88 - Zanac Neo (Playstation)

A rather unsung gem in the realm of great shmups. Zanac Neo was Compiles last hurrah, but what a send-off it was. Anyone who's played Zanac or Aleste or most other Compile shmups will know the score as far as gameplay goes (they never strayed too far from their particular template). What Neo does is take all that and polish it to perfection. The action moves incredibly fast, and this is a game more about reflexes and pure instinct than memorization and bullet patterns.

Having said that though, it is rather easy. Extra lives stack up throughout the game and only really start to dwindle during the last stage and boss. Grabbing hold of one of the many available orange spheres grants a couple of seconds of invincibility which helps you through the hairier situations. In the end though it's just incredibly good fun to play. It's a pure arcade blaster with no regard for scenery, score systems or any of the things that a lot of modern shmups get hung up on. It's literally a blast.

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