Saturday, January 14, 2012

Game of the Day - Caliber 50

Caliber 50 is a walk-around omni shooter that gets just about everything right.  You are at war in the jungle and it's time to use your gun and grenades to take out the enemy - and they are everywhere.

Right off the bat, you should know that Caliber 50 plays much better with a spinner and especially a push/pull spinner if you have one (even better would be a rotary joystick like the original arcade game).  The controls work like several in this genre...  You use the joystick to walk/swim in any direction, but you use the spinner/rotary to turn around to aim your gun in any direction.  So if you are using the js in one hand and the spinner in the other, is can be difficult to shoot and toss grenades unless your js has buttons on it or you have the aforementioned push/pull spinner (which makes the game spectacularly playable - while spinning around, you push down to shoot your gun and pull up to lob a grenade - very cool).  As an alternative, you also can use the MAME setup to program buttons to "rotate left" and rotate right" if you don't have a spinner.  That way, you can still enjoy the game's features.  And while it's not optimal, it can work pretty well with a modicum of practice.

There are many games of this genre (Ikari, Shock Troopers, Gundhara, Desert Breaker, Ninja Commando to name a few), but I think Cal 50 is near the top.  The graphics are excellent.  Very tightly drawn details of the landscape, enemies, animals, etc. all look great.  I also like the terrain, there are lots of places to go and they are not all obvious.  Hills, water, underground rooms and caverns all make for nice diversity.  I also like the weapon/life force system.  There is a gauge at the top that shows your "power" (it goes from empty to full).  You can increase it by collecting the little artillery shells that all the enemies cough up when you kill them.  When you fill up a gauge, your weapon upgrades to a more poweful version.  When you take hits and the gauge decreases, the reverse happens and your weapon downgrades (or you die, depending on how many gauges you have filled).

Good enemies, great control scheme and sharp, fun graphics make Caliber 50 a stand-out.  Go strap on your boots and check it out.

Info: Romstar, 1989, Omni Shooter

See my post on the push/pull spinner here...

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