Friday, May 25, 2012

Game of the Day - Mobile Suit Gundam Final Shooting

Another mouthful of a title.  MSGFS is a cross-hair/gun-type shooter in the fine tradition of Terminator 2.  Again, since I don't have a lightgun, I use the trackball and it doesn't feel like it loses anything in the translation.  You could also use a joystick or the analog sticks on an Xbox-type controller.

Set in the Gundam world, you are a mech/robot thingy blasting away at enemies in many different backdrops.  There is some story and some cut-scenes here, but I can't tell you much about them as I speed through them (long live ADHD!).

You use the gun/trackball/js and have buttons for your normal fire and a bazooka.  When the game starts, you have no bazookas (you need to collect them) and you have no shield (you will get one in the future).  You have an energy indicator bar that decreases as you take hits.  When it's at zero, you be dead.

There are power-ups and tools to collect - although they are fairly scarce.  In the first pre-round, there are no shields to collect or bazookas - it seems like they have mercy on you and you get plucked out just before you croak.  Then, in the next round, you start with 3 bazookas and a full shield.  There is a shield indicator to show what percent strength it is at.  When you have a shield, it takes the hits instead of you losing energy.  Once it's gone (quickly), then you start losing energy again when you are hit.  You can build up your shield, your bazooka supply and your energy with the scarcely populated power-ups (shoot the boxes, just like in T2).

The game starts out pretty commonly, you blast all the enemies as they appear.  But it soon uses several elements to make it different.  The rounds change from ground based to space based - thus making the physics and enemy's approach different.  Also, there are mini-bosses and final bosses in each stage.  They take many hits (usually in specific target areas).  Some bosses give you hints if you haven't been targeting the right vulnerability.

Other nice touches abound...  in the second stage, when you defeat one of the bosses, he lets loose a nuke. (where's Jack Bauer when you need him?)  And the game switches to a timed target chase.  The nuke scurries up and down all over the screen and you have to hit it in the kisser many times while a countdown is going on.  It's like a mini-game within the game and is a cool stage.  Fail and ..... (insert Kaboom sound here).  Also, in later scenes in a busy city, you get to shoot the buildings.  Any game where you can turn the landscape into shrapnel is a friend of mine!

The graphics are done very well.  They are Saturday morning cartoon style and have a lot of detail.  The ground, space, planets and space ships you fight among are all animated nicely.  The HUD that is your screen shows cool detail when you take a hit - static, the screen shutters, it goes out for a flash, danger/warning signs, etc.  It all adds up to make you feel like you are inside the mech and taking the abuse.

This game also has a feature I have mentioned several times before but don't always point out... When you continue (after you lose), your score gets incremented 1 point.  That way you can look at the high scores and immediately know how many continues it took to get there.  Very cool.  I need to create a list of these games.

It's not a complicated game, but certainly an action-packed fun one.  By the way, if you look stuff up about it on the web, be aware that since the title screen misspelled the word "mobile" ("mobil") - a lot of references to it on arcade and mame sites spell it that way (mobil).

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