Aegis Wing

“Aegis Wing” is free, once you get onto Xbox Live (silver’s fine, but you need to access the US region, which is possible – many Bothans would have to die to bring you that information). Do I need to say anything else? “Free” automatically means “great”, right? Nothing else explains why I go to your Mom’s house every other weekend. Well, perhaps the cookie she gives me afterward – and yes, that’s why I’m fat.

Horizontally scrolling shooters aren’t exactly hard to come by, but for the 360, they’re a relative rarity, especially if you discount remakes of “Scramble”. “Aegis Wing” was originally an intern project within Microsoft that was deemed too good not to share, at least if you believe the title screen – fortunately for us, they’re right. As well as the standard scroll, shoot stuff, kill boss, shoot more stuff, dodge bullets type action you’d expect of a horizontally scrolling shooter, there’s also a few interesting powerups (such as a bubble that deflects bullets in the direction you’re moving, homing missiles, a giant laser that blasts everything in its path and an EMP field that radiates around the ship, disabling enemy ships and clearing shots) and a cool multi player mechanic as well.

The game supports up to four player simultaneous multi play, but each player also has the option to join together with another ship, or altogether in a group – the more joined together, the more powerful the ship, but then also the larger a target you make. Also, only one person controls movement of the mass, the others merely direct their weapons. Depending on whether or not you end up with a chucklehead controlling movement, this can be quite a fun experience.

If it actually cost anything significant, it’d probably be too mediocre to worry about, especially when you’ve got games like “Trigger Heart Excelica”, “Ikaruga” and “Omega Five” on XBLA now, but considering it’s either free, or free-and-a-bit-of-screwing-around if you’re outside the US, it’s well worth a shot. Oh, and 200 more achievement points to whore, not that many of which are total freebies.

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