'I SAY WE TAKE OFF AND AND NUKE THE ENTIRE SITE FROM ORBIT. IT'S THE ONLY WAY TO BE SURE...' ALIENS, WHO NEEDS 'EM, EH? ALL THEY DO IS ABDUCT PEOPLE, MUTILATE CATTLE AND BURST OUT OF PEOPLE'S CHESTS. BUT FEAR NOT, GENTLE READERS, 'CAUSE MARK CASWELL'S BECOME AN HONORARY MEMBER OF THE COLONIAL MARINES TO KICK SOME ALIEN BUTT.
We've all seen move like ET, Starman and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, where friendly aliens land on Earth and help mankind. The people who see these creatures from another world are unafraid and soon make friends with them.
What a load of crap. If you saw a little green man leap out of a spaceship in real life, you'd cack your panties and leg it. But the heroes of this game are a hardy breed who lug large alien-splattering guns around, and they aren't afraid to use 'em.
Space Gun is a one- or two-player game, so grab a pal and prepare to zoom around space as your team of crack commandos waste the deadly aliens, who've very kindly decided to try and take over our solar system.
THE FINAL FRONTIER
There are six levels, split into three or four sub-sections The main pan of your mission is to rescue a bunch of civilians, who were working quite happily until the bug-eyed beasties attacked their space station and spirited 'em off. At least one hostage from each section must be saved from a fate worse than the Ed's singing (watch t sunshine - Ed), so go to it trooper! Fail to free at least one hostage and you'll be a laughing stock.
In true Aliens style, the hostages are found hanging from walls or ceilings. They're wrapped in cocoons which you shoot away to free them. Once you've saved as many hostages as possible. sneak them past the aliens and deliver them safely to the space base. Simple, eh?
WE COME IN PEACE, SHOOT TO KILL
The game starts aboard the space station, viewed through the eyes of your character as you stalk the corridors in search of the alien scum. They certainly aren't shy about coming forward - pretty soon you're buried under several thousand pounds of alien warrior, industriously trying to rip you head off.
So now's a good time to press the fire button and spray some lead around. The guns used by the time honoured tradition of whizzing the floating cursor around the screen and letting rip. But the aliens don't sit and take it, they rush at you and attempt to either bite or slash your frail body. Of course this lowers the old life meter and if you take too much damage you become alien din-dins.
IT'S LIFE, JIM, BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT
There are several types of xenophobic creature, all bent on your destruction. Small, red. bug-like beasties hang from the ceiling and drop onto your bonce, while huge four-armed green monsters go straight for the throat. The red creatures are very often killed by a single burst of gunfire, the bigger monstrosities take longer to blow away. As you blast 'em, bits of flesh fly off, and if you're lucky an arm parts company before you're slashed to ribbons.
The carnage continues until you reach the Mother Alien on the sixth and final level. If you manage to pull all this off and emerge unscathed, you're a jammy bast.
HE'S DEAD, JIM!
Ocean are on a birrova winning streak, aren't they readers? After the CRASH Smashed Hudson Hawk and Smash TV two issues ago, they pop up with this corker. I know the Operation Wolf format is as old as the proverbial hills, but it s proved to be very popular with the punters (and certain journos).
Space Gun is no pushover. The aliens are mean muthas who take a heck of a lot of blasting before they die, which is more than can be said about the heroes. Game after game I was killed by aliens who leapt out of dark and dingy corners. But half the fun is the suspense created by not knowing when you'll be mauled to death by a reject from the CRASH office (don't put yourself down. Corky - Ed).
Images, the programming team, have done a wonderful job with the graphics - a rainbow of colours dazzle the eye but there's very little colour clash.
Those of you who love this gung-ho game style should take a look. Now if you II excuse me, I have some aliens to splatter.
