HYDORAH / Locomalito / PC
Hydorah is another loving tribute to 80s/90s arcade games from Locomalito. This time out it's in the general mold of space shooters from around the turn of those two decades, mostly Gradius but a little taste of elements of a few other titles.
As with other Locomalito titles you can expect rock-solid gameplay, a lot of polish and attention to the small details, along with a kickin' era-appropriate soundtrack by Gryzor87 (perfectly named for this task). But you can also expect punishing difficulty. You get few lives, death takes a significant chunk out of your power-ups, and while you can save between levels you're only allowed five saves over the course of the whole game (which covers at least a dozen levels). As many levels take you through multiple hard boss battles without a break, saving judiciously is key and using one in the wrong spot can kill your progress and send you all the way back to the beginning.
I love everything about Hydorah except for the ultra-hardcore nature, but that alone is enough to make you give up on it before long. It is faithful to the style of the super-hard arcade games of the time, though, which I guess is what Locomalito was going for. As well-executed and well-polished as it is, it's probably only for really hardcore sh'mup fans, but they'll love it.
* The Making of Hydorah
(WARNING: A Large .PDF Approaches)