Mechanized Attack
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  • SNK
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  • Action - Shooter - Light Gun (example - Duck Hunt)
  • 1990
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4  |  The Originator of the Missile-Firing Dog Genre: Mechanized Attack
Scoots , 1/22/2003 7:55:48 AM
Let me preface this review by stating that I bought this game second-hand, sans instruction manual, and knew absolutely nothing about it. It’s a side-scrolling first person shooter (remember those?) in the style of Cabal or Operation Wolf. You can use either the control pad or the Zapper to move the crosshairs on screen. Typical of the genre, enemies appear at various point between the foreground and background, shooting, hurling knives, and lobbing grenades. You can pick up extra bullets, grenades, or health by shooting the appropriate icon when they appear. Reloading is done automatically for you as long as you have extra clips remaining.

This game is about as rudimentary an effort as they get, so I’ll skip to its particular quirks. First of all, you’ve only got one continue. Normally that’s not automatically a bad thing, but here your health is not refilled at the end of each round like most games. You can’t NOT get injured—there may be 10 enemies on screen at the same time, each of them chipping away at your health in his own fashion, and no one is fast enough to kill them all without taking some damage.

The enemies are the exact same cast of characters we’ve all grown to know and love in this genre: foot soldiers, unidentifiable flying things that shoot you, helicopters, artillery, underwater guys that like to pop out right in front of your face and fillet you with a diving knife. In Act 2 you get your first taste of weirdness; when you shoot a soldier in the close foreground he turns into some kind of a bootlegged Terminator. These newly-metal attackers now take more shots to kill than the standard one-bullet fodder that have come before them.

As I noted earlier, I don’t have the manual, so I don’t know the story this game is supposed to tell, but I assume it’s something similar to Contra in which technologically advanced space invaders drape themselves in Army surplus clothing and threaten the American way. I think shooting robots is supposed to make us feel less immoral than shooting “real” people (the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon tried the same tactic by turning the Foot Ninjas—humans in the comic books—into robots).

Then Act 3 comes and you really start to wonder what the hell is going on. In the midst of the jungle, a dog runs by. I wondered at first if this was considered “a good guy,” you know, the civilian characters that shooting games like to sprinkle in to keep you guessing who’s an enemy and who isn’t. Then the jungle dog turns to me and shoots a #$%&! missile out of its mouth. Good lord--that was unexpected! Stupid, but unexpected nonetheless. This is also the level where you’re cast into darkness, sighting enemies only by their muzzle flash or by shooting a “light” icon on screen. This was perhaps the most novel touch in the retelling of a very well known tale.

Overall, mediocre-to-decent graphics, forgettable music, and limited variety of action destine this game to languish at the bottom of FuncoLand’s bargain bin. I give it a 4 out of 10.

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