quan Masters. Features Top-down space combat and exploration. Hard as balls without a wlkthrough. Link
Torus Trooper - over ship Torus Trooper Windows
Remember Tempest? This is Tempest on steroids. You're racing down this tube, sometimes at over 4000km/h blowing shit up. The graphics and music help to put you in the mood too, kind of has the same feel as Rez. It's not a game with a whole lotta depth, but it's fun to play every now and then. Also unlockable In 'Blast Works' for wii. Link
Tsunami 2010 screenshot Tsunami 2010 Windows A sweetass clone of Tempest 3000. But unlike the also-excellent Typhoon 2001 (see further down the list), which remained mostly faithful to its original, this one deviated quite a lot, with new grids and a different soundtrack. Not saying that's bad, though, it's a very fun and very trippy-looking game. Link
TUMIKI Fighters - boss 1 TUMIKI Fighters Windows A cutesy looking shmup that's sort of a combination of Katamari Damacy and Einhander. After you kill enemies you can pick them up and use them as a weapon or shield. Made by the same guy that did Torus Trooper. Was also made into a game for the Wii called Blast Works, which it's also unlockable within. Link
Typhoon 2001 screenshot Typhoon 2001 Windows
A fan remake of Jeff Minter's Jaguar classic Tempest 2000. Stunning upgraded graphics, fantastic soundtrack, crazy intense action. Absolutely must download. Link
Open tyrian 01 Tyrian / OpenTyrian / Tyrian 2000 Windows
The best DOS shmup ever, with tons of plot, secrets and stuff! After lots of expansions, the creators eventually made it freeware. After being converted to Windows in the form of OpenTyrian, it was picked up by, which is the preferable way to acquire it, since it is just install and play! Link
VoidDestroyer Void Destroyer Windows A Space combat sim with RTS elements Link
WFBoss Warning Forever Windows A unique boss rush shoot 'em up where every level is an increasingly complex boss that learns from the previous boss. Did the previous boss kill you with missiles? In that case, the next boss will shoot more missiles. Each boss is killed the same way: by using your multi-directional aiming to blow up every individual part until all that's left is the core. A very clever twist on the traditional shmup formula, Warning Forever is so good that it's a permanent part of the traveling game exhibition known as Game On. Link

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