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Reviewed: Bang! Gunship Elite
Author: Chris Kim       Date: August 20th, 2000
Page: 3

AI seems to be a bit of a mixed bag. Some of the enemy units are very smart and understand what they are doing. For example, the player could be chasing after an enemy ship, when all of a sudden the ship disappears. Where did it go? It was smart enough to go and hide behind an asteroid that blocked the view of the player and radar. Sometimes it would make me just smile to see the AI capable of doing such tasks. However, the problem was that the ship would do this every single time until it was completely destroyed. This seemed to show a lack of intelligence. Other times, when attacking enemy ships, they just seem to fly on by without any real concern. They come by and start shooting their weapons at the player's ship and that is it to the AI.

Multiplayer is just as simple and shallow as the single player game is. It involves a simple deathmatch of trying to destroy the other ship the quickest. There are no real advantages or disadvantages to playing with multiple players aside from the fact that the other ships are controlled by other humans, typically resulting in smarter moves. Connection services are available from both Microsoft's own Zone and MPlayer also hosts multiplayer services for players who wish to connect for a space battle.

Huge Boom
Asteroid Clutter
Come to Papa

Being an arcade game, the interface isn't too complex. At first glance, the wide range of icons and meters all over the place might seem overwhelming, this is not the case, however. A majority of these meters will have no direct impact on the status of the game nor will it be necessary to have a full understanding of all of the meters and their functions. Only the shield and life levels will needed to be kept an eye on. These are all color coded and just like the graphics, are easily discernable and easy to look at. All the information that is needed, life, ammo, acceleration, and score are all easy to find and read in the HUD.

Controls are just as simple as any other shooter. The controls take heavily after first-person shooters with the keyboard and mouse control, and that is a good thing because the control is smooth and responsive, it feels natural. Keyboard and controls can be reassigned to different key combinations, unfortunately, not all functions can be remapped nor is there an option to invert the mouse control. Force feedback is another strong point of the game, it seems that from the start, this is the type of game that force feedback was designed for, the response is simply amazing and incredibly fun to play with.

Mission Failed Equals Fireworks
In My Crosshairs!
Explosive Nebula

Possibly the best feature about the game is the extraordinary graphics. There are no games that really compete at the same level of Bang! Gunship Elite's graphics. These are the most pretty, detailed, and impressive graphics ever seen in a space game to date. The explosions are easily the most pretty and exciting pieces of eye candy ever seen. It is a delight just to boot the game up and take a look at the game itself. The colors and translucencies created by the explosions and nebulae are amazing and must be seen in action to really experience the full effect. The dynamic lighting that creates light on other objects is astounding and is simply some of the best looking lighting seen to date. Weapons have an attractive light, just like the explosions. Models are just as attractive, with some of the funkiest and oddest space ships ever seen before.

All this comes without a huge performance dip. At 1024x768 with 32-Bit color enabled, there was virtually no slow down at all on the test bed machine. This is quite an accomplishment on a "low-end" machine such as the one the game was played on. The backgrounds that the game uses are some of the most detailed and crisp textures ever seen. Imagine the earth background on one of the Unreal Tournament maps with S3TC enabled, this is what most of the other backgrounds and textures look like in Bang! Gunship Elite.

Is That a Nuke?
Blasto Gone-o
Crash With Mars?

There is nothing special about the sound in the game. Basically, it has the standard fare of explosions, weapon effects, and the collisions. These sounds are not terribly good nor bad, just average compared to other space games. Music tends to be on the quiet side, with no real distinct music playing except when in menus. Speech, when the player is briefed, is decent, but nothing terribly special. Overall, the sound is quite average and offers nothing that hasn't already been seen in other space games before.

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Added:  Sunday, August 20, 2000
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Page: 3/5

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