Tag Archives: 1/5

Jupiter Strike – Review

This was actually Taito's first release on the PlayStation.

Jupiter Strike is just another shoot ‘em up set in space. It was released for the PlayStation in 1995, very early in the console’s lifecycle and the game shows its age. It was developed by Taito, no stranger to space shooters and brought to North American shores courtesy of Acclaim.

Jupiter Strike opened with an extraordinarily long cutscene that was extraordinarily boring. Comprised of shots of spaceships in space, it didn’t convey any information that I couldn’t already scrape together on my own – thanks to the genre’s typically limited scope. All I needed to know is that I’m fighting for one side in a confrontation and my spaceship is special. But it really isn’t.

In my mind, it’s a foregone conclusion that all spaceships – especially those found in shoot ‘em ups – are agile. The one I controlled in Jupiter Strike was sluggish and whenever I’d steer it, it appeared that the screen was moving along with it, giving me the impression that I was controlling the camera rather than the ship itself. Now this is akin to similar games like Star Fox but I don’t remember it bugging me as it does when I play Jupiter Strike. Perhaps this is because of the ship’s poor animation.

Unfortunately I never made it to this stage. It has more colors than the space stages.

Also, rather than incorporating many different weapons and have them be obtainable through many means, Taito opted to include just two. My ship naturally had a basic attack which fired shots repeatedly consistent to my button presses. It also had a special laser that homed in on enemies. To target enemies I’d have to “paint them” with my cursor while holding down a button. When I released the button, lasers would target individual enemies. Both of my attacks had infinite uses, although the laser had to be charged. This lack of weapon diversity (also the lack of pick-ups) led to monotony.

I didn’t play the game offensively. I never felt like I was doing a good job at hitting enemies, although in truth I was. Instead, I opted to play defensively. My tactic was to fly around the edges of the screen avoiding enemy fire and wailing away with my trigger fingers. Playing like this, I was more concerned with avoiding enemy fire rather than shooting them down. This worked well too, up until stage four (of eight?).

A boss battle occurred at the end of each even numbered stage. The first boss was tough. It took a few tries, but I was able to learn/avoid his attacks and use my opportunities to strike back. He just had a lot of health. I didn’t fare as well against the second boss and it’s probably due to my inability to adapt.

The second boss was basically in a tunnel. During the stage I was flying into and out of large space ships until my encounter with the boss. It had octopus-like appendages that it used to crawl through this tunnel. Worst of all it was equipped with very strong weapons that were hard to avoid. I of course stuck to riding the edges of the screen but I wasn’t able to avoid his attacks. They depleted my health fast and after a few attempts I decided that the time I’d need to invest to beat Jupiter Strike wasn’t worth it.

Jupiter Strike was uninteresting. It’s a bare bones game that doesn’t do anything to set it apart from similar games. On top of that, the audio mixing was awful! If I fired I could not hear the soundtrack. Then again the soundtrack was so basic that sounded like a game from the previous generation.

Blah.

In short, Jupiter Strike is just another shoot ‘em up set in space, and like the initial cutscene, it’s boring.

1/5

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Fugitive Hunter: War on Terror – Reveiw

Dog the Bounty Hunter ain't got nothing on Jack Seaver.

I’ll often times try to find a game that my friend Jeff and I can play through. I’ll look for something that’s not very long and will provide some form of entertainment. When we last hung out, I came across a copy of Fugitive Hunter: War on Terror and I knew it met these criteria. Fugitive Hunter: War on Terror was developed by Santa Monica, California based Black Ops Entertainment, and released for the PlayStation 2 on November 18, 2003 courtesy of publisher Encore.

Fugitive Hunter: War on Terror follows the exploits of one man, Jack Seaver and his travels to hunt down fugitives. Before beginning the game I thought he might’ve been a bounty hunter, but he’s actually a member of a fictional government agency whose responsibility it is to hunt down America’s most wanted fugitives. Jack travels around the world hunting fugitives who pose increasing amounts of risk to America’s safety.

Most of the game was a first-person shooter. Controlling Jack, I’d venture through straightforward levels taking care to mow down every baddie I ran into. These thugs ranged from local gang members to Al Qaeda. There was a variety of weapons and many alterative fire options, although I mostly stuck with shotguns which obliterated enemies from far away.

Like Jack, I also like to use sniper rifles at close range.

An interesting feature to the FPS gameplay was the ability to lock-on to enemies. By pressing the square button, my reticle would automatically hover over an on-screen enemy. Aiming and moving was a little too sensitive, so I appreciated this feature, but I did over utilize it. I refrained from manually aiming unless the lock-on feature wouldn’t target an enemy. This simplified the game and made it seem like a guided experience; linear levels coupled with intense auto aiming meant all I had to do was move and pull the trigger. It didn’t always target the “best fit” enemy. While my reticle might have been right next to an enemy, it might target someone in the corner of the screen. Instances of this happening led to a few deaths.

Besides tracking down Jack’s target, I’d also have a few secondary objectives of finding or destroying important items. These were sometimes hard to locate even though the levels were linear. I nearly gave up in the first level until I realized my objectives were represented on my radar by a white dot. I was surprised by how competent the gameplay was, with the exception of items being too nondescript. Black Ops Entertainment had a solid track record up to the game’s release; having developed the PlayStation James Bond games they had much experience with the genre.

A gameplay element that didn’t stand up to scrutiny was the fighting. Before Jack could capture the fugitives he had to wail them into submission. At this point the gameplay switched from a FPS to a fighting game. I had a limited selection of moves and the most viable way to deal damage was with combos. After I hit on the fugitive a little, his health bar would flash indicating I should do a combo. It’d take a few combos to capture a fugitive and these weren’t always guaranteed; even though they were simple combinations of two buttons, combos didn’t seem to register all the time. Plus, the final fugitives attacked ferociously and didn’t leave much time to get hits in. Regardless I beat the crap out of and CAPTURED OSAMA BIN LADEN! How many other games can lay claim to that opportunity?

How's your ribs?

There’s a lot I like about Fugitive Hunter: War on Terror, albeit ironically. The whole premise of being able to beat up and capture Osama Bin Laden is weird, maybe a little exploitative considering what America had gone through a year or two prior. Jack constantly spewed awful one-liners and when he’d fight fugitives, he’d converse back and forth with them. After he’d capture the fugitives he’d perform an unnecessary and outlandish attack on the enemy; much of the game makes it seem like it’s a ten year old’s interpretation of a bounty hunter. But, the premise is unique and the gameplay – with the exception of the fighting – is solid. Good for a couple of hours of laughs with a friend.

1/5