This week on Antstream 22-05-31 : Gunforce / Metal Dragon

Again, Tuesday rolls around and Antstream peels some more piping hot titles off their backlog and splats them down on the games buffet. Help yourself!

Unfortunately, there are just 2 courses on offer this week for normal mortals. A third - venerable arcade classic Breakout - is also added but only for those with an Atari VCS. This will be a temporary exclusivity, one expects.

For the rest of us, there's 1991 arcade also-ran Gunforce, and 2021 MSX shooter Metal Dragon.

Pictured : 1) Running 2) Gunning

First : Gunforce. Imagine Metal Slug without the cartoon charm, or grenades, and you're halfway there. Indeed, this was developed by the team that would go on to create Metal Slug, five years down the line. Plot-wise, it's generic sci-fi action, as you parachute onto the well-named Terror Island and proceed from left to right shooting dudes with a variety of weapons.
There are regular dudes to shoot, and flying dudes, and dudes in helicopters and trucks. It doesn't look all that great, but has some decent music and some killer sound effects. It's slick and tough with a few flashes of the humour that would fully infect the team's later games. All in all, the very definition of an average arcade game. One to press Continue on, just to power through the levels. Which is fine. It's fine!

Every game is improved by getting to drive a tank. Even Football Manager. 

Then there's Metal Dragon, which is a very impressive indie effort from Kai Magazine, who also published Life on Mars, which made it to Antstream about a month ago. I'm pretty sure this is the first game on Antstream to warn that it's for mature audiences only. This is due to the presentation which satirises Metal Gear in a mature way, where mature means using some naughty words.

Don't tell me what to do. You're not my real Dad.

The game itself is a top-down Commando-style blaster, where you proceed up the screen, blasting dudes. On some levels, you proceed left to right, for variety. Dudes get blasted either way, either with your regular rifle or the liberally available grenades. There are bullets flying everywhere, but you're fast enough to avoid them and you have an energy bar rather than getting killed off by single bullet, which is nice. You'll get stuck on the scenery occasionally, which isn't. Other than that, controls are responsive, with a dramatic soundtrack playing in the background.
It looks great, both in the slick cutscenes and in the game itself, where a large number of shootable dudes are colourfully animated without a hint of slowdown. A very professionally produced home-brew, then. The MSX has never looked so good.

So anyway, I started blastin'


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