If there’s one thing the classic arcade game Berzerk needed it was to be reimagined as neon-rhythm shooter. The classic arcade game put the player in a maze with a handful of robots and the object was, quite simply, to shoot to the exit. Being 1980 it’s not like the AI was particularly smart or very many robots could fit on the screen at once, but it was still hard enough to require a steady diet of quarters to get very far. Berzerk had a sequel, Frenzy, and then nothing. While “run through maze from top-down perspective shooting things” is fairly standard, the overall look and feel of Berzerk has been left behind in the early 80s, so with almost 40 years past maybe it’s time to see what else can be done with it. Rainbow Laser Disco Dungeon turns it into a musical shooter.
While there’s a bit of a plot, something about robots with a weakness to music having enslaved the Earth, the format is pure arcade. Rainbow Laser Disco Dungeon launched on Kickstarter today and has a nice demo to go with it, and the amount of lore necessary to jump in and have a good time shooting robots is basically zero. Starting off in an empty room, the only obvious things are two doors top and bottom plus an energetic soundtrack pumping in the background. The door up top leads to a selection of weapons, and once you start playing with them the musical aspect of the game becomes clear. Each weapon shoots at a specific tempo, with a sound effect designed to fit in nicely to the music. More than just shoot, pause, shoot, pause, a gun might have a rhythm of (shoot shoot, pause x6), while the other gun fires to a different beat. Bigger guns have slower, punchier tempos while fast ones tend to fill in the pew-pew notes. In the meantime the enemy robots are firing back, also synched to the music, all while the floors and walls are putting on a light show.
Rainbow Laser Disco Dungeon is running on Kickstarter as of today, and its demo is hosted over at itch.io. It’s already a lot of fun and with a little attention can grow into a unique little shooter that stands on its own while paying homage to a pair of near-forgotten arcade classics from the earliest days of popular videogaming. Head on over to Kickstarter and give it a look, and grab the demo while you’re at it for a nice evening’s robo-blasting.