Pages: 1 2 3
Review by: Bob Mandel
Published: November 30, 1998
Sometimes a game strikes it big on one gaming platform and flops on another. A couple of years ago, Silent Software through Prolific Publishing developed Return Fire, an arcade action combat game that was a smash hit on the 3DO and Playstation console platforms but one that largely bombed when it was ported to the PC. It is not at all surprising that a game that succeeded with console players might fail among those used to gaming on the personal computer, as the two audiences are quite different and their expectations frequently do not match. So this fall the developers decided to try again with a sequel, Return Fire 2, that they hoped would remedy the deficiencies in the original version and capture the fancy of the huge PC gaming crowd. This time the publisher is Ripcord Games, the entertainment software label of Panasonic Interactive Media.
The original Return Fire had several limitations that ultimately explain the failure of its PC port. First, and most importantly, the game had no Internet support and no computer-controlled opponent available; you could simply have two people play each other on a single PC (where unlike consoles each could not easily have a separate gamepad to use) or engage in a boring one-player game attacking unmanned bases. Second, you had but four vehicles to use in combat — an armored support vehicle, helicopter, jeep, and tank — to be used one at a time in accomplishing your mission. Third, you witnessed the action pretty exclusively from a single top-down viewpoint. Finally, with no 3D hardware video accelerator support the graphics were blocky and pixilated.
Both of the Return Fire games are arcade shooters with a touch of strategy. Hard-core real-time strategy fans who loved Command and Conquer will find this series much too simple and devoid of the kind of resource management, building and vehicle construction that they cherish so much. Even fans of combat action-strategy hybrids, such as Battlezone and Uprising, would find the game to lack the strategic depth to which they have become accustomed. On the other hand, those used to arcade combat shooters like Incoming will find that Return Fire 2 involves more than their usual amount of tactical decision making, where the “blast-everything-to-smithereens” mentality is not always the best.
There is hardly a story to speak of in Return Fire 2. You are in a state of emergency in which your enemy is preparing to attack you and so you must infiltrate its bases, locate its hidden flag, and return to your base unharmed. Yes, this is basically the classic “capture the flag” game with a lot of trimmings, where you break down the adversary’s defenses, destroy its ammunition and fuel supply and its key structures, and of course in the process defend your own. While undertaking this kind of combat, you may undertake an amazing variety of offensive and defensive stances, and you need to think carefully about which vehicle of yours to use against which of your foe’s.
Pages: 1 2 3