Game Over Online ~ Return Fire 2

GameOver Game Reviews - Return Fire 2 (c) Ripcord, Reviewed by - SNiPEZ / Ned /

Game & Publisher Return Fire 2 (c) Ripcord
System Requirements P133, 32MB RAM
Overall Rating 68%
Date Published Friday, September 4th, 1998 at 10:00 PM

Divider Left By: SNiPEZ Divider Right

I can still remember playing Return Fire on my friends 3DO, the game was one of the most original idealistic games. Now the sequel can't even live up to my expectations of the original. This game was definitely the worst use of my 3dFx card ever. Glide is one of my favorite APIs utilized in games today, but unfortunately none of its outstanding features were present.

As I attempted to play split screen multiplayer right before I spent five minutes trying to figure out how to go to the next level after capturing the flag, I knew that the games controls were not the only fault in it's creation. Along with poor controls, old school [looking] graphics were a few other things wrong. My biggest pet-peeve in a game is when you die. You can't start as your next character, with the same life or whatever straight away. You have to watch some lame ass movie or some crappy animations. The 3d skull was about the worst animation I have ever witnessed, I was left in shock as my tank burned on the asphalt.

Without the option of changing controls, using any controller type other than the keyboard was made impossible. I tried playing with the MS Sidewinder Gamepad, Nascar force feedback steering wheel, and with the Gravis Gamepad. Neither controllers even gave me a decent chance at the game, this was one of the greatest downfalls I experienced.

Sure this game is going in the right direction with huge room for promotions medals and other spoils of war, but no matter how hard I try I can't imagine how long it would take before you could actually get even half of them. I usually like playing games with a military chain of command, but this was an exception. Although this could apply to any game with a chain of command I pose a quick question, what the hell is the "General Of the Army" or a Colonel doing driving around in a tank? They should be at their desk covering up conspiracies and so forth.

With only a couple unoriginal game types to play multiplayer, it was not even remotely fun nor was it interesting in any way. For some reason I'm just getting tired of capture the flag and "kill everything that moves" variants, I just hope the next strategy/action game is actually original. The screeching of tires and lame explosions are the extent of the "Intense Sounds and Music". I just can't stand it when a game's feature list lets me down. The lack of full-fledged surround sound and lack of speech made this game not fun to listen to ,and I was forced to play an mp3 in the background to try and make up for it.

The artificial intelligence of this game is atrocious. The enemy tanks will actually drive off into the ocean if you fire some flanking shots at them. They don't cover their base, they don't attack you base, and the don't even come looking to attack you! They just drive around until they see one of your vehicles then start firing.

I have to admit that the amount of multiplayer options and configurations are nice, but the programmers forgot to include settings like mouse sensitivity and key-map configuration which makes the game as un-customizable as the console version. And again the multiplayer is not bad playing with 4 people on a LAN, it was fun but the game got as old and repetitive as the original did in about the same amount of time. Every single multiplayer format I can think of is included even good over serial and split screen. The almost zero lag game gave me a chill, but the fact that it's not exactly the most complex game in the world, I partially expected that there wouldn't be much lag.

I have a few ideas for a couple of things could and should be included into this game. A really cool thing would be to be able to design your own levels, this would allow you to create levels that you and your friends could navigate around easily and also allow you to use all the cool vehicles like the hovercraft device. Also real time speech exchange is a must in a game where you play one on one most of the time. If it is not included the game can get incredibly annoying and extremely repetitive.

Though overall the graphics are three or four-year-old technology, the models and textures on the actual vehicles are pretty amazing. Paired up with the loading sequence when your vehicle leaves the base, these are the only two graphical elements that I felt we even meet the standard of today's gaming. With most games using glide to their full advantage (QUAKE2 in particular) this is at the lower end of the possible graphic advantages.

I'm pretty sure that even if you get RF2 and like it you, will drop it by the end of the week for another strategy/action game with a lot more intense gameplay. Sure this game is fun, but fun isn't the entire measure of a game it has to live up to a lot more or almost every game on the planet would receive a 91% for being fun.

