Line of Fire logo

US GOLD £24.99 * Mouse

There's chattering machinegun fire, ear-popping grenade impacts, the clatter of spent cartridges and the thump of bodies hitting the deck. Act fast, you're in the Line of Fire. Never before has such destructive potential been harnessed by one man. But never before has one man had to fight such ridiculous odds.

Line Of Fire (LOF) brought a new angle to the arcade stand-up blasts. Panning, like a film camera, the players view swooped around the battleground. The mobile standpoint allowed air, land and river battles to be enacted as players were thrown down valleys, ruins and similar locations, each filed to sardine-standards with trigger-happy enemies.

Crate Stuff

LOF sends one or two players, and five credits, on an eight-level charge into the channel house. They have an unlimited supply of bullets, but limited life and grenades. These can be topped up by shooting first-aid packs and crates of bombs. All you have to do is blast the bad guys before they do the same unto you.

With a mouse-controlled cursor the impact point of the bullet can be chosen. The left button sends a hail of white-hot lead-death blasting towards the crosshairs. The right button fires a rifle grenade that smart bombs everything on screen.


Incoming bullets register with an "Ugh!", a flashing damage sign and an energy deduction from your status bar. Incoming rockets can be shot if you're quick enough, but thankfully the enemy never master never the same trick.

The enemy win by a process of attrition, because most fall after a single shot. Yet when one dies there's always another eager and ready to take their place; their sights trained on your frail bod. After blasting through a level you have to take on a particularly tough piece of hardware or bullet merchant. These guys must be hit with everything you've got, if you are to reach the post-stage health bonus.

It's Raining Lead!

The action is fast and the bullets rain down. The graphics mimic their arcade parent as well as any non-custom circuit set could hope to. The bullet-ridden victims look good, the explosions are bright and the cursor crosshair is readily visible - occasionally, though, the colours are rather odd and the sprites unfortunately tend to look rather blocky. Pity.

Most impressive is the panoramic feel that's straight from the arcade version. On the final 'chopper' level the whole level spins beneath your feet. Canyons turn to reveal whole corridors lined with soldiers, while on the river section unexpected turns hurl even more dangers your way. They are not as polished as the original, and it has the occasional slowdown, but they are a strong imitation.

The games pace inspires a sharp intake of breath. When a level's complete, the volume of foes alone ensures this, but there are maybe too many health packs for LOF's own good, as there is a bonus at the end of each level, so you never start a level totally knack'ed.

Two Player + Five Credits = Trouble

With two players LOF has a tougher edge. There are the same number of pick-ups regardless of the number of players and only five credits. So while the solo shooter has enough credits to 'buy through' the tougher levels, duos compete for the health packs, grenades and extra lives.

Tactically it's vital to remember that you need only worry about half the screen, because only the enemies in front of your blaster actually shoot at you. This is where the twisting nature of the screen helps LOF leave Op Thunderbolt for dead, as it sweeps you into enemies paths. Expect the unexpected!

The gameplay is largely reliant on the speed of a soldier's shot. Yet careful observation can pay high dividends on the survival front. Each guardian has a specific weakness and attack pattern, work it out and they soon cease to be troublesome. The abundance of health packs means that priorities of attack vary from level to level. Sometimes it's best to kill continuously, at other points it's advisable to hunt for first-aid kits. It even pays to die in certain circumstances, if you've credits left, to provide a fresh supply of health and grenades.

LOF is good violent fun. There's absolutely no strategy, no justification for such blatant aggression and no subtlety; just heads down, guns-blasting action. LOF lacks staying power, once the game has been completed. This is aggravated by the game's leaning towards the easier side of life. LOF's instant hook, however, cannot be denied. "Exterminate all the brutes", Mr Kurtz once said and he was right, at least about Line of Fire.

Zum Abschuß freigegeben

Line of Fire logo

Sega hat ja zu Recht einen klangvollen Namen, was Arcade-Automaten betrifft, und U.S. Gold bringt von den Dingern auch oft recht brauchbare Umsetzungen heraus. Nur leider nicht immer...

Segas Original-Automat gehört mit zum brutalsten, was man so in einer Spielhalle finden kann: Zwei Spieler können simultan mit MPs auf unplötzlich auftauchende Soldaten und allerlei Kriegsgerät feuern, Handgranaten wergen und Extras aufsammeln.

Das Gemetzel wird dabei in farbenprächtiger, irre schneller Grafik gezeigt und mit so realistischen Soundeffekten untermalt, daß man meint, tatsächlich auf einem Schlachtfeld zu sein. Was nun aber U.S. Gold daraus gemacht hat, ist mehr als kläglich!

Besonders die Grafik ist voll in die Hose gegangen: Sämtliche Gegner sind so grob gezeichnet, daß sie kaum noch zu identifizieren sind, die Hintergründe sind zwar nach wie vor recht farbenfroh, aber unglaublich primitiv gestaltet, und alles miteinander ruckelt nach Leibeskräften. Der Sound geht einigermaßen (die Effekte klingen allerdings schon ein bißchen traurig), die Steuerung ist gut, wenigstens solange man mit der Maus spielt (linker Knopf MP, rechter Handgranaten).
Dann erreicht man schon bald problemlos den fünften der insgesamt acht Level, im Joystickbetrieb kommt man hingegen kaum über den ersten hinaus (hier müssen die Handgranaten per Shift-Taste aktiviert werden).

