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CANNON FODDER ------------- Ten years ago, a game was release on the Amiga, this game was a fun blend of action and strategy, with a nice touch of humour. Roll on ten years and im finally going to write a review on it! Cannon Fodder, was originally released on the Amiga, it then found its way onto nearly all of the computers and consoles around at the time. This PC version is almost identical to the original, with a few little tweaks, but most are not noticeable. It has also been released on the Gameboy Colour, in 2000. The game was made by Sensible Software, who were also famous for the Sensible soccer series of games. Sensible software were later bought out by Codemasters, who continue to port this game to new systems. So why is a ten year old game still being released on new systems? Quite simply, because it offers a lot of great fun action. The idea of the game is fairly simple, you control an army, in a war against another unnamed army. And as in any war you really should try to get your side to defeat the enemy, else its a bit pointless! GAMEPLAY -------- The main aim as I've stated is to get your small band of soldiers to defeat the enemy, this is quite a difficult task. This is quite often regarded as a RTS, or Real Time Strategy, which isn't really a good impression of what you are going to get, this is more like an old arcadey action game, with small strategy elements. So unlike most RTS games, there is no Mining or building, just pure unadulterated action. The game starts with you controlling two soldiers, and you must kill all enemies in a small area. The action is viewed from above your soldiers, like watching from a helicopter, so you can see what is around you at all times. The first thing you will notice is the control system, this is very simple and easy to use, basically played entirely with the mouse, you c ontrol a little arrow on the screen, which if you right click will move your troops to this area, if you press the left button you will fire your guns. That's about as difficult as the controls get! Along the left hand side of the screen is a small menu, which lets you split up your troops and control them in separate teams, this can come in handy on later levels. There is also a map icon, which gives you a view of the level that you are currently playing. As i said, the first level is very simple, don't worry this is not an indication of whats to come, as quite soon you will find the missions get quite difficult. The game has 24 missions, some of these are split into separate levels, so this game is very big, in fact probably a bit too big. The missions are set in various different settings, such as jungles, icy areas and little villages. After the first 5 or so levels, this game really starts to get quite difficult, especially when the enemy gets hold of tanks, helicopters and bazookas! You will find yourself replaying levels over and over, until you grasp where all the enemy troops are, luckily you get quite a lot of chances to complete the levels, as you have over 350 troops waiting in the wings, ready to get their chance for a bit of the action. When you first start a mission you get a small briefing of what the mission involves, and how many troops you will have in your control. Some missions you will control up to 8 soldiers, whereas some have you as a 'Rambo' type lone soldier, these are a bit like the missions in Command and Conquer, where you play a lone soldier! The missions are quite varied, although most follow the simple kill all enemy or blow up enemy buildings type, but you will also have some where you must save civilians. Now it would be quite difficult to beat the enemy, if you didn't have any firepower, so luckily for you your soldiers are quite well stocked with an unlimited supply of bullets, but also you can collect crates which contain grenades or bazooka shells, these are limited, but there are normally enough to keep most action fans happy. All the walking around the huge maps can sometimes get a bit tiring, so nicely there are sometimes some vehicles left lying around for your use. These range from Skidoo's to Jeeps. On later levels you will also get the chance to take control of Helicopters and tanks. On some levels these vehicles are needed to progress further, for example one level, which is set in an almost maze like area, needs you too take control of a skidoo and jump over a fence, using a ramp, to get to a different area. The control of the vehicles is as simple as it is to control your troops, although sometimes a little too responsive. GRAPHICS --------- So here is probably one of the main downfalls of the game, a reason that most modern gamers wouldn't look at this twice, the graphics are appalling. Viewed from quite high above the action, the main soldiers and enemies are very small, anyone that has played the Sensible Soccer series will know what to expect. The sprites are quite pixally and blocky, and sometimes seem to blend into the background a little, which can make it harder to distinguish where enemies are. The backgrounds aren't really very varied, with only a few different areas, but it is really the design, not the look that makes these levels. OVERALL ------- As with its famous footballing cousin, this game may have poor graphics, but more than makes up for it when you get into the realms of the gameplay. Well worth a quick blast, or a nights play, for any fans of action based games, although the graphics may make new gamers cringe, they really aren't that bad once you get used to them, and once you do get used to them you will find yourself blasting awa y at all the enemy soldiers with amazing ease. The game will last a long time, with many levels and missions, you wont finish this in a weekend like most games nowadays. You will also find yourself getting strangly attached to your troops, as when you move up a mission you get a medal. You also get to see how many kills that soldier as made, so you end up trying to keep your main favourite alive for as long as possible! The game doesn't seem to have any problems with more modern PC's like a lot of older games do, so if you can find it in any shops i would certainly recommend giving it a go. You might also find it on various abandonware sites, and it is definitely worth the small download. If you enjoy the game, there is also a sequal, which is more of the same, but with more varied missions. You could also try the newer gameboy colour version, which has a few extra features. Any comments? Thanks for reading. Kyle.
[Please note that this is from MY site, it is not stolen. This review can be found at http://members.madasafish.com/~kefka/ - and you can check the email given there to confirm that this is the case.] Remember Sensible Soccer? The concept here is to take the little people off the pitch and on to a battlefield. And has it worked? Fans of the Amiga version will be happy to know that the game is mouse compatible: playing home computer ports using a D-pad (the cross-shaped thing on the left of most pads) can be a bit limiting. The whole conversion has been done well, infact. The idea is simple: move the cursor to were you want go or want to attack, and press the relevant button. The missions are always along the lines of 'destroy all enemy bases' or 'kill all enemy' yet this does not make them boring because of the lack of variety as you might expect. This is probably because of the tactics required: you can split the group into 2 for a pincer attack (or a half-hearted kamikaze attack) and once a soldier survives a few missions and gains a rank, you may even try and keep him alive at the expense of others... There are problems, though. Later missions rely on a lot of luck - when you need to keep collateral damage low, for instance, if your enemy kills a civilian, you get the blame. You may fail the mission before you meet the enemy in this way. Also, there's a bit of trial and error involved. You can blow up an enemy hut, but only to be killed when its roof lands on you, for example. Other than that though, I liked it. The graphics do the job well enough. Hardly ground breaking, but the tiny sprites and backgrounds are detailed. The sound is limited to SFX mid-mission, but between missions and on the title screen etc. are some pretty good tunes. The intro is sick, though: the beat is made up of the screams of the dieing! The rest is made up of very suitable fanfares and other armyish (you'll see what I mean) tunes. There are certainly plenty of missions to get through, and doing so is a very entertaining way of passing a few hours.