In short if you loved the original get this and be disappointed, if you hated the original get it and mock how bad its Sequel is. If you never played the original crawl out of the rock you were hiding under and I would not suggest grabbing this baby for gaming content only for sentimental reasons. As with most game sequels, the ideas and fun are now either too played out or now just unoriginal, therefore the second game is either not as fun or not fun at all.


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Divider Left By: Ned Divider Right

Everything old is new again. This game is basically COMBAT from the Atari 2600, converted for today's hardware. You have your base and an enemy base - either computer or human controlled if playing over LAN, Internet, etc. You can choose from various vehicles depending on the stage you choose. There are tanks, mobile rocket launchers, helicopters, jeeps, jets, and boats. You choose one and then assault the enemy base from whatever direction you feel is the best. Ammunition is limited so you have to be careful what you shoot at. You can also return a vehicle at any time to your base and get another. I'm not sure if returning to base reloads your vehicle but it probably does. There are two dispatch areas, the air craft carrier and the land base. The flying vehicles and the boats are of course released from the air craft carrier. To return a plane to base you merely fly to the flight deck and cut your throttle to zero - neat.

Return Fire 2 supports D3D, Glide (3dfx) and software rendering. I ran it in Glide of course and it was smooth except for the occasional slight pause. The graphics are clean but a little plain. They are clean though, unlike some games which are fancier overall but sometimes have ugly glitches here and there like obvious texture seams or improperly alpha blended textures. The terrain is a little bit blurrier than most current games but it didn't bother me too much. One thing that was really good was how buildings exploded. Instead of just disappearing under a cloud of smoke or sinking into the ground, buildings actually crumble into chunks of debris as they explode - other games like Urban Assault and Wargames could learn a lesson here. Weapon effects are fairly dull without any of the exciting effects that we see in games like G-Police, Longbow 2 or others. There is no dynamic lighting either which could have made this game look really cool. The vehicles themselves are fairly detailed but only to an "arcade" level of quality.

The sound didn't really blow me away though. You'd expect an earth shaking rumble when you destroy a building or military installment but all you really get is a mild boom sound. I've got the speakers to play back a nice boom, so give me it! Game developers are really playing it safe when they create their sound effects these days, Quake 2 had those wimpy machine guns that went pop! pop! And NFS3 Demo had another set of drab engine revving noises. Assault my ears for once with guns that shatter the silence and engines that really growl. Same goes for you, Return Fire 2. The game doesn't have any speech either, when the enemy attacks certain parts of your base, I would have liked to hear audible warnings from a computer voice.

Is Return Fire 2 more or less fun than Combat for Atari 2600? Well, I recall playing Combat for countless hours. RF2 certainly has better graphics but that's it, the game is basically the same. You versus 1 other opponent, best shot wins. Although it doesn't feel like the best shooter wins because the computer vehicles seem to have more armor. What takes 5 shots to kill your tank, won't for example blow up the enemy tank. Unfair. The menu interface is something that really annoyed me in this game. Nothing is labeled, instead they use not-so clever icons to represent the button function. Problem is, the icons don't really make sense, so to find out what the hell the button does, you are forced to wait for the mouseover text to pop-up that describes what the damn button is for. Luckily Win95 isn't designed quite this badly. The graphics are good enough for today's requirements I believe, but they don't push the envelope. If the graphics aren't the highlight as in a game like Unreal, then that means the gameplay or some other feature has to take up the slack. Return Fire 2 is actually too hard, I played several different maps but found myself getting rocked by the computer even at the lower difficulty settings. I didn't put it all the way down to easy but the game shouldn't have been that hard at the setting I used. RF2 is fun to play and it's unlike most of the other games around, but it didn't knock my socks off. With a bit of tweaking this game could have been a real winner, but I would have to just call this a small victory in an otherwise losing campaign.

Good stuff:
Clean graphics
Good game design
Some nice touches
Multiplayer support

Bad stuff:
Not a cutting edge product - the little details do matter
Drab sound effects


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