Seeing as the world is currently entrapped in some kind of llama drama (the short story being some llamas escaped somewhere and the news livestream of it briefly went viral), there seems literally no better time to look back at a certain game of my childhood: LLAMATRON: 2112.
LLAMATRON: 2112 (or simply ‘Llamatron’) was a shareware title by Jeff Minter of Llamasoft for the Atari ST computer, later ported to the Commodore Amiga and PC (DOS) – the latter being my play method; unsurprising as my very first video games as a child were DOS games. Heavily based on VizKids’ Robotron: 2084 (itself perhaps intended to be part of the Defender franchise) Llamatron is a two-dimensional shoot-’em-up, much like the more popular (and far more perfect) game Smash TV.
Fighting against peculiar looking faces, minotaur head, brains, burgers, telephones, plant pots, Coke cans and pretty much whatever else the developer fancied including, Llamatron follows the basic gameplay premise of early arena shooters. Being the first of its genre that I played, I adored it as a kid and still hold warm memories of it now. Nothing beat blasting away Coke cans after saving some goats which gave me power-ups.
Your aim, of course, is simply to defeat all the enemies on-screen before automatically entering the next wave and repeating the process. There was always a leaderboard for whoever had racked up the most points, but local leaderboards for PCs may be a bit outdated for some. It’s a very simple premise, but the game is fun all the same – or, rather, at least it was in the 90s. You may get some mild enjoyment out of it now (more-so if you find someone willing to play it in co-operative mode with you), but the loud, obnoxious sound effects and irritable light flashes may eventually tire you, so you may be best sticking with a classic like Smash TV – or giving a look at Pixel Prospector‘s great list of 93 free arena shooter games, many of which are classics in their own right.