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Apart from the world we live in there is another realm that has a different time and progression. A realm called 'Dark Moon'.
Suddenly, at ancient ruins scattered upon our world, gateways to this realm appeared. From these the 'beasts' came forth to ravage our people.
The time of reckoning is upon us.
Konami gained their reputation in the gaming world by providing you and I with dozens and dozens of arcade shooters. They're at it again in this third person shoot-em-up... only this time the beasties can appear from almost anywhere as all the action takes place in a 3D world... Watch your back!
Sound and Vision:
Having been brought up on a diet of two dimensional shooters I must admit Gungage proved pleasing to the eye in comparison. Gone are the side-scrolling bandits, the flat piranhas, the giant low resolution spiders, the pixelated centipede, only to be replaced by... well... the same creatures if truth be known... but they are all in 3D.
Basically the player controls a young guy dressed in casual togs who is brandishing a weapon as big as his arm. When remaining stationary his body clearly exaggerates the effect of breathing as his chest expands and contracts with each breath. He always remains posed, prepared for action with revolver held back firmly in hand.
It's all viewed from above and behind (similar to Tomb Raider or Resident Evil) but it's the camera system that excels. Move forward and the camera expectantly follows. But turn around full circle and the character remains rooted to the spot while only the view pans. This allows the player to concentrate purely on shooting accuracy without worrying about the game character possibly falling from a ledge.
The scenery is predominantly a polygonal setting amid pre-rendered backdrops and changes with each theme of the level. Beginning in a dusty run down town I was impressed at the amount of extra detail included. Ivy hangs limply over the surrounding walls, while coving and artistic design are etched on the outside of whitewashed buildings. On the down side the re-draw distance is shrouded by a distant mist, but this effect is only used on large outside areas.
The enemies appear from land, sea and sky, there is no safe haven. Looking out over a deserted courtyard all seems quiet. Suddenly, in the distance, the ground is disturbed and a trail of rising dust begins to approach at speed. From beneath the ground a large brightly colored 'beastie' bursts out and sets chase on your character. It's a bit reminiscent of the movie Dune. Progressing through the game shoals of fish fly through the air firing large blue globes, giant worms leap from the earth crushing our trusty hero, wasps attack from the air, octopus appear from sewage grates, spiders drop from space, hummingbirds swoop back and forth... the list is endless.
The music is very... dated... arcadey... truly awful I suppose. The wailing rock guitars from the main menu is replaced by what can only be described as background tunes fit for the seventies soap TV series Dallas. Hardly the best to accompany a session of alien blasting.
Being an arcade shooter the rules are pretty simple... kill or be killed. I must first warn you that there is no save facility to record your progress, only your highest score. This posed a problem for me because I was an hour or so into the game and had to switch off with several lives left. There are three difficulty levels, beginning with three lives and seemingly unlimited continues.
Eventually four different characters become selectable, but initially only one, Wakle Skade, is available. By using a digital pad he can jump, shoot, select bullet type, use special weapon, walk and strafe left or right. Targeting is automatic unless this is cancelled by using the view button. In fact the set up has everything you could possibly wish from a game such as this. So why is Gungage not set to become a classic?
First of all the speed of the game is frustratingly slow. The pain endured from pushing down hard on the d-pad is an all to frequent occurrence and can hardly classed as an enjoyable experience. This is most noticeable when facing many of the end of level Bosses who fly rapidly around in circles at twice the game characters speed. I often used the tactic of running away to find a safe haven allowing time to turn around and take aim, but in confined arenas this wasn't possible.
Secondly the gameplay is... well... boring. Although there are a few hidden areas to unveil and the unusual side sport of collecting flowers (???), generally fresh ideas are in short supply. To be honest all of this was covered many years ago in the arcades and now seems quite dated.
This is a 1 disk game for 1 Player. It is compatible with the standard (digital) joypad and the button controls of the dual shock joypad. High scores can be saved via memory card (1 block per save).
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