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Missile Command

Score: 80%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Hasbro Interactive
Developer: Majesco
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Action/ Classic/Retro/ Action

Graphics & Sound:

The basic graphics actually involved in gameplay are very true to the original Missile Command. You have to protect your buildings (which look a lot like boxes) from incoming missiles (which look like slow moving lasers) by intercepting them with clouds of shrapnel from your anti-missile missiles (which look a lot like faster moving lasers that explode into clouds when they reach their destination) from your launchers on either side of the screen. There never was much detail to the graphics. The focus was on maddening gameplay. One neat enhancement is that there are different cities you protect, from Cairo to New York, to Sydney, Australia - each having its appropriate background graphic and (once completed), brief landmark animation intermission. Unfortunately, in the Missile Command universe, all buildings look similar, regardless of city of origin. The sound is passable (actually slightly entertaining), but the noteworthy feature (which I think best fits here) is the vibration feature. Missile Command not only supports force feedback for Game Boy Color - it actually has a built-in vibration motor. This requires a battery, but it is a truly innovative and cool feature. Bravo!

Gameplay:

Missile Command appears, at first, to be a simple game. Evil lines are coming downwards, and they must be stopped by using your weaponry to shoot them. If that were all there was to it, it would indeed be a simple game. However, there are several additional factors to be taken into consideration. You can't actually shoot an incoming missile. You have to shoot in front of it, so as to put a cloud of shrapnel in its path. Shooting (even slightly) beyond your target will have no effect on it. Also, each of your two guns has limited shots. So if you use all of your left side's ammo and need to quickly intercept something that is looming way too close on the left side, your shot from the right may not make it in time. In your favor, you have the fact that the angles of the incoming missiles often will have intersecting points, allowing a single shot to take out multiple missiles. Then again, a single missile can destroy one of your launchers (and all of its unused ammo).

Difficulty:

Missile Command was one of the few 'old school' games that required not only fast reflexes, but careful planning and real strategy. Pac-Man had its patterns, Centipede had it's tricks, and Asteroids had its ..er, luck, I guess. Missile Command requires anticipation and reflexes, resource management and damage control - all in real time. This can make Missile Command difficult, but it's the challenge that makes it fun. Still, novice gamers may want to find something easier.

Game Mechanics:

The Game Boy Color version of Missile Command is a very good translation. If anything, it suffers for requiring the use of a D-pad to move your aiming site. Even so, the game remains very true to the original Missile Command - especially in spirit. The enhanced graphics are refreshing and add a bit of humor, too. One of the most unique features of Missile Command for the Game Boy Color is its built-in Rumble feature. There's a small motor with an unbalanced weight, which is built into the game pak itself, positioned at the very top of the game pak (above the top of the Game Boy Color), and powered by a battery which goes in a compartment in the game pak itself. I also like the fact that the game supports the Nintendo Game Boy Rumble Pak as well. This way, if you haven't bought a rumble pak, you can still have rumble on Missile Command. If you have, however, it wasn't a waste - you can opt to have even more rumble than the built-in rumble feature. This shows not only innovation, but consideration for novice gamers and die-hard gamers alike. An excellent job.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

Windows Grand Prix 3 Sony PSOne Grandia

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated