Update: Apparently, version 1.3.0 of Crimsonland is no longer available, and future versions are to be released as commercial software. I don't have any more details at the moment.


An interesting shoot 'em up freeware computer game by 10tons Entertainment. In this game, the player’s character is thrust into a hopeless situation. Stranded on a distant, barren world with ravenous alien creatures closing in on all sides, death is inevitable. This is Crimsonland, a space marine's losing battle for survival. The object of the game is not to escape with your life, but simply to stay alive and killing for as long as possible before succumbing to the vicious hordes. A high score table records the player's 100 best attempts for each of the two game modes. Two players may also play cooperatively, but must do so together on one computer. The game version reviewed for this writeup was 1.3.0.

Career Mode: In this game mode, the attacking aliens come slowly at first, but increase as the player progresses. For each alien killed, the player gains experience based on how tough a creature was slain. When enough experience points are gained, the player levels up and may select a perk from a random set of five offered. In this mode, the player begins with a pistol, but may select from other weapons that are sometimes dropped when an alien is killed. Items are also dropped randomly by dying aliens. Scoring in this mode is based on the amount of experience a player accumulates.

Survival Mode: This mode is very simplistic, but also extremely difficult. The aliens rush into the playing area in droves, frequently surrounding the player and cutting off escape. In this mode, players are given an auto rifle to fight with, but may not gather improved weaponry. Items and perks are also barred from play. Scoring in this mode is based on the number of seconds a player’s character remains alive.

Enemies: The enemies in Crimsonland aren’t very unusual. They basically run to the player and start biting. There are two different shapes, which I call "frog" and "praying mantis", although they don’t have actual names. A variety of colors may be seen. In Career Mode, the colored aliens generally award more experience than the typical beige ones. The size of the enemies ranges from tiny parasites to huge, hulking monsters.

Weapons: In Career Mode, a number of different weapons can be found. Only one weapon may be carried at a time. There are some rather serious imbalances in the weapons system.

  • Pistol - Not all that bad really, except that it’s too slow to fend off large numbers of enemies.
  • Auto rifle - This weapon has a fast rate of fire but isn’t very accurate.
  • High RPM rifle - Faster and more accurate than the auto rifle, but otherwise similar. A good weapon.
  • Mean Minigun - Huge clip, insane rate of fire, and a long reloading time. This gun is so heavy that a player carrying it moves very slowly.
  • Plasma Rifle - Fires plasma balls. It's actually not that much better than the pistol.
  • Tri-Plasma Rifle - A lot like the plasma rifle, but it fires a spread of three plasma shots. It also has a slower firing rate. It's not all that good.
  • Plasma Minigun - This gun uses rapid fire plasma bullets. One of the best weapons in the game.
  • Plasma Shotgun - The plasma shotgun would be really effective except that it has a severe drawback. The reload time is so long that you’re likely to be torn to bits while you try to reload the thing.
  • Rockets - These are typical rockets. Fire them, and they explode where they hit, causing damage to aliens nearby the explosion.
  • Seeker Rockets - The seeker rockets home in on aliens, but they don’t have the splash damage benefit. Also, their tracking is rather sluggish, often making them circle around uselessly.
  • Shotgun - Your typical shotgun. One of the best weapons in the game.
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun - A slower, stronger version of the shotgun, with a greater spread. Also one of the best weapons in the game.
  • Flamethrower - This weapon looks good, but it isn’t. It puffs clouds of flame at your enemies, burning them. Probably the worst weapon in the game.
  • Blowtorch - Similar to the flamethrower, but actually better. It kills quickly but has a very short range. Not a very good weapon.
  • Gauss Rifle - Basically a railgun. Not all that much better than the pistol, aside from its strength and piercing capability.
  • Secret Weapons - Who knows. The readme indicates that there are two secret weapons to be found. I've heard rumors that you can get a weapon called Plague Gun by hacking the game with a trainer. As far as I know, the real method for obtaining either of the secret weapons is still unknown.

