Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
SKILL LEVELS 3
Sega's spectacular spinning coin-op goes hand-held. Julian Boardman brought the sick bag
A tactically crucial area of land is being invaded by a fleet of warships and aircraft, not to mention several battalions of tanks. Guess what it is all up to you to destroy every single one and save the day single-handedly, like the ace you are.
Divided into nine missions - which can be over three skill levels - the action is categorised into three tactically distinct styles. The most common is a fighter intercept and destroy mission. The number you have to destroy in the first mission is ten but it could reach nearer 40 or 50 by the end of the campaign.
Then you get the missions where you must fly low and annihilate enemy warships, whilst avoiding the unwelcome attentions of the fighters that will try to defend their precious ships. The difference here is that while you can fly any way you like to take out the planes, to reach the ships you must stay low or your missiles will not lock on.
The final stage adds some real fun as you are told to take out tanks, whilst trying to avoid the enemy planes that swarm around you like bees to a honey pot. It's hard enough trying to hold the Game Gear in your sweaty palms without the thoughts of Paul Hardcastle songs and pictures of Tom Cruise's haircut going through your mind as well.
In between missions you get to spend the bonus points earned by taking out your primary objectives on items to soup up your plane. Everything imaginable is available, for a price: larger fuel tanks, better guns, more missiles, thicker armour, more sick bags, the lot.
Any of the nine missions, except the last where you demolish the enemy bases, can be accessed directly. However, if you cheat and go straight to the eighth stage, you'll suffer immeasurable embarrassment because you failed to build up all your armour and weaponry on the earlier stages. Of course, if you're totally hopeless to begin with, you won't notice much difference.
To say this game was gung-ho would be a bit of an understatement. It is all very enjoyable for the first few games, but soon becomes annoying as you get far into it, die, and find you have to start over. Anyone who doesn't build up their weaponry on the early stages is wreckless, yet the process of equipping your ship becomes very tedious after a few goes. After playing G-Loc for 30 minutes, I found it very difficult to persevere in order to get further into the game. No doubt this is an indication of its arcade success, where you get to swing around in Sega's R360 motorised propulsion unit (as seen on Tomorrow's World). You can pop in your 50p, have a quick blast and leave it unperturbed. Indeed, Sega's Afterburner achieved similar success due to its arcade cabinet, but few people actually thought the game content was up to much, as the home versions proved.
Compared to previous Game Gear releases, G-Loc is visually impressive, although the sound is a disappointment. If you play your games in short bursts, the frenetic action of G-Loc is fine. But if you're looking for a longtime companion for your Game Gear, forget it; this one won't last a month.
✘ Dull vector scenery.
✔ Fast moving sprites; no blur.
✘ The tune has just three notes.
✘ Unimaginative effects poorly done.
✘ Repetiive over all the stages.
✔ Ideal to pick up and play at any time.
£24.99 • OUT NOW