Shoot First

By: ithamore

On: July 9th, 2010

Shoot First

Shoot First, the latest game from Beau Blyth (aka Tenkopants), is the offspring of a run-n-gun and a roguelike. It reminds me much of my experiences of learning how to play Spelunky and Xong, and it’s addictive. I’ve been playing it everyday after reading about it on the IndieGames Blog.

Exploring the floors of Shoot First is the core of the game. You can take a careful, attentive approach or take a gun-blazing, death-dodging approach to get to the exit as quickly as possible or to fully explore a floor. Its gameplay has nice openness.

To help you get further into the game than your gun assortment and skills alone can provide, there are chest that can be shot open to reveal helpful equipment, keys to unlock closed exits, AI friends to fight along your side, and ways of healing (potions, leveling up, rescued loves, and fountains of youth). It can also be a 2-player, co-op game to help balance out the challenge.

The controls are customizable, but the configuration isn’t saved. There is too much slide to the characters’ momentum, and some have complained about traps and rare bugs with enemy placement. However, Shoot First still provides a great experience with wonderful chiptunes to match it.

Update: A windowed version is available for those who had issues with the fullscreen version.

  • Frabble

    Is there any way to force the game into windowed mode?
    I can't play because i can only see the top left quarter of the game area at the bottom right of my monitor.

  • Fedeagno

    Is there a way to disable the “grainy” effect? It really bogs down my machine because it goes at normal speed during the key configuration.

  • Gnome

    Ooh, seems great. Downloading now!

  • Biggles Bristol

    Great idea, horrible execution… massive slowdown on my comp & there's not nearly enough variety… plus the boulder traps get pretty tired pretty fast. Hopefully this is just an early version, as I'd love to see them run with this idea, expand upon it and give it the polish it deserves.

  • erico

    Second here on a way to disable pos effects filters(scanlines etc) it slows my old machine a looot, no problems with a new one, but the old is the one a play, please please! On another hand, it´s an excellent game, reminds me dearly of dungeon master at the msx computer. Outstanding job, congratulations!

  • Vanguard

    Works fine for me. I think it's a lot of fun.

  • uxtull

    It's quite good, while the spikes hitbox feel inaccurate, and the gamepad support don't work for me (just as it was in Action Fist!).

  • Noel

    Really fun! Made it to Floor 7 after many attempts, where a “hunter” hunted me down and killed me.

  • Maxer

    No offense, but this post could use some editing…. The game is cool, though! Good find.

  • anonymous

    One thing I hate about gameMaker games is when they don't make it immediately apparent how to make the game into window mode. I'm probably in a minority but I hate playing stuff in fullscreen when I'm just checking something out. I think all games that default in fullscreen should immediately, on the start up screen, list the command for disabling fullscreen. Or better yet, include two .exe-files, one for fullscreen and one for windowed mode. This game didn't even list a command in the read me.txt file…

  • Jr. Jellybeans

    I liked it a lot. I wish it was available on Flash so that I didn't have to download anything.
    But, it was simple, fast paced, and well done.

  • xot

    I feel the same and came here to piss and moan about that specifically. Game Maker's shit fullscreen code won't let me play this game on my dual monitor setup. Bummer. Now I have to hack it into submission.

    Authors, please do not default to full screen, especially with Game Maker. Want chunk-fugly pixels in your game? Use ChevyRay's scaling system and put your game in a window with a full-screen option.

  • Paul Villapiano

    Has anyone tried experimenting with the 2-player mode yet? There's a fun exploit you can pull off by configuring the controls the right way. ;)

  • MisterX

    If you use a gamepad with two analog sticks and get it to work with Shoot First, you can use one stick for aiming. I liked that much better than the keyboard or keyboard+mouse controls.

  • Paul Villapiano

    That version error I made in the second paragraph while I was switching the article's style was quite embarrassing.

    The “to/too” mistake, however, is something I should have caught 20 years ago.

  • anonymous

    I didn't like the keyboard for shooting either, don't get why mouse isn't supported as well…

  • MisterX

    The mouse is supported. In the control configuration, you just have to click a mouse button instead of a keyboard button.
    I still found that using the mouse is a bit uncomfortable, as you can freely move the mouse cursor, but aiming actually still only works in 8 directions.

  • xot

    Oh man, dual-stick is pretty great. Thanks for posting that.

  • Mike Hawk

    awesome, some dick weed has hacked the game and ruined the scoreboards just as I have a great run that would have made it into the bottom of the top all-time list.

    Great game though. The spelunky comparisons dead on as well. I would like to see some more guns added though, There are a lot of items, but from best I can tell only the 5 weapons (pistol, shotgun, rapid fire, dual shot, and assassin)

  • H311

    Can you play as Han Solo?