Powerups: There are 4 different powerups that appear in Career Mode. Only one weapon or powerup appears at a time.

  • Bomb - Unleashes a large blast, causing serious injury to any alien hit by it.
  • Freeze - All aliens freeze solid for a few seconds, allowing you time to kill them without being attacked.
  • Force Field - Makes you invulnerable for a few seconds.
  • Piercing Fire Bullets - Temporarily gives you stronger bullets that pierce enemies and keep going. Doesn’t work with the Gauss Rifle, Blowtorch, Flamethrower, Seeker Rockets, or Rockets.

Perks: When you gain a level up in Career Mode, you may select a perk to enhance your character from a list of 5. Some of them have ugly drawbacks so choose wisely.

  • Sharpshooter - Gives you a laser sighting and makes some weapons more accurate. However, it slows down the firing rate a little.
  • Fastloader - Speeds up the rate at which you reload your weapon.
  • Anxious Loader - Hit the fire button rapidly to speed up reloading.
  • Fastshot - Increases your firing rate.
  • Ammo Maniac - Increases the maximum ammo of your clips.
  • Lean Mean Exp Machine - Gain experience just by being alive.
  • Doctor - Allows you to read an enemy's health by aiming directly at it. You also deal more damage.
  • Perk Expert - Gives you an extra two choices each time you’re offered perks.
  • Reflex Boosted - Slows everything down so you have more time to react. Note well, everything slows down, not just your enemies.
  • Evil Eye - Immobilize enemies by aiming directly at them.
  • Spontaneously Combusteous - Burn enemies by aiming directly at them.
  • Plaguebearer - Infect aliens with a lethal disease when they bite you. However, they become immune eventually.
  • Radioactive - Enemies that are near to you take a bit of damage.
  • Jinxed - Periodically damages a random creature on the board. Sometimes you damage yourself.
  • Long Distance Runner - Stay moving to gain a speed boost. This is negated if you’re using the Mean Minigun.
  • Berserk Attack - Randomly go nuts and attack with a fast auto rifle.
  • Final Revenge - Gives you a bomb that explodes when you die, possibly giving you a few last kills.
  • Almost Invisible Man - Periodically become partially invisible, kind of like the blur sphere in Doom. It’s nearly useless.
  • Instant Winner - Gain 2500 experience points immediately.
  • Infernal Contract - Trade most of your health to be awarded three perks immediately.
  • Grim Deal - You gain 6667 experience, then die instantly.
  • Secret Perk - Rumor has it that by using a trainer to hack the game, a perk called Bloody Mess appears. The readme says nothing about this. As far as I know, the real way to get Bloody Mess, if it exists, is still unknown.

Codes: There are two known codes in Crimsonland. Neither of them are really cheats.

  • On the title screen, hold down CTRL and type ASSEMBLY . This makes a logo appear over the menu that does nothing more than look neat.
  • On the title screen, hold down CTRL and type LEVELS . This unlocks a game mode called Level Test where you can play some pre-designed maps. They are rather lame though.

1. The sawed-off shotgun is written as "sewed-off shotgun" in the game. I think it’s safe to assume this is a mistake.
2. Spontaneously Combusteous - this is how it’s written in the game.
3. The rumors are just that - rumors. Don’t take them as gospel truth.

In-game information
Crimsonland readme file
10tons Forum Rumors

Crimsonland (v1.9.3 retail update)

Platform: PC downloadable from http://crimsonland.reflexive.com/crimsonland/
Developer: 10tons.org
Publisher: Reflexive Entertainment
ESRB: Mature
Date of Release: Continuing, but June 2003 for this version

As of April 2003, Crimsonland is a leading title in Reflexive Entertainment's lineup, retailing for 20 USD. With corporate sponsorship comes a slew of changes, I would say for the better. The menus are streamlined and slick, you can purchase the game right from the demo (as long as you're connected to the intarweb and have some plastic, and there's a host of gameplay changes. This is version 1.9.3.

