The hundred years war

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NOBODY said it was going to be easy, but on the other hand nobody said it was going to be quite as hard as this. You have been cut off deep behind enemy lines with little or no equipment. The battle now is for survival. Interestingly, no mention is made of who you are fighting. Could be any frontier, any hemisphere: Nicaragua, Honduras, rerun invasions, death squad Salvador - one world and it is a battleground. Where is there a more just cause for fighting, where is there a better motto than "Fight or Die"?

Armed initially with only a single-shot repeater and an unlimited supply of ammo you will come face to face with enemy marines, tanks, frogmen, motorbikes, helicopters and planes.

The levels all look fairly similar, from a strategic point of view at least. There are usually one or two pieces of scenery hanging around in the foreground for the player - or players if you plugged in a second joystick and went for the two-player option - to cower and cringe behind. Beyond this are one or two structure like buildings and walls for the enemy to hide behind.

Moving the joystick left and right, up and down moves the aiming sight in the respective direction. Unfortunately, it also moves your man - you cannot aim far right while being on the left-hand of the screen. This makes things more interesting. It is not enough just to be able to aim excellently, but you must also keep a careful eye on your own current position. Stray into enemy fire and it is Goodnight Vienna, Berlin, Moscow and Saigon.

The enemy will pop up, fairly predictably, have a few shots at you, take advantage of any natural cover and run off again. Dodge grenades, bullets and shells. If you move fast enough you can roll along the ground and miss everything.

Pull the joystick down quickly to throw a grenade. In my experience this is nearly always done by accident. Grenades are useful for dispatching the frequently appearing tanks and the odd crowd of persistent attackers. They are fairly effective against buildings too - remember, it is important to destroy these quite rapidly so you can see what is going on.

Hitting some targets will release bonuses in the form of advanced weaponry or extra grenades, but you will have to be quick.

Once you have killed a certain number of baddies you will progress to the next scene. There are four scenes to each level and each level ends with the customary superhuman bad thing that requires a high degree of manual dexterity and more than a modicum of blast power to get rid of.

Animation-wise there is nothing to get too excited over. The tanks are quite good but the rest would not look too much out of place on an 8-bit machine. The colours chosen seem to be a little strange but I would not want them doing my interior decorating.

The two-player option is interesting. It is one of the few games of this type where two people playing together will end up cooperating rather than competing.