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Are you the proud owner of a Trojan Light Phazer? Well this is a blast-em-up just for you. So sit down, dig out the Dirty Harry Ray Bans and let the evil alien hoards of 2039 AD deep space make your day. Of course, you don't strictly need a Light Phazer to play Space Gun. But the Operation Wolf-style gameplay is farcical if approached with a joystick and unconvincing (it's not really Clint Eastwood's style is it?) with a mouse. So to get the most from the game, it's standard-issue Light Phazers all round.

You play the part of a trigger-happy crew member aboard an exploratory craft, bravely going where no person has gone before. A distress signal has been received from a crippled spaceship and so (pausing only to grab your trusty Phazer, dash for the transporter room, painfully pick yourself up from the floor, go back and and unplug your trusty Light Phazer, and head for the transporter room again) you mount your heroic rescue attempt.

The crew of the crippled ship have been taken hostage by a gang of extra-terrestrial hard nuts. So you must explore (well, allow yourself to be led down) all the corridors and passages of the ship, shoot all the aliens, allow the hostages to run for safety and then make good your escape.

Going Solo?
Two players can join the action together (although only one of you can brandish a Phazer) and the combined fire-power enables you to get a lot further through the game than in a one-player romp. Yes, the aliens are tough. Very tough. So unless you are Clint Eastwood, you'll have to rely on your special weapons and a steady flow of power-ups if you're going to make much solo progress.

Your basic weapon is a standard Han Solo-issue blaster. It will kill anything, eventually. But diligently keeping an unfortunate alien in your sights often allows his mates to sneak round the side and plant one on you. So you've got a choice - either keep spraying the entire screen with a liberal helping of photon death, or concentrate on grabbing yourself some porkier military hardware.

You start off with two extra weapons: a flame-thrower (usually packing a short, sharp shock to persuade any untoward alien to mend his ways) and a grenade launcher that will send an alien in so many different ways that any thoughts of mending anything can be scrapped.

Also at your disposal is a Blade Weapon and a Freeze Gun that turn even the most animated or over-excited alien fiend into a sitting duck. These weapons (along with body armour and energy restorers) can be found hidden within the crates and wall-mountings that make up the interior of the crippled ship, so just keep blasting away and you'll soon be rewarded.

Actually, you can't shoot all the time. Every now and then a hostage will make a dash for freedom. Allow him to run off screen and a 'Thank you' message informs you you're a step closer to your objective. Also, the special weapons need time to recharge (not to mention your trigger finger) so pausing for breath is advisable. But apart from these minor inconveniences, it's just blast, blast, blast.

All the right stuff
As an Operation Wolf clone, Space Gun has got all the right ingredients. The action is fast and furious, stretching reflexes to the limit. The graphics are excellent, the sound effects suitably gruesome and there are loads of different alien scum to blast. If Light Phazer games are what you like, then you won't be disappointed. But there's just not enough 'real' game here to convert the uninitiated.

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Vor einem Jahr noch in der Spielhalle, heute bereits am Amiga - Ocean hat sich Tatios futuristische Ballerorgie vorgeknöpft. Allerdings war das Game schon als Münz-Schlucker kein Reißer, und in der Heimversion fehlen natürlich auch die aufmontierten Pumpguns...

Wer also nicht wenigstens eine Lightgun besitzt, wird hier kaum in einen Blutrausch verfallen - Space Gun hat nichts zu bieten, was man nicht schon vom indizierten "Operation Donnerschlag" oder U.S. Golds "Alienstorm" kennt. Wieder fließt die rote Brühe gleich hektoliterweise, wieder zerballert man vorbeiscrollende Einrichtungsgegenstände und Aliens, wieder erschießt man sich Extras wie Zusatzenergie und -waffen, wieder ist die ganze Chose auf Dauer eher enschläfernd...

Sinn der Übung ist es, die zehnköpfige Crew einer Raumstation zu befreien, die von Außerirdischen überfallen wurde. Gelegentlich hinter (zuvor auch durchlöchernden) Türen auftauchende Geiseln sollten also nicht aufgemischt werden, dafür gibt es ja auch genügend Monster und Mutanten.

Bis zu zwei Spieler dürfen die große Säuberungsaktion durchziehen, wobei der eine mit dem Stick zugange ist, während der Kollege die Mäusekanonen bearbeitet. Wie bereits angedeutet, kann auch eine Lightgun zum Einsatz kommen, allerdings ausschließlich das Modell der Firma "Trojan". Da in diesem Modus dann kein Fadenkreuz zu sehen ist, läßt es sich zwar nicht so genau zielen, dafür kommt eher Spielhallen-Feeling auf.