Line of Fire ist eine der schlampigsten Produktionen, die ich je das Mißvergnügen hatte zu testen. Da bleibt wirklich nur die Hoffnung, die BPS möge das stümperhafte Ballerspektakel baldmöglichst aus dem Verkehr ziehen - sonst kauft es womöglich noch jemand! (C.Borgmeier)

Line of Fire logo CU Amiga Screen Star

One of the first games to emerge from USG's recent exclusive tie-in with the arcade giants Sega, Line Of Fire is an Operation Thunderbolt-style shoot 'em up spanning eight stages. However, whereas Operation Thunderbolt was played along horizontally and forward-scrolling levels, Line Of Fire goes one better and combines the two by allowing the player to turn corners - effectively combining the two - a system that Sega's dedicated sprite handling software could handle with ease, but could cause more than a few problems for the Amiga.

Fresh from their success with the Rotoscape system, Creative Materials were duly given the unenviable job of recreating Line Of Fire - scrolling system and all - and, to their credit, they have produced what must rank as one of the best conversions of a Sega coin-op that the Amiga has seen.

In case you aren't familiar with the coin-op, Line Of Fire follows the same all-action route trodden by Operation Wolf and its sequel, with one or two players blasting their way through wave after wave of enemy foot soldiers, boats and tanks. The action is viewed as through the eyes of the soldiers, with the smooth dual scrolling bringing the massive sprites that make up the gun and missile-toting enemy towards you.

A cursor is used to aim your weapon, and is moved around using either the joystick or the mouse, with the respective buttons of each firing a stream of bullets or lobbing a grenade into the fray. Care should be taken when firing, though, as your ammo supplies are limited to a few clips of bullets and a handful of grenades, although further supplies can be picked up by shooting the relevant icon as and when they appear on screen. Likewise, medical caches can be collected in the same manner and replace any energy lost due to enemy fire. If, however, your energy reaches zero, one of your five credits will be lost.

The basic scenario of the game is that you and your buddy have succeeded on a mission to breach the unnamed enemy's defences and have stolen a prototype machinegun. Controlling the two heroes, your aim is to guide them safely back through the eight stages between the enemy base and relative safety, using the liberated gun to defend yourselves.

Each of the stages is detailed on a map that appears between levels, and your journey begins with you sprinting through cramped corridors of the enemy base, before engaging the enemy forces as you battle through the treacherous caverns and rivers that must be negotiated. In addition, waiting at the end of each stage is a massive guardian which may take the form of a helicopter or a tank and can only be destroyed by repeated fire or a few grenades.

With the exception of a reduced number of sprites on screen, Creative have somehow managed to squeeze practically everything from the coin-op into this Amiga version. More importantly, this versions seems to have more playability than its arcade parent, and certainly more than Ocean's two Taito games.

Granted, there are a few rough edges to the graphics, but when you consider just how much is on screen and the speed at which it moves, this is more than understandable. In addition, the sound isn't all it could have been, and the explosive effects are a little weak. I do feel that perhaps Line Of Fire's difficulty level should have been tweaked to make it harder, but even so with is a brilliant shoot 'em-up and one that warrants immediate attention.

Cramming the Line Of Fire coin-op into the Amiga is an impossible feat, so Creative Materials had to decide which aspects of the game were dispensible. The main difference between the two versions are to do with the graphics.
They aren't quite as detailed and there are less stepping frames as and when the sprites are enlarged and updated. In addition, Creative opted for less enemies on screen which, luckily, doesn't affect the gameplay. Instead, it means that Amiga Line of Fire can run at a faster rate.
The sprites were transferred directly from the coin-op via a piece of screen grabbing hardware and then retouched. This saved a lot of time and hassle and also made the conversion slightly more accurate than if they had been drawn from scratch - a feat that would have taken months of work.

Line of Fire logo

US Gold, C64 £10.99 cassette, £15.99 disk; Amiga £24.99

A two-man team is sent in to smash a terrorist group who possess more military hardware than the US Army. Both commandos are armed with unlimited ammo machine guns and a couple of smart-bomb grenades. Each player has just one life and a health bar (improved with medical packs). The game's main innovation is that you walk forward and turn, swinging all the graphics around.

There are eight levels in all, each with a mega-challenge at the end such as an aircraft dropping dozens of troops. Levels include the jungle, desert, and canyons as well as travelling in a speedboat and flying in a jet!

Robin Hogg Both conversions have made a brave attempt to translate the coin-op's novel 3-D rotation system, the C64 game being quite impressive on level one (but not two). However, there's so few enemies and dull end-level confrontations that the whole game feels completely lifeless. The Amiga version almost suffers from too many enemies, but apart from the above-average 3-D (at the cost of blocky graphics) there's little to commend it with dull gameplay.
Stuart Wynne LOF looked awesome in the arcades and it was always going to be a struggle to convert it. The Amiga version predictably comes closest to the coin-op with plenty of speed and an almost overwhelming number of enemies. However, the graphics are a bit blocky and it's all a bit too hard. Without the coin-op's stunning graphics the repetitiveness of gameplay is obvious. This is even more the case with the C64 where, though the 3-D effect is quite impressive, there are simply too few enemies to make an exciting game.