  • Raigan

    argh, DAMN IT.. i just got a 10k highscore yesterday and now the list is hacked :(

  • Mike Hawk


    At least until the special edition comes out and the story is re-imagined, the title will have to be changed to “Shoot Second”

  • Sdfsdfsdf

    the list always been hacked, some people just have the guts to admit it and other are just stuid to put some crazy ass score.

  • xot

    If you find a way to start this Game Maker game with the Debugger enabled, you can select Tools > Execute Code… from the debugger menu and enter each of the follow commands to put the game in a scalable window.


    The commands can be entered on a single line as long as they are each separated by a semicolon. Enabling the GM Debugger is a contentious issue, so I'll leave that for you to discover with your favorite search engine.

  • savethedinosaurs

    Great job, Beau. Co-op mode is fun especially with controllers.

  • James

    Same here.

  • James

    It's a lot of fun in parts, but the long hallways on some levels are fairly tedious. They may seem longer to me due to some slowdown because of the scanline effect.

    The difficulty (and hence, the fun) starts picking up by about level 6, but it takes too long to get there. Replayability is hurt because I don't want to trudge through the intro levels to get to the good part.

  • lkjadshlkjfhkjldafs

    Pain in the ass to play, doesn't use my full screen.

  • Stij

    Awesome game… I love “roguelike fusion” games like this and Spelunky. Taking the randomly generated levels and permadeath of a roguelike game and applying them to genres other then RPGs is a great idea. There are a few things that bug me, though:

    1. TRAAAAAAAAAAAAPS. You get barely any warning when they appear, and some of them do a lot of damage. Really aggravating. I like hard games, but not unfair games.

    2. Admittedly, I haven't gotten past floor 6, but there doesn't seem to be a huge variety of weapons and equipment. Maybe I just haven't seen them all, though.

    3. Is it just me, or does leveling up your weapon do nothing? I got one of mine up to level 7 or so, and there didn't seem to be any difference at all.

  • Excellentsniffingnose

    Seems like the link to the Windowed version is down ….

  • Raigan

    it's a typo, go to

    (the “t” in first was missing from the link)

  • Rambopvp

    I think I broke a rib laughing at this.

  • Frabble

    I found a tool that lets me enable debug mode.
    Thankyou! :)

    Seems kind of silly that i should have to do this though. A simple “Windowed” option would be much easier!

  • Paul Villapiano

    There finally is a windowed version that can downloaded from the site.

  • Bridget

    Superb game, I love the heck outta it. Roguelikes and shmups are my 2 favorite genres, and I've played a ton of each, and this is an amazing combination of the two genres.

    I actually think the game could be a bit HARDER than it is. I, for one, dont have any problems with the number of traps in the game… it's a Roguelike, it should be constant, surprising danger… but I actually think some of them dont do enough damage. If you've got some armor, the laser traps barely even move the health bar when they hit you, making them not a threat.

    Dont tone down the traps though, is what I say. They keep things interesting. Adding in a selection of difficulty levels might be a good idea, though, for those that are having a tough time with it.

    I've gotten as far as level 16, myself, which is around where I usually get when I have a go at this. I think I'm at the very bottom of the “all time” scoreboard right now.

  • Darkebrz

    i am so confused. How do I get past the first level :(

  • Lord Nightmare

    The current version (or the version as of 12 hours ago or so, with fullscreen/windowed switch added) has a bug that level exist don't appear on the level, but do appear on the map. pretend they're invisible and only show up on radar. Look for the green dot. This should be fixed soon.

  • Lord Nightmare

    It's been fixed as of the 7-22-10 12:03AM build.

  • Lord Nightmare

    New build out: 1.1 (12PM 7/22/10)
    * Fixes player 2 controls not saving
    * adds version number (1.1)
    Yes, the bigger, meaner green monsters on level 1 (with longer grabber hands) is a feature, not a bug; the old ones were just cannon fodder.

  • Tak

    Best ever!!!!! What a delicious game!!! What about online mode, so that two player could also have mouseaim.

  • Guest

    though i agree with the fact that the game is supposed to be difficult, most of the time the boulder traps are actually impossible for the player to dodge regardless of their level of skill at the game. i think a game should be difficult by testing the players' skill and not by throwing in undodgable (is that a word?) traps. the boulder traps really are my only problem with it though haha

  • Syrion

    Well, one could say that it's still a test of skill, as you are unlikely to get killed by boulders alone, so you need to be more careful in fights to have enough health left for being crushed by boulders :D And, maybe you're even lucky enough to find those “Boots of outrunning boulders”.

    I agree, though, there shouldn't be any unavoidable traps like this.

  • Ithamore

    The boulders can be dodged. Don't hurry through corridors and you can usually exit a corridor before the boulder reach you almost every time. It's a matter of making the character walk through a corridor instead of how it runs by default, since the trap is triggered before you see the boulder. “Walking” gives you enough time and space to see the boulder as it falls as opposed to careless and unwittingly running toward its decent. With the speed boots you can even run under them, but I've only done that once.