Front Line, 1982 Taito
VERY difficult vertically-scrolling game with a military theme. You are a soldier fighting the good fight through enemy territory, on your way to eventually destroy the enemy fortress. To begin, you are on the battlefield replete with bunkers and land mines. Enemy soldiers appear and attack with pistol fire and grenades, as can you to them. The controls are very difficult to get used to (and even harder to emulate): you have an 8-way joystick to control your soldier, a rotary dial to turn your pistol (or your grenade-chucking arm) in 8 directions– and the dial also can be pushed inwards to fire– and a button for chucking the grenades. Whew! Note a few things: 1) your bullets travel further than the enemy, 2) the bunkers are good to hide behind to avoid enemy fire and chuck grenades over, 3) big explosions like your grenade blast radius and destroying land mines can take out multiple soldiers at once (though the grenade will only blow up when it lands from its arc– otherwise it can just pass through a soldier), and 4) you REALLY need to get used to the controls so you can QUICKLY take out enemies from all directions, since they can gang up on you if you don’t take care of them right away.. so take ’em out as soon as possible. Also, if you dawdle, a giant boulder may bounce at you. After traveling a while upwards you will FINALLY come to the tank area. You can board a tank (big and small) by pressing the grenade button when you’re near the tank– BLUE ones are your tanks and GREEN ones are the enemies’! Pressing the grenade button while in a tank will make you jump back out– this is good to know when your tank gets shot, since you have to get out quickly and move away from the impending blast radius! Your grenades while on foot can take out the tanks, which is nice.. and necessary for the enemy fort up ahead– nope, you can’t blast it with your tank’s shots. Once you destroy the fort with one single grenade you move on to the next battlefield, and each fort destroyed afterwards is worth 1,000 points more than the last. Scoring doesn’t seem to come easy in this game.. nor does much success– it’s a damn hard game, but worth playing since it’s closer to war-like scenarios than most other arcade games of the time. This popular game was seen pretty much at ALL the arcades back in the day.
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