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Gunforce (pc game)
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Like its sequel, Gunforce 2, this is a classically styled side-scrolling piece of run 'n' gun action that plays out in similar fashion to games like Metal Slug and Contra. It's certainly not as polished as these classics but for some simple old-school fun, you can do a lot worse. The minimal storyline finds you in control of a lone soldier who gets dropped off on some island which happens to have been overrun by hordes of enemy soldiers, presumably with some evil plan to take over the world. It's all pretty inconsequential stuff as the game really is just about blasting bad guys into a greasy paste. You start out with a basic gun but you can pick up things like flamethrowers and lasers to help even the odds, although these are limited on ammo. You can occasionally jump into vehicles to spice things up a bit while you have only five lives and three continues to make it through to the end and the final epic showdown with the big bad boss (and perhaps an explanation for why the game's full title is actually Gunforce: Battle Fire Engulfed Terror Island). Gunforce is certainly not a terrible example of the genre but against the best titles, such as Contra III or even Turrican 2, it looks a little limp. The game features some annoyingly slow scrolling which means the action is never as intense as it should be and for much of the time, it simply plods along. The visuals are quite nice in that early nineties way, with some lovely chunky sprites and cool environmental design, while the whole thing offers a good challenge. At the end of the day though, it's just not exciting enough to be a must play.