Title : Caliber .50
Publisher : Mentrix Software
Developer : Visco Corporation
Genre : Scrolling Shooter
Players : 1 Player
Release Date : 1989
Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $10-$15
Oy, it is way too early to play any games that require even an ounce of thought, so why not a typical scrolling shooter to appeal to my brain fog this morning? That'll work. What better game than CALIBER .50 for the Sega Genesis. I mean, damn...look at that box art. Is that a gigantic vietnam war hero blasting away at the enemy through a jungle explosion? Certainly looks like it.
Looks like a really horrible 1980's action flick movie poster. Must be fishing off the Rambo epidemic. That and the long haired rock. Someone play some Freebird! This was one of those games that my friends had the luxury of playing in the arcades, when I had never even see it before in my life before playing it for this review. Go figure.
If there is one game that Caliber .50 can be compared to, it's definitely good 'ol Ikari Warriors, probably the classic army-based scrolling shooter. Same concept, same war, and same shooting style, especially when it comes to commandeering vehicles (which is quite possibly my favorite part of these games)
Enough chit chat. We've got some enemies to kill, and prisoners of war to rescue. Shall we? *cocks gun*
The story begins 20 years after your main man, Captain Addis of the US Army, escapes from a POW camp in Vietnam. He is now returning back to the Ho Chi Minh trail to rescue those that he left behind. I'm not sure why he waited 20 years, but okay.....
You've got three levels of difficulty to choose from, and if I can be honest, "hard" is damn hard. If you don't want to kick your genesis to the floor, at least start on "normal" because there is a semi-decent balance of enemy to hero ratio. Still, you're always going to be outnumbered, but at least on normal the bullets don't seem to have some sort of homing effect and there aren't eight billion on the screen.
Like any other scrolling shooter, and much like Ikari Warriors, the screen will move with you as your blast your way through your enemies. Take your time, pace yourself, collect those damn power ups and continue the massacre of helpless soldiers who apparently can't kill one single soldier.
Power-ups are what really makes this game entertaining. Grenades, flame throwers, bazookas, and upgraded machine guns just makes mowing down enemies so much more satisfying. Although it is quite hilarious when you're able to take down a tank with just a machine gun, but you know, its a video game. And you're a God.
While I do like the variation in the level themes, the level designs are however a pain in the arse. I barely know where I am going half the time because each level seems like a disjointed maze of twists and turns that always seem to lead to dead ends. Finding those POW's really isn't as easy I would have come to expect, so no wonder he waited 20 years to do so.
Controls however are crisp and fluid, and I wouldn't be surprised if the genesis version players better than the arcade, although it's hard for me to judge since I never played it in the arcades. Still, it's hard pressed to find a scrolling shooter where you don't feel like you're spraying all over the place and accidentally running into enemy fire.
One of the biggest surprises is how well the game keeps up with the frame rate. I'm talking about dozens of items on the screen from enemies, to bullets, to background images and the game was still able to keep up. Sure there is a slight slow down when the screen is jam packed, but I was able to move through the game quite fluidly.
Audio is another thing. Sound effects are basic at best, and the soundtrack, well..there are basically two irritating songs played in an infinite loop. I'd rather just mute the music in the background and play a remix of Vietnam war music.
If you're looking to play something revolutionary, Caliber .50 isn't it. It's a mindless, scrolling shooter that follows a basic formula and is meant for nothing more than an hour or so of enjoyment. After that, well, you can just put it back up on your shelf to collect dust. Not bad, not great..just slumping along in the middle of the review spectrum.