Captain Comic  - Dann
Director: Michael Denio
This was a fun title from back in the shareware era. When sidescrollers ruled, Captain Comic helped pioneer the PC implementation of the genre.
The game is simplistic. Jump, dodge, and shoot your way through several zones and collect a few items. No bosses, no characters to meet, just the simple goal. In order to assist you in your goal you will come across some items that will give you enhanced abilities. Off the bat you find cans of Blastola Cola, giving you the ability to fire small balls of energy. As you collect more of these cans, you can fire more in quick succession. Later on you will find a literal corkscrew that makes the energy spiral so you can get the floor dwelling enemies. Other items include boots which give you more lift, a lantern, and a teleport wand.
The treasures you need to find are gems, gold coins, and a royal crown. These can be found in any order, but you will most likely come across them sequentially in your semi-linear path. I say semi-linear because while each 'world' has several zones, there are doors around that link to different places. However despite the fact that you can enter these levels, they will usually require an item that otherwise prevents you from getting too far. The castle is dark and needs the lantern, others have barriers or ledges that require the warp wand, or to enter from another point via a different door.
This limited freedom did confuse me quite a bit back when I first played it. I found a glitch when if you held 'jump' as you entered a door, you'd fly up to the top of the screen. It was a touchy procedure. Let go too fast, and you'd fall back down and be no better off. Hold it too long and you'd rocket off the screen and die instantly. Holding it for about a second or so, you could let go, and then press jump to fly back up again. This allowed you to basically reverse jump using the top part of the screen. Holding it too long still would rocket you off the screen, so it took some practice. Using this glitch, I was able to get halfway through a few of the dead-end levels until I ran into some barrier or place the jumping glitch didn't have the control to navigate.
I theorized that the warp wand might let me get to placed that I needed to go, but I couldn't figure out how to use it. I probably should have looked at the key binding screen, but I didn't. These impossible barriers aside, the legit ones often proved too difficult for me. On the moon base, there was a sign that stated it led to Earth. Playing the game now, it stats the main planet is Tambi, but I honestly remember it saying Earth before. A memory glitch after all these years or a revisional change? I don't know. Anyway I could never get there, and I always wondered what was behind that door. After getting past it finally using the unlimited lives hack, I found it brought me back to the place I was a few levels back. Thus somewhat of a letdown.
The enemies are a bit of a pain. They're all the same as far as the damage they do and can take. One hit takes two shield bars, and all can be destroyed by one blast. Their motion is what really is annoying. They zig-zag around and are difficult to accurately hit with an energy ball. As you get more and have the corkscrew powerup, it becomes easier, but only minorly as they increase in numbers. Enemy types vary. At first you encounter blue birds that fly randomly, then red ones that fly at you. Later you get bugs and wasps. After that, it gets weird and you end up fighting space pollen, beach balls and atoms. It doesn't have to make much sense, but at least atoms are sort of spacey/sci-fi, while beach balls just strike me as a bit off. The gaps in the floors are also a hazard since your movement isn't exact.
Despite the difficulty, I still played this game forever, since there wasn't a whole lot of option at the time. This pre-dated Keen, so I only had this and the Saddam Hussein game. I even had dreams about it, and got hints that way. While true in the end, they didn't help me much at the time. It's a nice throwback game, and I'd recommend it for some retro fun.