Career mode became Survival Mode - this is the mode where you start off with a few, slow monsters and a pistol, and the game gradually ramps up from there. New monsters have been introduced with their own behaviors, and they come at you in something resembling waves, based on their own behavior pattern. My survival scores are counted in minutes. Following the format of the write-up above:
  • Aliens - these appear to have a host of arms and legs and protrusions, and steadily shamble in your direction. Their progress may be described as inexorable, and they are generally a pasty white. There's a variant of aliens which come in swarms, fast-moving but small, more vulnerable and usually a different color.
  • Zombies - groaning undead of varying size, their progress is the slowest and may be described as lurching. They come in all colors but predominantly a pasty white and are fairly tough. A zombie boss (very large zombie) takes probably the most hits before going down.
  • Lizards - quick small enemies with some degree of randomness in their movement. Will pause, change direction, maneuver around you to cut you off (player movement prediction). Not very durable, and usually do not come in larger sizes at all - but sometimes swarm. Their movement is skittering.
  • Spiders - ranging from medium to huge, these insects make good targets as their eight legs make their hitbox larger than just about any other monster's. They move in a jerky manner; while their movement is fast, they sometimes pause completely.

Survival is now called Rush, and remains largely the same as before retail. My good survival time is a little under a minute.

A new mode called Quests has been added. There are 4 sets of 10 quests each, and they are winnable scenarios the completion of which unlocks a new perk, bonus, or weapon. These are mostly assorted rushes, but a few stand out in that you have to think about them to survive. Notables include a level in which you receive a Gauss Rifle to start with and have to stand in place while monsters spawn radially around you - lined up for an instakill shot. Speed and mousing precision is of the essence. Another notable level includes an Invaders like setup with a swarm under the control of a herder, moving slowly towards you - if you kill the herder the swarm is cut loose, overwhelming you in seconds. Thus, precision and fast walking is required so that the herder is clear of your line of fire at all times - he moves faster and faster the longer he lives, too, drawing the swarm after him. Obviously, more perks, more bonuses and more weapons have been added to this version. The Assault Rifle replaced the Auto-Rifle. The Submachine gun replaced the High RPM Rifle, although it is less accurate, not more, than the AR. Again, following the above writeup but withholding the opinions on weapon efficacy (as I don't agree with some of the above - except the flamethrower: it is truly dismal):


  • Rocket minigun - Fires a string of dumb missiles, explosion not as big as the launcher.
  • Jackhammer - Uber rapid fire shotgun, with decent spread (somewhere between sawed off and regular shotguns) but less force. Takes a noticeable while to reload.
  • Pulse Rifle - With an ululating shriek, fires off waves of green force. Firerate that of a submachine gun, force is weaker but has 3 interesting properties. First, the waves get larger the farther they go. Second, the waves push monsters back a little. Third, there is no reload time. Zero, zip.
  • Ion Rifle - Fires slow bolts of electricity; upon hitting a monster, they split and hit nearby monsters, although with weaker force. Note: this is not the Splitter Gun, although a similar effect.
  • Ion Minigun - Fires many fast bolts of electricity, but their split/spread is very weak.
  • Ion Cannon - Fewer bolts, more oomph per bolt.


These are all either one-time, or limited duration.
  • Score-related - You can now snag an instant 500 point bonus, 1000 point bonus, or a 2x experience bonus which lasts for a limited time.
  • Fireburst - From the location of the pickup, a spread of fire bullets goes out, radially.
  • Speed up - You can run faster.
  • Weapon power-up - Your weapon fires faster. Note: awesome to combo with fire bullets!
  • Health - Gives you a small boost to your health bar.
  • Shock Chain - Gmits a bolt of electricity which bounces off monsters, usually killing them. Can travel around the screen numerous times, looking for monsters.
  • Energizer - Monsters will run away from you for a while. Very rare.


