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Bang! Gunship Elite

Score: 80%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Red Storm
Developer: RayLand
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 8
Genre: Action/ Shooter/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

The graphics in Bang! Gunship Elite are very nice. Ships are recognizable, and some are absolutely gigantic. Explosions are satisfyingly bright, with lots of chunky bits going everywhere and flashing graphics and whatnot. The backgrounds are generally gorgeous, from the star-fields to the planets. Of all the things that Bang! does, it does the graphics the best. The cinematics are done in-game, which is nice, lending a solid flow from plot to action.

The same cannot be said of the sound. The voice acting is pretty atrocious, from the narrator who sounds like heís reading off of cue cards that are s-l-o-w-l-y being switched, to the bad Russian accents from the people youíre fighting, itís uniformly sub par at best. The music is there, but itís extremely subdued, nowhere near the sweeping battle epics that Colony Wars and the Freespace series entertains. Sure, itís got the orchestral bits, but it just doesnít inspire enough.


Bang! Gunship Elite can best be described as ďSpace Combat Lite.Ē Itís halfway between Galaga and Freespace in complexity, and although itís quite entertaining, thereís not all that much meat on the (very, very pretty) bones.

In Bang! you are a fighter in the Alliance, trying to stop the Sektar threat. Thereís some stuff about a substance called Kha that basically makes the world go Ďround, but plot is pretty much icing on the cake in this game. You get briefed before each battle, the narrator telling you what you have to do. It can range from simply blowing ships up to escorting to everything in between. Mostly, itís blowing things up.

The cockpit springs to life around you as soon as you enter the game, and there are lots of nifty little doodads. Youíll learn to ignore most of them pretty quickly, though, as the radar in the bottom center and the health display are all you really need to pay constant attention to. You fly around and blow ships up, using an assortment of weapons that grows pretty much every mission. You start off with a namby-pamby Ion Blaster, but get cooler and cooler weapons as the game progresses.

Thereís nothing particularly deep when it comes to the gameplay here. The enemy A.I. is sometimes quite intelligent, hiding behind various space debris so you canít cap them too easily, but a little hunting around will always get you your ship. Once you master the art of finding enemies on your radar and seeking after them, the game is basically an extremely fast-paced seek-and-destroy title.

And perhaps that is Bang! Gunship Eliteís main flaw. Thereís nothing much else to it. Sure, they mix up the missions a bit, but never enough to make you feel like youíre doing something really unique in the game. And as entertaining as wasting enemies with large weaponry is, itís not necessarily going to keep you going for hours.


And what definitely doesnít help is the difficulty of some of the missions. Most are timed, and youíll find yourself scrambling to complete a mission in the given amount of time. Fail, and you have to start it all over. Blow up? Start over. Although I understand the reasoning behind no mid-level saves, itís still pretty irritating when youíre 20 minutes into a mission and a stray bullet knocks your last bit of health off, forcing you to start all over again. Some people may quit playing Bang! after the first few missions, simply because of this.

Game Mechanics:

The controls in Bang! are more reminiscent of Quake than any space shooter. You use the mouse to look around, a few keys to adjust your thrust, and the number keys to switch weapons. Itís all quite simple, really, and youíll find yourself comfortable with the control scheme within a few minutes of booting up the game.

Bang! Gunship Elite is a very pretty game. Its world is full of bright explosions and cool ships. Unfortunately, thereís not quite enough gameplay to back up the graphics. At its current price, Bang! Gunship Elite may be too bumpy of a ride to warrant a purchase unless youíre a fan of the genre. At a slightly lower price point, though, Bang! will definitely provide the bang for the buck, even if it doesnít get your cranial juices flowing.

Did I mention that it was pretty?

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:

P2 233, 32MB RAM, Win9x, 4x CD-ROM, 380 MB HD Space, DX7.x-compat 3D accelerator, DX7.x-compat sound card, joystick/gamepad/mouse

Test System:

Pentium II 300, 64 MB RAM, nVidia Riva 128 Video Card, 32x CD-ROM, SB AWE64 Sound Card, Windows 95

Sony PSOne Star Wars: Demolition Windows Battlezone II

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated