Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Rambo, defender of mom's apple pie and all things right of the Republicans, has gone to Afghanistan to battle the Russians. Well, in his third film he has, because in real life he'd have trouble finding any Russian soldiers to murder since they're all pulling out.
Still, that hasn't stopped Sega producing this game-of-the-fllm. The film centres on mass genocide and Sega has decided to capture the ambience of an abbatoir with an Operation Wolf style game, played over a left to right horizontally scrolling landscape. Soldiers pop up from all angles and are blasted with a well-aimed shot of the light phaser before they open fire. If an enemy manages to shoot a couple of rounds out of the screen, some of Rambo's energy is lost, represented by a bar at the bottom of the screen. A depleted bar means death, so good hand-to-eye co-ordination is required to survive.
Ammo is limited, and the rounds remaining are shown next to the energy bar. If the ammo Is completed used up, the player can only fire very short bursts of fire. If things are particularly grim, either a grenade or rocket can be launched to kill everything on-screen.
If the player survives for a predetermined time, energy and ammo remaining are converted to bonus points, and the second level begins with even more soldiers and helicopters to contend with. The game continues in this fashion, with an increasing number of forces every level.
Rambo III is an unashamed Operation Wolf rip-off, but It's a good one and combines great graphics and smooth scrolling with some very challenging and frenetic gameplay. In fact it's almost too hard, and it takes an awful lot of practice to get past the second level - mind you, when you're shelling out this much money for a game, you want something that lasts more than a few nights of play!
By only gripe is that there isn't a joycard option. As a result many Sega owners will miss out - a shame, because Rambo III is an excellent game.