MARK ... 91%
'Wow, trip out city, maaa-n! This mean game has more colour than a rainbow wearing Jason Donovan's technicolour dreamcoat (and Wozza's neck - Ed)! It's like Line Of Fire with lots more playability and much better graphics. Movement around the corridors is automatic so the trigger finger's constantly at the ready to blast away the variety of meanness that pops it's head around the corner. Space Gun could easily be renamed Kidney Bean Wars (has Nick gone potty? - Ed) because the things you fire at the aliens look just like red kidney beans! They add to the mass of colour created by the brilliant backgrounds and sprites - which are full screen size at times. There's one dazzling game in here, too, and some neat touches - arms drop off, heads explode and the aliens still keep coming back for more! For a non-stop shoot-'em-up extravaganza, get Space Gun - it' s wicked!'
NICK ... 90%
It is the yew 2039 and Dr Thad Oblong's Anywhere Engine has squashed the universe to the size of a laugh and the width of a blink. Long since freed from the drudgery of everyday toil, humanity is enjoying the leisure aspects of Anywhere travel; lunch breaks in different galaxies, cheap interstellar holidays and queue jumping in pan-dimensional restaurants. Stress has passed into medical history and everything in the garden is rosy.
However, the invention of the Anywhere Engine has brought its own problems. Humanity is not alone in the universe and regrettably the many and varied citizens of creation have not taken kindly to having their resorts overcrowded and their restaurant tables double-booked. Following the terrible Service Charge Wars of 2026, the races of the universe have lived in uneasy peace, although there are still remote worlds where wise men dare not walk alone. Dramatically, yet somehow predictably, it is on one of these worlds that the tourist cruiser SS Tourist Cruiser has crashed. Her injured captain tried gallantly to lead the passengers to safety but was unable to prevent a number of them from wandering off to photograph the local flesh-tearing monstrosities. Dutifully, but with marked reluctance, the good captain has been obliged to call in professional help - namely the hardest member of Space HQ's Beserker Division.
This is where you come in. In Space Gun, you are Lieutenant-Colonel Susan Paperclip.
So runs the plot to Ocean's brand new arcade conversion. Luckily you can skip the lot without fear of missing anything vital - essentially, Space Gun is Op Wolf 3. There's one important difference. Pretend you hadn;t noticed them before and gawp at those screenshots. Yup, this game has COLOUR. The huge variety of aliens scuttle, flutter and waddle towards you in blazing shades of every colour possible. Coupled with the Speccy-straining speed at which everything moves, the overall result is pretty stunning to say the least. probably the best comparison would be if you imagined Smash TV, but bigger, in 3D and more disturbing. Tickle my chin with an egg whisk and call me Mr Squeamish, but I'm a bit unsettled by a game that has you shooting the various limbs off aliens before blasting their heads apart in gruesome polychromatic explosions. It really is incredibly violent, and more than a bit yukky.
Still, I can't condemn a game just because I'm a scaredy cat. Playing Space Gun is a lot of fun - the action is furious and unrelenting and beasties spring out from every angle as you progress through both horizontally and 3D-scrolling sections. There are power-ups for additional energy and nastier weapons, and occasionally you'll find a lost tourist who needs a bit of covering fire as he stumbles aimlessly across the screen. On the presentation side, there are loads of neat touches such as the motion scanner, the little "Ouch!" balloons which appear when you're hit, and the way you can (ugh) shoot off the claws of the bigger aliens to stop them attacking you. In short, it's a slick piece of programming, chock-full of action, with tough and exciting gameplay.
Despite this, there's a major problem. To go back to the comparisons with Smash TV, no matter how frenetic that game became, you could always follow what was going on. here, once more than two aliens are on screen, it's practically impossible to keep track of your blue gunsight. Instead of which-beastie-should-I-hit-first strategies, you're reduced to blasting away at random in the hope of hitting something. It's a massive flaw, and one which affects the final rating enormously. Which is a shame, because Space Gun is a real attack on the senses. Basically, it looks fabulous, it sounds fabulous and it's jolly good fun in the short term. Unfortunately, any lasting appeal has been effectively ruined by the fact that you can't work out what the hecks's going on.
