The Daily Click ::. Downloads ::. Review
"Great! A return to the good old platformy Apogee days", I thought, while downloading the 6.3MB file over my fast connection provided by the University (gloat, gloat).
The game starts with a disturbing voice sample, and a launcher where you configure the options - very considerate for people with monitors such as mine who go off and sulk if they're asked to do anything complex, like running in 320x200 mode. This launcher is cleverly done, linking to the Readme files provided with the game, but there's one bit where there's too much text for the window and the icons (? and !) could have been explained better. I avoided the VRAM option in case it caused my computer to implode (it says it's NOT recommended, and that's reason enough), and started it in Windowed mode.
The first screen asks you to choose which language you want to play in, by... er... shooting one soldier's head off. Yes. There follows a scene warning of the violence in the game (wouldn't it have been better to put that before the language selection? Still, doesn't bother me.)
Even the main menu is done impressively in this game. Remember the Command and Conquer installer? This almost rivals it for the quality of the presentation. After exploring the menus for a while, where I learned that the game provides an extensive amount of options (fully customisable controls, transparency on/off, you can even change the object limit!) I finally got on to the main game.
After a well presented tutorial, you get a chance to get a feel for the controls. The engine is a custom one, and very good it is too - no jump slowdown, no left/right speedup, and jump height is variable, though this feels a little strange on my laptop's keyboard.
The graphics remind me of Zeb, one of the games that comes with GFactory, in their cartoony violent sort of style. The soldiers are certainly very 'inspired' by it. As for the game mechanics, they're more like Contra on the MSX, with you being able to shoot in all directions.
It's almost disturbingly good fun to play. Basically you have to make your way along the level, shooting everything that moves and some things that don't, while generic fighting music plays in the background. Soldiers blow apart, run away with half their heads missing and fall out of the screen towards the viewer. Buildings explode, sending more soldiers flying. There are some great set-piece moments such as a fight against a tank and, rather bizarrely, being chased down a flight of stairs by a piano.
If there's a flaw it's that it's very difficult - you rely on your continues a lot to get through the game, and it's often the case that you're surrounded on all sides by soldiers. A good tactic is to duck and keep shooting, but even then you might be killed by the jetpackers that fly down and take your head off...
As I said, this game is great fun and would probably be good for stress relief in some ways as well. Again, if you're easily offended by blood (and a lot of it) flying, don't touch it, but if that sort of thing doesn't bother you it's well worth the large download. It only features one mission, but it's absolutely immense. Only thing that prevents this from the top score is that the amount of enemies can be absolutely overwhelming at times.
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David Newton (DavidN)