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Flash Games: Overkill Apache, The Last Stand, Luminara, The Way of the Exploding Stick, Sea of Fire, Elasticity

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Welcome to Friday. Welcome to Friday Flash Games.

Every Friday I present three or more games for you to play, each of which depends on the Adobe Flash Player and your web browser. I let you know about sound and music for each game, in case you are playing when you should be vewy quietly hunting wabbits. The beauty of depending on Flash is that all games work on Mac OS X, on Windows, and probably on Linux or any other environment that supports Flash. Will the iPhone — due next month — support Flash? I don't know, but if it does, there's a decent chance these games will work there, too. Which may be as good a reason as any to not support Flash on the iPhone, I suppose.

Overkill ApacheIn Overkill Apache, your objective is pretty simple: destroy everything that moves, and everything that doesn't. You're flying an Apache gunship, collecting ammunition that floats down via parachute (handy, that), along with mid-air repairs (really handy, that). All around you are enemy jets and helicopters, trucks, tanks, running soldiers, water towers, and more. Everything but the ground itself can be destroyed, and some of it shoots back.

Those tanks can be vicious when you don't have bombs, but when you have bombs, life is good. The bombs are powerful, destroying helicopters and jets as well as everything else. Some of the missiles are harder to aim, and the guns are feeble against some things. In theory, you need to keep track of how much ammo you have left. In practice, you fire everything you've got every time you hit the spacebar, so it really doesn't matter. You know what you're firing, so don't bother trying to hit low ground targets when you don't have bombs, for example.

The music starts before the game's main screen, but you can turn off all sound at any time. It's a nicely-polished, if simple, game, and the music is good.

The Last StandI promise, I'll include one game today that doesn't feature "destroy everything" as the main purpose of existence, but this is not that game. The Last Stand takes place in a world in which you're being overrun by zombies, and the only question is how many of them you can kill before they inevitably take you.

It's not all killing, though. Come daylight, there's also wall-repairing while waiting for night to fall again! Plus, searching for survivors or more weapons. You've got a limited number of daylight hours, which you split up between repair and search. One word of advice: repair is good.

Be sure to move around, as that's really your only way to aim, and you definitely need to set priorities when killing zombies. Don't despair — you will most certainly die, but you can always play again! There is sound from the opening game credits to the menu to the game itself, and while you can set the graphics quality from the game menu, you'll have to adjust the sound elsewhere.

LuminaraWe'll take a break from the realistic violence, and focus on Luminara, where you still want to destroy everything that moves, but "everything" in this case comprises colorful geometric shapes, so it's all in fun. You'll need to move with one hand and aim and shoot with the other, and don't get lost in the dizzying array of colorful particles!

There are eleven baddies, each a different color and shape, and each has a certain behavior (some are aggressive, others are skittish, and pink pac-man explodes into mini-pac-men). There are also some power-ups which make the game really interesting.

It's from John Cooney, creator of the Scribble! and Ball Revamped series, as well as the somewhat-similar Ellipsis, all previously features. Since it's from John Cooney, you can be assured that the game self-adjusts its quality based on the speed of your machine, and the sound doesn't start until you click "Start." After that, there's sound and music. I'm constantly amazed at what John Cooney can produce. Check it out!

That's a week's worth of games; should we stop now? No, let's keep going! After all, I promised you at least one non-destructive game.

Way of the Exploding StickThis isn't it. Instead, it's an oldie-but-goodie, The Way of the Exploding Stick. As the name suggests, this is a martial arts game. You're a stick figure, battling onrushing hordes of stick figures using your martial arts skills.

Specifically, you move with the arrow keys and use S, X, D, C, and V to fight. The splash screen explains how it works quite well, and practice will help. If you steadily head right, toward the "boss," the game isn't especially challenging. For me, the fun is in exploring how many different ways you can defeat someone. Grab two guys at once from behind and throw them? Check. Jump and deliver a mid-air roundhouse kick? Check. The gravity-defying scissor kick? Check.

You're the black stick figure, and the bad guys are all colorful. There is absolutely no sound but the sound of your keyboard as you type the same nine keys furiously.

Sea of FireSet aside some time for this one; it's a lot like crack. Sea of Fire is a real-time strategy war game, simplified for Flash and casual gaming. You can play as the good guys or the bad guys. I've spent far more time playing as the bad guys, because, well, why not?

You've got a budget and some space, and you must choose what to build to win the battle as part of an overall campaign. Barracks, to produce soldiers? Factories, to build tanks? Artillery, for defense? Some combination, usually. While ensuring that your own base isn't overrun, your goal is to defeat each soldier or vehicle the enemy sends against you, and then advance on their camp, destroying their buildings. At first this is pretty easy, but within a few battles you can find yourself fighting for so long that the game automatically removes pieces of both camps to try to break the impasse and accelerate the game! When it takes three tank factories, carefully timed, to overwhelm the enemy's pair of artillery, that's when the game is really addictive.

There are passwords for each level so that you can pick up where you left off. This means that for simplicity's sake, actual finances aren't carried over from level to level. Each new territory comes with a fresh infusion of cash, therefore, but you can't stop in the middle of a battle. If you start as the Temple of Snakes, you're fighting your way out from a central island. If you start as New Hope, you're fighting your way back onto the same map from one edge, attempting to reconquer territory previously lost to Temple of Snakes. Some of the benefits and drawbacks for each are spelled out in-game.

There is sound, including the repetitive screams of miniature dying soldiers, and that gets very old very quickly. You can turn the sound off from the Options menu. Please be warned, one can lose hours into this game, even if one is generally careful to not allow oneself to become addicted to games. Trust one!

ElasticityFinally, a non-violent game. Elasticity is a puzzle game with an interesting control mechanism. On each level (there are fifteen, though you play each level twice), your goal is to touch the red square. However, you're trapped in a little box, so you "grab" the ball (click and hold) and swing it back and forth and then let go at just the right moment. Only your movement within the small box matters, and the slightest unexpected twitch can send the ball in an expected direction, so it takes practice.

After you've finished all fifteen levels, you go through them again, only this time you have to collect a series of stars before the gray square turns red. You might have been able to get by once by luck, but the second time will generally require more skill. There is a little sound once you hit "Play" and music once you hit "Continue," but there's also a "Mute" button in the lower-right corner.

That's all for this week!

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  • http://desicritics.org Aaman

    Elasticity may not be violent, but is evidently rooted in a post-colonial slavery tradition:)