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Vacant Ark is a dark and atmospheric indie Bullet Hell Shoot 'em Up developed by Buster, available as the third game here. It takes a bit of inspiration from the R-Type series but is quite novel in itself. Ammunition is required for any attack besides a weak close-range attack, but you can get this ammunition by blocking enemy bullets with something akin to R-Type's force device.
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An oceanic planet is discovered. Scientists on Earth create a cyborg mermaid and have a little girl remotely pilot it, in order to explore the planet. It turns out that a good deal of the life in the ocean is hostile.


Vacant Ark contains examples of the following:

  • Bullet Catch: A critical part of the gameplay.
  • Bullet Hell
  • Downer Ending: The girl controlling the blue mermaid ends up catatonic with vacant eyes.
  • Duel Boss: The red-haired mermaid also has a force device, and uses red crystals for ammunition.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: The Shallow game ends after the first stage.
  • Evil Counterpart: The red-haired mermaid
  • Fetus Terrible: Embryos/fetuses are recurring enemies.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Shallow, Middle, Deep and Abyss.
  • Nintendo Hard
  • Recurring Boss: The red-haired mermaid, although she usually has another boss in front of her until the final stage.
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  • Shout-Out: One of the music tracks is named "Zunchacha" for a major Taito music composer, Zuntata
  • Timed Mission: Some of the bosses will leave if you take too long to defeat them.

"Return to Earth. You are not invited to here..."
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