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Video Game: R Rootage
Released for personal computers in 2003 by Kenta Cho, rRootage is basically Bullet Hell boiled down to the absolute essentials: You control a ship with a wave beam and a secondary defensive action. Your opponent above is an ever-resurrecting coil that is able to morph into many different forms and send legions and legions of projectiles your way. The only way to survive is to be an artful shooter and dodger.

That's it. No tales of Magical Girls, no vast interstellar empire to overthrow. Why do you need to vanquish your foe? Because it's there. Also, it seems intent on taking you out first.

The game has four modes which are twists on the familiar Bullet Hell set-up:

Normal Mode - Shoot and don't get shot. You have three bombs you can set off with secondary fire, which vaporizes the bullets in a small area around you for a limited time.

PSY Mode - Shoot and don't get shot. Secondary fire slows you down but allows you to brush up against the non-damaging portions of projectiles, which increases your Graze Meter. Fill it up and your ship becomes invincible for about three seconds.

IKA Mode - Shoot and don't get shot. This time, incoming bullets are either red or blue, and your ship can toggle between the two colors using secondary fire. When your ship touches a bullet of the same color, said bullet is reflected back upwards at the boss and damages it. The strategic use of color-swapping can quickly take down the boss and help you to safely navigate swaths of bullets.

GW Mode - Shoot and don't get shot. Otherwise, it's similar to IKA Mode without two bullet colors. You have a Reflector Meter which automatically builds. When it's full, hold secondary fire. After a brief delay, all bullets surrounding in a small area surrounding your ship will reflect back towards the boss for a limited time.

Can be downloaded from here. More recently, a port was created for Apple devices, which can be bought from here.


Tropes fired at you in unfair amounts:

  • Anti-Frustration Feature: The red dot of your ship is actually your hit-box. And each of the bullets has a small square which is its damaging portion. This makes the guesswork when trying to weave through bullets a little easier.
  • Boss Game: Each stage has five bosses. Each tier of stages has three stages, not counting the R stage. There are 10 tiers of stages. Finally, there are four different play modes. This makes for a total of six hundred non-random bosses.
  • Bullet Hell
  • Homage: Each of the latter three modes was heavily inspired by another shmup:
    • PSY Mode was inspired by the Psyvariar games.
    • IKA Mode derives heavily from Ikaruga.
    • GW Mode takes after the Giga Wing games.
  • Minimalism: In contrast to many other shmups, rRootage goes for this. Your ship is a red pixel surrounded by rotating green columns. Your opponent is a yellow vector-thing whose only bling is bright points of light.
  • Combos: The longer you continously damage the boss, the higher your damage bonus increases, all the way to 1,000. Once your laser stops touching the boss, it will rapidly decrease back to 10 points.
  • Every 10,000 Points: You get an extra life at 200,000 points, then 500,000, then every 500,000 points after that.
  • Nintendo Hard: The game starts off pretty hard and only gets worse from there.
  • No Range Like Point-Blank Range: Your laser does more damage the closer you get to the boss. This is to reward risking life to get up close to the boss.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: The R stages use randomized patterns.
  • Return to Shooter: GW mode.
  • Scoring Points: You gain points for damaging the boss. The longer the laser is on the boss, the more points per interval you get, ranging from 10 to 1,000. At the end of each boss, you get a bonus proportional to how fast you defeated the boss, divided by the number of lives you used and number of bombs (in Normal mode) dropped. The three non-Normal modes all have additional scoring gimmicks. Conclusion: Kill bosses as fast as you can and avoid dying or bombing whenever possible. Points are a necessity in this game because they earn you extra lives.
  • Shapeshifting: Your opponent's innate form is a rotating coil. It surrounds itself with yellow vector lines that form various shapes. Each time you deplete its health, it loses its protective covering and has to form a new one until you clear the stage.
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