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-
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-
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-
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-
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-