Monday 13 July 2015

Freedom Force (NES review)

Developer: Sunsoft
Publisher: Sun Corporation of America
Released: 1988

Freedom Force is a light gun game that was also released in North American arcades in 1988.

It consists of five levels and your mission is to take down an extremist group that has taken over an airport. The introduction is the most impressive thing I've seen on the NES as it's completely animated! In each level you have to kill a certain number of enemies while avoiding hostages. Accidentally shoot too many of the latter and you'll be sent back to the first level. There's a few different weapons you can pick up (such as a grenade launcher that wipes out everything on screen) as well as health restorers. This is a great idea but the problem is that they only appear in a small box on the lower right side of the screen and the icons aren't distinctive enough for you to make a quick decision out of the corner of your eye. As a result you have to gaze away from the action to look at your hud and by that point you've probably already been shot by an enemy. In my opinion it would have been better to have the items located somewhere within the levels themselves. You're only afforded one life and the amount of health you have after each level carries over to the next without refilling. The game is very short though so it's not a huge problem. However, the fact that you can see everything it has to offer in around 5-10 minutes is an issue and I expected more from a 1988 NES game. After each two levels you'll take part in a bonus round where you have to shoot letters to guess the hidden word. It's a bit like Hangman and if you choose five incorrect letters you fail and the game continues. I found this to be one of the most boring bonus rounds ever and I'm surprised the developers couldn't come up with something more interesting than this!

Freedom Force really annoyed me as my initial impression was that this could be the best NES light gun game. However, despite the flashy intro and graphics there's little substance here and once you've seen each of the five short levels there's no absolutely incentive to keep playing.

Random trivia: Each time you complete all five levels the game gives you a secret word. If you collect all of these by continually beating the levels in one sitting you could send them to Sunsoft and receive a free decal set!

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