Gunforce 2


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 10

Sound: 10

Gameplay: 9.5

Overall: 9.5

With all the praise heaped on the "Metal Slug" series, surely someone must realize what an achievement "Gunforce 2" was a year before that series made an appearance. Irem had a powerful piece of arcade hardware to work with and pushed it to the very extreme. This is, without any reasonable doubt, one of the best action arcade games of all time and one of most under-appreciated video games ever.

A sequel to a very mundane shooter of the same vein, "Gunforce 2" is an all out blast-a-thon, one of which could never be equaled. If something isn't dying or exploding every 10 seconds, you're not doing something right. Up to two-players can repel an alien invasion in spectacular fashion through five long levels of blasting.

Giving players two guns to fire away with adds loads to this one, including a nice sweeping arc so you can always hit an enemy regardless of their position. One of the guns always stays the same while the other can be upgraded with various power-ups. Auto-fire would have been a nice gesture for those of whose fingers might not be up to the task (only certain weapons feature it), though that's a very minor complaint.

A carry over from the first game, numerous vehicles can be piloted along the way, from basic jeeps to a brief stint with a jet pack. It adds a ton of variety, something "Metal Slug" would copy on its way to underground fame. There's even a small segment where the characters take to the air for some shooting action is odd-looking aircraft.

Just about everything in this game can be destroyed in some manner. The opening stage on a movie train lets players blow up every single car on their way to the engine and inevitable boss battle. Boxes, barrels, and of course enemies all go up in flames. A bit of blood is added towards the end, the real aliens dying a grisly death.

All of this is depicted via the most beautiful graphics engine ever conceived. There is a nearly ridiculous amount of detail on every single frame of animation and screen-filling bosses are some of the greatest sprites to ever see a video game screen. Each explosion not only looks great, but features countless frames of animation for that oh-so-important impact. The same goes for just about everything else in this game when it comes down to it. All of this does tax the hardware a bit so expect some slowdown in a few spots. It's nothing to ruin the experience in the least.

Each of those blasts is not only seen but also felt. Bass is unrelenting and gunfire just screams from the speaker at a constant rate. The soundtrack is nothing short of masterful, adding another dimension to an already strong sound package. Action games and audio have finally merged the way they should.

This is the only game to out-Slug "Metal Slug." Yes, it's better. You read that right. This is the epitome of side-scrolling action games, a pinnacle which has yet to matched. Get the word out people; this game deserves far more credit, respect, and love then it has received to date.


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Last updated: Friday, February 25, 2005 06:46 AM