'Dezaemon Kids!' (PlayStation Network)

PlayStation imports are a gamble sometimes.

On one end, you have such awesome releases as Capcom's "Mega Man" games or the underrated futuristic brawler "Cyberbots."

On the other, you have the man-centric shooter "Cho Aniki" (seriously, too many thongs) and some weirdo cooking game.

But once in awhile, you get a game that actually serves a purpose. "Dezaemon Kids!" does just that, not only giving you a variety of shoot-'em-ups to try, but also the ability to create your own.

Shoot-'em-ups - or "shmups," as hardcore fans like to call them - are side-scrolling or top-down affairs where, as a lone ship, you battle the odds using infinite bullets and, in some cases, a superbomb to clear the screen. "Gradius," "Raiden," "Radiant Silvergun" . . . you've probably seen these "bullet hell" shooters in arcades and on consoles and tablet devices. Well, "Dezaemon Kids!", which was originally released on the PlayStation in Japan, lets you see all the joys of this genre, while also giving you options to create your own.

The game features a quirky tutorial, with a green rabbit walking you through every step in a shmup's creation. This is probably the trickiest part of the game, as "Dezaemon" doesn't feature an English translation. Still, it's fairly easy to see which object is which, and place them however you choose, thus creating your own dream shooter. Want to have a honey badger taking out evil turtles? Here's your chance.

Now, keep in mind this was developed for the original PlayStation, so there are some limitations.

First, your game will look ancient, due to the '90s-style graphics. So, don't expect something along the lines of, say, "Cave's" contemporary beauties.

Second, even after you complete a shooter, there's no way to share it with your friends, outside of saving it to your local memory and doing it that way. In this day and age of data sharing, that may be disappointing to some.

But really, considering how old the game truly is, it remains remarkably fresh, and gives you plenty of freedom when it comes to creating your dream shmup. Just remember it's not an overnight process - it will take time.

If you're just in the mood to play a straight-up shooter, however, "Dezaemon" happily obliges. The game includes several shmup samples to choose from, ranging from a wasp shooting down evil foods to a witch delivering justice to diabolical birds and forest animals. They're silly, but give you an idea of the tools that are at hand with this game.

No, "Dezaemon Kids!" can't compare to other, more serious games of the genre, but that wasn't the point of its release. Monkeypaw Games wanted to celebrate the form in general, while giving you the option to create your own. And with that, it's well worth the $5.99 price. Especially when you're putting the finishing touches on "Panty Shooter." (Or whatever you want to call it.)

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Video Games: 'Dezaemon Kids!' (PlayStation Network)