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