'Hello, I'm a concerned citizen, and I'd just like to tell you about this review. It's an eighteen certificate review, you see, as it's full of disturbingly violent descriptions of an excessively vicious game. You might actually want to go out and pick some flowers rather than expose yourself to...' Oh, get out of the way, you tedious small-minded individual. Space Gun is the unofficial (hem hem) game of the film Aliens, with you tramping through a network of tunnels completely overrun with alien scum, blasting them and rescuing a group of colonists. The story's told in some nice between-level graphics - just a pity you have to load them in separately. Still, gives you plenty of time to get ready. (Sound of someone arming up with several clanky guns.) Picture this... you're walking down a corridor, and these things come down from the ceiling. I thought they were like those splotches on Patrick Moore's face 'til they shot at me. (Eh? Ed) Amble a little further, and these doors open. Ooer, that's ominous. (Sound of bolt being drawn back on ludicrously big gun.)
All of a sudden, the screen fills with aliens. Lots of 'em. So you shoot them, but they don't die. Bits fly off instead. Arms and legs go spiralling away but they don't care. The aliens keep on coming, so you keep on blasting until they fall down dead. Hahahahaha! Die, non-human life-forms! Dakkadakkadakka! Pow! Powpowpow! Ha, got 'em. (Pant pant.) Then these face-huggery things jump onto your visor and you have to scorch them off. Fwoosh! Hahahahaha! Perish in the all-cleansing flame of justice, diseased interplanetary creatures! (I think he's getting a little too involved here. Ed)
And then things start getting silly. Aliens pour out of the walls. You shoot off their arms so they can't claw you. There are bits of bodies all over the shop. Colonists run around in a panic. Bullets fly everywhere. Your view is totally obscured. You're firing blind, switching between guns, grenades and flame-throwers. The end-of-level guardian pops up. You blaze away. Another level loads, and you start all over again. And it's a stomach-churningly large amount of fun. Who cares about colour clash, dodgy sound effects or an awkward multiloader when the game's this much (there's that word again) fun? I enjoyed every dishonest, unclean minute of it. Worth four pounds of any slightly unbalanced Vietnam veteran's money. (Twitch twitch, polish gun.)
Just a few years ago after the success of the superb Operation Thunderbolt arcade machine, the videodromes the length and breadth of the country were flooded with cabinets mounted with various types of assault weapon.
By far one of the best Op Thunder clones was supplied by Taito. Space Gun took all the best of Operation Thunderbolt and improved on it.
Space Gun has similar and atmospheric intro sequences, to each level, that unfold the horrific story of a space colony, complete with its own orbiting station, that has been invaded by hostile aliens who have taken some of the occupants hostage. As to the other members of personnel? Well, they've either been added to the alien's breakfast of Shredded Spaceman or are currently floating around space trying to find a party where they can soak up a little atmosphere.
Play begins within the corridors of the space station, and eventually progresses onto the surface of the planet and onto the base itself.
Up to two players can explore the high tech confines of the various scenarios, making their way along passageways and over the planet surface and, where possible, freeing the aliens' human hostages from the torture of having to go to deep space coffee mornings and discuss the merits of interplanetary and galactic domination.
You are armed with a standard issue alien bustin', butt kickin' assault rifle that shoots standard rounds as well as having freeze, fire and beefcake bombs, that do varying amounts of area damage. As you make your way through the corridors, you move the cursor over the target and press fire. By using the keyboard you can also select a spacial bomb weapon, if you have any, causing the normal sight to change.
The freeze bombs are particularly effective - they have a large area of effect, but you must shoot the frozen aliens blowing their bodies into a thousand fragments - otherwise they'll just thaw out and then be really mean.
The aliens don't just sit there and take all this hardship from you however. They have biting and slashing attacks - if they hit you with either, they'll leave their fang or claw marks up on the screen and take a healthy bite out of your life meter.
Space Gun is a great blast. Graphics are colourful but sometimes a little confusing once there're a lot of toothy little sods on the screen But most of the original features of the arcade have been retained - unfortunately there isn't a foot pedal to make you go backwards and there are no left/right decisions to be made. Nonetheless, it's compelling and should be a sure fire hit, unless you're from a different planet.
Reviewer: Garth Sumpter
ALAN: There's certainly a lot happening and there's no shortage of aliens to shoot at. What there does seem to be a shortage of is variety. But, if you went trigger happy in the arcade with Operation Thunderbolt, Beast Busters and the rest, the Space Gun certainly won't disappoint you.
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