Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Rescue Mission is the third title to use the Light Phaser Gun, like the 3-D Glasses the software support for this peripheral has been on the scarce side. While the 3-D Glasses haven't been completely successful as a console extra (see the review of Blade Eagle in TGM007), the Light Phaser uses a much simpler method of operation and. as such, makes for generally better games.
It's jungle warfare yet again on the Sega but this time you're on the defensive, this still means having to slaughter enemy soldiers by the hundreds. A big offensive by your forces has left allied soldiers wounded and behind enemy lines. Central Command has decreed that you, the sharpest shooter in the army, should provide sniper cover while the medics go in to patch up your wounded comrades.
Three medics go in, one at a time, on one of the most advanced of modern military vehicles ... a rickety handcart. They crank the handcart along, stopping at each wounded soldier to patch him up before moving on to the next injured man. The enemy frown on this rescue attempt and, armed with grenades, bazookas missile launchers, bombs and other weaponry, try and prevent the medic getting through.
Direct hits are usually fatal although near-miss explosions, hits by bullets, tear gas or boomerang hits just slow down the handcart. You, too, can hit a medic with the Light Phaser's bullets if you're not careful, though he only falls unconscious until the stars floating around his head are shot. Mines along the track also have to be destroyed otherwise the handcart gets blown off the tracks and the medic killed, whereupon the next medic continues the journey from the start of the zone.
MIKE STEVE AND JOHN
The medics have their own good and bad points: the first, Mike, is slow but steady, Steve is a fast healer of wounds but lazy and has to rest frequently and John is the best all-rounder, but he's the last man and, if lost, it's game over.
Healed soldiers leave behind a special item providing protection against a different enemy weapon. Collecting the first-aid kit has a double effect, healing the medic if he has been wounded and acting as a smart bomb if he hasn't. If a friendly soldier is shot - they can be recognised by the white flags they wave - any collected items are lost.
If the medic makes it safely through to the end of the track, points are awarded based on the number of enemy soldiers shot and allied soldiers successfully treated. The game continues over five levels, from jungle, swamp, village and bridge through to the final ammunition depot.
Like most Sega games, Rescue Mission is immediately playable. The action is continuous and each level is as enjoyable to play in itsell as the game is as a whole.
Mega Cartridge; £19.95
Like the other Light Phaser game Shooting Gallery, quick eye and trigger-finger coordination is essential. The hit radius around each soldier is pretty large so you don't have to be very accurate in aim, as a result the game is a little too easy (it didn't take more than a couple of hours play to complete when it arrived In THE GAMES MACHINE office.) Unlike the average Blade Eagle, the game actually uses the hardware it's Intended for and hasn't just been quickly cobbled together.