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If you're looking for a bit of solid blasting action on the high seas (well, rivers), then Gunboat does a pretty reasonable job of providing what you crave. It's less than classic stuff though and while it is fun in short bursts, it's lack of depth means that it is likely to get consigned quickly to the also-ran pile. The setting is intriguing, with players thrust into the chaos of the Vietnam War as part of the crew of the titular gunboat and must make their way through a series of missions and locales, blasting away at the bad guys lurking in the jungle depths. You can control each of the four members of the crew, including the pilot/captain, forward gunner, aft gunner and the engine man, but you have to be careful not to lose anyone otherwise your job gets a whole lot harder. There's little to the game other than manning the guns and blasting away, with control of the boat taken care of by the computer, so it plays out a bit like Operation Wolf, Cyberia or other on-rails shooters only on water instead and if you enjoy that sort of gun, there is some fun to be had here. The biggest problem though is that your gunboat takes up so much of the screen that it is very difficult to actually keep track of what's going on around you, with only a tiny portion of the screen given over to the surrounding environment. While this may be a realistic interpretation of what it would have been like to be on such a boat, in game terms it's a bit of a downer and prevents Gunboat from being the thrill-ride it should have been. It's certainly not a terrible game but this last problem does mean it is more frustrating than it should have been, so bear this in mind before playing.
Peculiar boat sim with action elements
While trying to make us think that this game is a simulation, it's underlying action and the way it is served will soon show its arcade sides. The game is set in the era of the Vietnam war, where naval assault vehicles were used quite a bit. However, because the game doesn't really have too good graphics, it is quite hard to settle for it. Released in 1990, the game looks a bit too old for the technology of the time. Your playing field is obscured by more than half by an intrusive view from the gunner's perspective. It's understandable if you want to reduce the amount of playing filed elements, but when these elements are as crudely designed as they are, it feels a bit lazy. So, dropping the simulation pretensions, who will survive only for the duration of the menu screen, this is a shooter game, in a pseudo 3D environment that looks pretty low polygon. Maybe the few sprinkled flavor texts will keep you around for a bit more, but otherwise you're in for a pretty bad shooter experience.
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