Some of these have been changed from above, so forgive the replication. Perks in Perk / Perk format mean that the first is a prerequisite to the second, and the second is a stronger version of the first. Most perks are permanent changes to your character, but a few can be picked over and over again for a one-time effect.
  • Berserk Attack - Removed.
  • Almost Invisible Man - Removed.
  • Spontaneously Combusteous - Name changed to Pyromaniac.
  • Grim Deal - You now get 18% experience more instead.
  • Fatal Lottery - 50/50 chance of dying or getting 10k points.
  • Perk Expert / Perk Master - Adds one perk to your choices. The second level adds another.
  • Bloody Mess / Quick Learner - The bloodier the screen, the higher the experience.
  • Random Weapon - Here's a weapon. no questions asked. Multipickable.
  • Alternate Weapon - You can carry a second weapon, at a small cost of speed. Use the reload button to switch weapons.
  • Pyromaniac - Your fire-based weapons become stronger.
  • Uranium Filled Bullets - Your shots do more damage. I'm not sure if this applies to everything, but I assume everything with 'bullets', i.e. not flamethrower or blowtorch. Not sure about pulse gun, as it's hard to judge this quantitively.
  • Poison Bullets - Bullets deal more damage.
  • Barrel Greaser - Your shots travel visibly faster, thus doing more damage. As above, not sure which all weapons this applies to.
  • Regression Bullets - Firing on empty costs you experience, but reload time is reduced greatly.
  • Ammunition Within - There is no pause while you reload - instead, ammo is taken away from your health if you fire on empty.
  • Telekinetic - Pick up powerups just by aiming at them for a short while.
  • Bonus Economist - Your timed bonuses last 50% longer.
  • Bonus Magnet - Bonuses appear closer to you, and more often.
  • Regeneration / More Regeneration - Self Explanatory.
  • Mr. Melee - Monsters that get near you will die by your hands.
  • Veins of Poison / Toxic Avenger - Monsters biting you, die.
  • Reflex boosted - The action slows down for you by 10%.
  • Thick skinned - Take 2/3 of the damage from monsters, but it costs you 1/3 of your life right now.
  • Unstoppable - Monsters biting you doesn't slow you down (usually does).
  • Dodge / Ninja - You have a chance to avoid hits from monsters.
  • Highlander - You are immortal. Well, almost. Actually monsters have a 10% chance of killing you instantly - rest of the time they do no damage.
  • Hot Tempered - You occasionally emit a sparse radial blast.
  • Monster Vision - Monsters emit a faint glow for you. Useful on a screen crowded with corpses.
  • Breathing Room - Trade 2/3 of your health for the death of every single critter on-screen. You do not get the experience. Multipickable.


Only a few of these are unconfirmed personally, but confirmed numerous times by forumers and Official Unofficial faqs. These are all from the Survival mode unless indicated otherwise.
  • Blade-gun - Kill a monster with one shot. Go stand in its death-spot and do not fire until your health is at about 1/4. Then kill each monster that has taken a bite out of you, still without moving. Unconfirmed
  • Shrinkifier 5000 - Survive for 1 minute without taking damage or shooting anything.
  • Splitter - Gained when you complete all levels in hardcore mode. Unconfirmed
  • Alien Zoo Keeper game - View the credits. Click each line that contains at least one "o". When the message "you can stop watching now" passes, keep waiting (don't forget to click it). There will be one more line to click, and you should have a new button in the menu.
  • Typ'o'shooter - Defeat all quests, unlock a game where monsters come to you with words over their heads. Type the word to shoot in the direction of the monster with an instakill shotgun.


While the community isn't very big, or strong, the built-in score uploader/list gives you instant access to the rest of the Crimsonland playing world. It's very well done, with stats such as player's name, survival time, final experience, and weapon used. It can be a nice teaser to a new player to see weapons and scores to boggle the mind. The fact that the community is not that big only means you'll see some names repeatedly, and have a chance to become known easily.
Playing experience
Crimsonland forums
The badly formatted and slightly dated, but still informative Bloody Footsteps Fansite: http://gibbersoft.illicitdev.net/blood

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