Well, I’m kinda tapped out right now as far as creativity, so I figured I’d start up a new series of reviews, this time centering around different stuff I can emulate on my MAME32 emulator. So first off, what is MAME32 and what is emulation? Well, emulation is something I discovered in the mid 90s that centers around simulating an actual console, such as the Super Nintendo, Gameboy, or whatever.
MAME32 is an arcade emulator that can properly emulate most arcade games, especially from the 80s and 90s. My purpose in these reviews is not to necessarily encourage emulation, but rather, to seek out these gems that not a lot of people may know about or even just to highlight different games that you should know about and we should remember as retrogamers.
So for my first game I’ve chosen a game that initially I thought was a fighting game, but alas, as I’ve found out many, many times before, it has nothing to do with fisticuffs. No, it’s actually a game very similar to Spy Hunter. You constantly move forward, initially on a motorcycle, shooting the shit out of anything that moves. There are some major differences, however.
Firstly, there’s a fuel gauge. You need to keep things moving at a brisk pace or you’ll run out of fuel. Secondly, you get constant, regular points and powerups alike (some of which are fuel) from special overhead helicopters. Third, yeah, there are various powerups such as smoke screen and SAMs, but they can be used as often as you like until you crash. And oh will you crash, over and over again.
You can get in a boat like in Spy Hunter, but also a helicopter, car, and buggy. There don’t seem to be any discernable differences in handling or whatever between the vehicles, save the ability to traverse via water or air when in certain crafts, obviously. One major drawback is there doesn’t seem to be an ending, but really, that’s okay. It’s more about just getting points, anyway.
The game just kinda repeats on an infinite loop with an optional map on the side, which you must gather up by collecting specific powerups. You have to make tight turns and go through various forks in the game as well, which can lead to different vehicles and bonuses. So what else is there to talk about. Oh yeah, the other cars on the road range from minor annoyances to drunken assholes to just plain motherfucking assholes all over.
See, initially all you have to do is watch for traffic directly ahead of you. Sure, they’re coming at you very slow and non-threatening-like, but when turns come, they turn to and often randomly. Sometimes they won’t turn and they’ll blow up into the wall and other times they will whip right into you. Often, the best strategy is just to slow down and try to take them out.
Were that all of it, really the only major obstacle would be the road, not the traffic. However, eventually you get drunk drivers who just go all over the place and people that try to catch up to you. Now, the people that try to catch up to you often maliciously steer toward you, so you have to speed up, turn, then slam the brakes so they’ll fly ahead of you. Fortunately, you don’t need special powerups to take them out, though smoke screen is a godsend if you have it.
And yeah, there are overhead helicopters that also try to drop missiles, but they’re not nearly as bad as Spy Hunter’s. What gets kind of annoying over time are the sections where YOU’RE in a helicopter. In those sections, it plays like a vertical shooter. This would normally be okay, just shooting other helicopters and various land-based targets, except you don’t have time to slow down because you barely have any fuel in these sections.
Furthermore, while these sections are usually brief, they’re absolutely peppered throughout the game. I guess it’s not really that big of a deal, but its like interrupting one perfectly good game to play another every so often. It could be seen as novel initially, but with how repetitive the game is already, it’s really up to the player whether or not it will be seen as “fun” in these sections.
Really, the overall repetitive nature could prevent people from playing the game for too long. Initially I started playing it hoping there was an ending so I could just beat it, then a good 15 minutes or so later, I realized I just kept looping through the map. Sure, the different enemies get harder, but the map never really changes, so you know exactly what to expect.
Overall, this is a game I would recommend checking out. If I’m not mistaken, it’s available on more than the arcade, but the arcade version is pretty fun itself. I highly doubt you’ll find this in an arcade anywhere as it’s not well known, but if you do, you should totally pop some credits in and give it a whirl, especially if you’re looking for something similar to Spy Hunter, but better in some respects.