President Roosevelt has been kidnapped, a steam machine from the past has returned, and agents are turning into weird steam punk zombies! And it’s up to you to save it all! Beep Games and Tripetoy’s Bartlow’s Dread Machine is an old tiny arcade rail shooter brought back to live and made two player co-op!
Very few of us are old enough to remember the old shooter arcade game where you would shoot at targets that popped up in front of you along a rail – with a real gun to boot! Maybe you seen them at carnivals? Either way, Beep Games along with Tripetoy brought it alive on the PC for you and amped it up a bit. You can pick between famous characters like Annie Oakley and Nikoli Tesla. As the character you move along a rail with the arrow or WASD keys and shoot at different villians with the mouse. Enemies like to come at you from all angles around the rails and sometimes even pop out from shrubs and doorways. Enemies start out simply swinging their arms at you but eventually upgrade to weapons and other shootable things. I highly recommend moving rather than standing still when shooting to avoid being beaten up by the swinging arm enemies. You can also click the right mouse button to deflect bullets which is very helpful. There are difficulty levels as well, but i felt like easy was pretty hard on its own. Anyway try the other levels if you want a REAL challenge!
Bartlow’s Dread Machine can also be played two player couch co-op! Meaning that you can play it with the person next to you rather than having to be online. I miss the old co-op couch games don’t you? The levels vary a bit too as you move on, moving from side view to top down, and even to the real old timey shooting where the targets are in front of you as you shoot. You also eventually switch from shooting to flying a plane and navigating a boat as well – while shooting.
As you kill the deranged agents, they drop money bags which you have to zoom around and collect, while still be attacked by other enemies. They disappear as well so it can at times be rather difficult to collect the bags in time. There are also special places on the board to get more ammo, and health, which you will need since both run out fast! Checkpoints are scattered about as well which are real nice for when you kick the bucket. Moving around on the rails takes getting use to as it can be kinda tricky to go into the middle rails, the character tends to zoom past it instead of stop at the intersection. Fortunately you only have to move past items and checkpoints to activate them.
Once you manage to collect all the monies, you can use it to buy new stuff! There are new weapons, new clothes and costumes, and even new hats! You can also buy some extra bullets and healing items that can be used once by hitting the middle mouse button.
I loved the old fashion style shooting action and the fact that you can buy new gear and weapons. Also the cute tin look of the characters added to the old arcade look. But the moving around was a bit annoying and took a while to get used to, especially having to zoom after money before it disappeared. I give it 3 ½ outta 5 baby dragons.
Bartlow’s Dread Machine is out now and available on steam for only $14.99! You can check out more info here Steam. Now go and save Roosevelt!