I'm not going to spend hours drivelling on about licences, injunctions, and court orders, everyone knows about Activision's objections to Katakis. Instead I'm going to tell you about a rather natty piece of software which I have no doubt will take the market by storm: Denaris.
Denaris is a simple horizontally scrolling blast set on a variety of tired and tested backdrops, although it features some original ideas, which is refreshing to see in a game nowadays.
Scene one takes place in an asteroid belt with bloody great chunks of rock coming towards you, not to mention an armada of aliens in various forms. Obviously in such situations the best thing to do is to collect hardware which floats towards you in the form of extra weaponry, and an orb which locks on to the front of the ship and acts as a shield. The satellite changes shape depending on the extra pods you collect. On top of the size it can fire lasers, reflective lasers, bouncing beams and homing lasers.
The pods only appear after a certain alien has been shot. Though the normal aliens occasionally release balls, a red ball improves your bullets, a green ball gives you homing missiles, or improved homing missiles if you have them already, and a blue ball gives you a shield which looks as though it has just been ripped out of the arcade game Darius. The power of these features is displayed on a gauge at the bottom of the screen. Furthermore (Yes, there is more) a yellow ball acts as a smart bomb and a grey ball gives bonus points. Shoot the guardian with your beam weapon.
Stage two is where you realise the similarities to R-Type (c) 1988 Mediagenic, already clear now become overbearing. On this level the guardian is a cross between a crab and an M2 battle tank. Its only weak spot being its eye.
Stage three is a mixture of stage two and maze of pipe workings; features include aliens which fly on the screen behind you which double back to return at full pelt for a second crack. Also, there are a few tight gaps which need to be navigated. All this culminates with a half-brain, half-fish-like guardian. Batter it with the beam weapon (Sorry!).
The fourth level is set inside a computer, pitfalls include bits of circuitry and some very tight gaps; surviving this package takes a lot of practice so keep plugging. The finale of this gem is the reappearance of the old Nemesis guardian which neds to be destroyed in the same way.
Denaris isn't prettiest looking, or the toughest, shoot-'em-up but it is definitely one of the most playable, and it's jammed full of features. The graphics are somewhat clumsily presented at times, but as you get further into the game it doesn't seem to matter too much. A nice spacey tune accompanies all the zapping and banging noises, rounding off an altogether great package. Denaris seems to have been changed little from Katakis. It certainly still bears a more than passing resemblance to R-Type, but no-one's going to complain about that.