Rail shooters (otherwise known as gun games) are simple, straightforward action offerings from a bygone arcade age, but decent ones, like Virtua Cop, get away with it by offering a variety of weapons, great pace and interesting death spasms. Maximum Force, on the other hand, sounds alarm bells as soon as you open the manual and read the suggestion that you shoot background objects ‘to practise your aim’. Take this as a coded warning that after a day you’ll be so bored with the game that firing at static objects will become a sound strategy to lengthen the lifespan of the game.
So what’s wrong with it? Collision detection – vital in a target game like Maximum Force – is worryingly bad. Shots that should have missed, hit, and vice-versa aren’t correctly registered by the game engine. It also turns out that the terrorists would have trouble hitting a barn door at 20 paces – I accidentally discovered that if you sit back for a moment you can have the contents of a machine gun unloaded towards you without suffering a scratch. The graphics aren’t without merit: backgrounds are detailed, scrolling is smooth and all the enemies are digitised actors. However the realism this adds to the game is shattered as soon as you fire and watch one vanish in a ridiculous shower of ketchup. Low production values and crappy gameplay doom this old timer for what little it’s worth.
System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win 3.1
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