Antecrypt – Beginners Guide

Quick Antecrypt guide to learn the basics of the game, and complete enemy table and description.

Gameplay Basics

Antecrypt is an apparently simple arena shooter that may look like a pure clone of Robotron: 2084 and/or Smash TV, but it’s actually much subtler and deeper than this. The game has four original elements:

  • Antecrypt isn’t a twin stick shooter, you can’t control the visor to shoot enemies: the visor actually moves by itself, bumping on walls exactly like a ball in a Breakout game. This means you have to move your character around the visor to aim. It’s a surprisingly original idea which may sound weird or irritating on paper, but proves to be brilliant in practice, creating many fresh game mechanics.
    To make the experience well balanced and interesting, there is also a battery mechanics: when you fire, it drains a battery, which you can recharge by holding fire while staying close to the visor. This creates a dilemma: you can choose to follow the visor around to change your aim and recharge your battery quickly (you’ll also be protected by your bombs, since you can throw them where the visor is), but the visor may go to dangerous areas and get you killed – or you can stay farther from the visor, which helps to keep a steadier aim and lets you free to zigzag around enemies and bullets, but your battery can be drained very fast and leave you defenceless. Choosing which tactics to use and when is the core of Antecrypt.
  • The “autonomous visor” mechanics is exploited by clever enemy behaviour: Antecrypt has ten different enemies, one mini-boss, and one end boss. They may look like standard twin stick shooter foes, but they all have interesting subtleties that you must learn to survive in hard or cryptic mode. We’ll get to that in the section further below.
  • On top of this, beating levels sometimes allows you to upgrade character properties: carrying extra bombs, making more damage with your weapon, having a bigger battery, expanding the recharge zone, etc. When this happens, you have the choice between two upgrades – you can’t later correct your choice, so be careful.
    In my opinion: POWR > ZONE > BATT > BOMB > VRAM > SCAN in normal mode. In hard or cryptic mode, BOMB and VRAM are a bit more important, you have to have at least one rank in both.
  • When it doesn’t allow you to improve your character, beating levels unlocks extra weapons or abilities: you can use as much abilities simultaneously in a level as ranks you have in VRAM, but after beating a level with some abilities, those get locked. To get them back, you have to beat the level again without them, which creates an interesting gameplay loop: when a level is too hard to beat without weapons/abilities, you can use some of them, then you’ll later upgrade your character, which will make earlier levels easier and allow you to get back weapons/abilities that you used there, to later use those abilities again in even harder levels.

As you can see, the game has much more depth than a simple Robotron: 2084 clone. The visor mechanics, properties and abilities are well explained in the game, but not enemy characteristics, reason why the next (and final) section is entirely devoted to them.

Enemy List and Description

Enemies in Antecrypt are interesting and challenging no matter if your battery is charged or not: they’re designed to be faced differently in either case.

Because of the basics of the game, you can actually stay drained for a long time and have to keep avoiding enemies without being able to shoot back, it’s part of the challenge.

  • 6QID: the 6QID is the most basic enemy in the game, slowly moving toward you and without much endurance, but it’s subtler than the grunts from Robotron: 2084 – they move in groups forming a long line, making it hard to go past them. It’s important to anticipate their line pattern to avoid being surrounded.
  • Mindsucker: those also move simply toward you, but they have more endurance than the 6QID, and they go much faster when your battery is full (they can go very fast). A good strategy when you see them is to fire immediately to drain your battery and slow them down. They’re very vulnerable to bombs.
  • Cyclop: Cyclops stick to walls, walking endlessly in circles and shooting bullets. They’re hard to see, hard to aim, and treacherous.
  • Canonhead: those also shoot bullets, but they can move freely in the arena, and shoot only horizontally or vertically. Important: they curl into a ball and stop shooting when you’re close to them, so getting near is actually a good defence strategy – they have more endurance when curled into a ball, though.
  • Spiderbot: those four-legged spiders attack in group – when they get in the arena, they move toward you and… stop. At first, they even flee when you approach them! But when their horde is numerous enough, they get very dangerous, surrounding you and getting more aggressive.
  • Polymorphic Vine: those flowers with one tentacle also move in group, like seaweed following the sea currents. Watch out: they can grab you with their tentacle, trying to get you closer to their flower to kill you. Stay away from the “currents” they follow.
  • Corruptor: those are living computer bugs, their main task is spreading on the arena to corrupt its floor tiles. A corrupted tile appears to be glitching, then reverts back to normal eventually. When you step on a glitched tile, you move slower, and all Corruptors suddenly stop what they were doing and head toward you, which can be a good opportunity to throw a bomb at them.
  • Ghost: ghosts look exactly like Pac-Man ghosts, and behave like Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 ghosts – they move slowly toward you until you try to damage them, then they bounce back, get angry, and move much quicker. They have more endurance when they’re calm than when they’re angry. They’re extremely annoying.
  • Shield Generator: probably the most obnoxious enemy, the Shield Generator cancels your fire if you’re too close to it. Thankfully, they use a battery with limited energy: the perimeter of their shield gets smaller the more it’s used. They stand still when the shield is on. When the shield is finally cancelled, they run amok, spiralling and bouncing in the arena and firing bullets. They’re very vulnerable to bombs.
  • Beetle: by default, beetles walk around slowly wings closed, minding their own business, but if you get too far from them, they spread their wings and fly quickly toward you. They’re more vulnerable when they fly. It can be a good strategy to stay in the centre of the arena so they never spread their wings.
  • Giant 6QID: this mini-boss fires bullets and lays 6QID eggs. Be careful: just after it lays its eggs, it charges quickly toward you.
  • Queen: I won’t spoil this end boss, but remember that bombs are very useful against shields.
Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13569 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

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