Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
At first glance Freedom Fighter appears to be something more than the standard scrolling shoot 'em up. You are presented with an impressive cockpit view of the action as your mission briefing is typed out beneath.
Press start and these hopes quickly evaporate. No 3D action here. A flat scrolling blue sky appears with your jet fighter represented as a tiny dart no more than an inch long.
Your first battle is at sea - with enemy fighters coming at you in neat formations. Submarines emerge from the depths launching missiles at you and gunboats and aircraft carriers add their guns to the bombardment.
The storyline behind this battle royal borrows liberally from the plot of UN Squadron (the recent Capcom coin-op). The world is being threatened by a renegade force who have destroyed the armies and air forces of the world's major powers. Unless they can be stopped they will blow a hole in the ozone layer, spelling certain death for the planet. Only the last fighter belonging to an international security force remains. Guess who's at the controls?
Gameplay is standard horizontal shoot 'em up. Fly from left to right, pick up power ups to increase fire power and blast a variety of nasties until the end of the level where you have to fight the big b*st*rd to enable you to progress to the next level.
It is slightly Scramblesque in that you have to bomb a variety of ground targets as well as the airborne ones. The enemy have installed missile silos on some of the islands in midocean. It is essential that you bomb these out of existence before getting involved in a dogfight at several thousand feet. One stray missile and your Douglas Bader bit comes to a swift conclusion. The bombs can also be used to good effect for taking out enemy aircraft flying below you.
Freedom Fighter has some excellent graphics. Worthy of special mention are the lightning storms during the night flight section of level two and nuclear warheads that emerge, most eerily, from beneath banks of low lying cloud. Enough to give a CND member nightmares. The end-of-level guardians are not quite so impressive - the predictable battle ships and giant bombers demonstrate a distinct lack of imagination.
Whilst Freedom Fighter provides a creditable bout of shoot 'em up, many gamers will be left with the feeling that they have seen it all before. In ACE's view there are better scrolling blasters for the Master System - games like Cloud Master and R-Type to name but two.
£29.99CT OUT NOW
Fairly insipid shoot 'em up. Most good players would clock it with a week's solid play. Less skilled gamers might get a month out of it - but not much more. And once clocked it is unlikely to get plugged in many times after.