Monday, 30 November 2009

Retro lookback # 9 - Cannon Fodder - Amiga

War, according to Sensible Software, has never been so much fun. And I'm inclined to agree. A refreshing change to the platform games that came out at that time, Cannon Fodder did spark some controversy when it was released. Sporting a great big poppy, the Royal British Legion weren't too pleased about it. So, a disclaimer was put at the start of the game and all was right with the universe again. So once more unto the breach, dear friends.

Have you got a license for those guns?

Starting off with 4 soldiers (Jools, Jops, Stoo and another one who's name escapes me), you trundle through the jungle, shooting the enemy and wading through waist deep rivers. After a few missions, you get to use new toys like grenades and bazookas, to blow up huts and enemy underground bunkers. Even in a few missions, you can even kill a few villagers if you have a nasty side. After a few more, you can drive snowmobiles and take control of gun turrets to help you take out the bad guys. Some of the enemy even come equiped with their own bazookas and have no hesitation in firing upon you, even if you're hiding behind one of their huts, in some ways helping you in one of your objectives.
So, how does it play then? Absolutely marvellously. Some missions are sodding hard though and take nearly all your troops to accomplish. Every time you go back to Boot Hill, you'll see new crosses for their graves, making you feel a little bit guilty when they get killed. One feature, is once they've completed a successful set of missions, your men get promoted the longer they're alive. Using a mouse, you point and click where you want your men to go and where you want them to fire. Clicking on two of your men can assign them to their own unit, bringing tactics into play. Clicking on an enemy hut with both mouse buttons unleashes either a Rocket or Grenade, depending on what you have selected.


The sounds are quite sparse, but then it is meant to be in either the jungle or the antarctic, where the population is sparse, aprt from the eskimos. You do get machine gun fire, the sound of grenades being lobbed, rockets being fired and men screaming in pain when shot. Also, they continue to scream if they have been dealt a fatal shot but are not dead, meaning you can shoot them again and again and again, making them do rabbit hops. The music is great, with the main track, War Has Never Been So Much Fun, being sung by some of the team. The CD32 version has a video intro accompanying the title song, with all the Sensible team dressed up in full army uniform. You can see the game has been made with care and attention to detail and it plays excellently.hat doesn't detract
The graphics are awesome, with bucket loads of detail everywhere. The water moves, fires roar in the villagers camps adn an occasional bird flies overhead. It is sometimes hard to see your men on the jungle missions as your men are in green as well. But that doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the game.
The only niggles are that some of the missions when you start are too hard. Apart from that, theres plenty here to recommend it. Even the second one can't surpass it, even though it is good, but you can't beat the original.

4/5 A JSW Nearly Flawless Victory.

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