Genau wie beim Automaten reduzieren Feindberührungen auch hier den Energiehaushalt, und ein Radar zeigt an, wie weit die Monster noch entfernt sind. Als Zusatzwummen gibt es einen Flammenwerfer, Granaten und eine Freezegun, die die Gegner quasi "kaltstellt".

Nun könnte das alles ja ganz lustig sein, bloß ist die Grafik auf der Disk halt noch einfallsloser, als sie es am Automaten schon war: Die Hintergründe sind ziemlich uninspiriert gezeichnet, in den acht Leveln trifft man häufig die gleichen Aliens.

Na, immerhin sind die Viecher ansprechend groß und hinterlassen auch hier oft und gerne blutige Kratzer am Screen. Daß man mal dreidimensional ins Bild ein läuft, horizontal (und leicht ruckelig) gescrollt wird, macht aus Space Gun nun auch kein originelles Game mehr - da war die Pedalerie, mit der man die Scrollgeschwindigkeit der Arcademaschine regulieren konnte, schon von besseren Eltern.

Dort hat uns auch der Sound besser gefallen, hier geht das ewige "Ratatatatat" mit der Zeit ganz schön auf die Nerven.

Was soll man sagen, es ist halt gekommen, wie es kommen mußte: Aus einem gemeinen Wald- und Wiesenfrosch wird durch Küssen kein Prinz - warum sollte aus einem höchst mittelprächtigen Automaten durch die Umsetzung auf einen 16Bit-Rechner ein berauschendes Spiel werden? Wunder können Programmierer der Truppe Images Software nicht vollbringen, tatsächlich hat es nur zu einer leidlich amüsanten Digi-Schießbude gereicht. (L. Bunder)

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Oblique title or what? Still, there's nothing I love more than a nice bit of computer simulated violence, especially when it involves several thousand reptile creatures, plenty of power-ups and - yes! - the chance to use the Trojan light phaser.

Space Gun is not what you'd define as complex. The computer moves your character around (i.e. side to side, down, up and into the screen) a network of space-station corridors. Several thousand aliens attempt to maim and kill you (the bloodied claw-marks left on the screen are a nice touch) while you simply move a cross-hair around (unless you're using the lightgun, in which casing you're firing purely by aim) taking pot-shots at the aliens, shooting power-ups, and attempting to free hostages.

What does strike me a little odd about this release is that fact that Ocean are about to release Operation Thunderbolt on their much cheaper budget label. Which would be alright if Space Gun was the better game. It isn't. So:

THRILL as another monster gets burned with the flame thrower. CHILL out as the freeze gun is used to make reptile lollipops. SPEW up as the scythe power-up takes the bad guys out limb by limb. SAVE the hostages, or shoot them in a fit of utter evilness. WONDER why the game is so limited. COMPARE it to Operation Thunderbolt, and think that maybe it would be a better bet going for the budget option.

POUNDER on why they decided to convert such an average arcade game in the first place. SLEEP as the gameplay gets just a bit repetitive, despite the end-of-level baddies, and swanky 3D bits. CRY as you try to fill out a review on such a simple game.
Phew, I think I made it.

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After the formula worked so well in Beast Busters, Ocean's conversion of Taito's Space Gun again uses the same mix of the horror genre and the ever-popular Operation Thunderbolt game-style. Thus, in a scenario straight out of James Cameron's Aliens, the player is left to wander the apparently-empty corridors of a dark base in search of numerous trapped hostages, armed only with a pulse laser and a limited supply of grenades.

Whilst the gameplay offered nothing new, though, the Space Gun coin-op simply oozed atmosphere, and this conversion recreates it perfectly with its ominous heartbeats and eerie squeals following every movement.

Busters veteran, Henry Clark's conversion features all the gruesome explosions and strange creatures that graced the coin-op, along with other new features the machine introduced. For instance, whereas Operation Thunderbolt and its many clones force the player to follow a set route, Space Gun occasionally throws up a choice, with the player allowed to select one of two routes during key sections of the game.

One notable loss from the arcade parent is, unfortunately, inevitable, though. Whereas we're all used to seeing Uzis stuck on to the front of game cabinets, the Space Gun machine housed two futuristic rifles which sported an impressive pump action to load in your many freeze grenades, smart bombs and fireballs. On the Amiga this has given way to the right mouse button which, whilst it is every bit as effective, just isn't the same somehow. However, to give Ocean and Images their due, they have made the game compatible with Trojan's Light Gun, adding to the fun immensely - somewhat surprisingly, it also proves to be very accurate, too.

Having selected a one or two-player game, the game opens with the player moving slowly into the shadowy corridors ahead. As can be expected, this is typical Op Thunderbolt territory, except that the dark secretions the Aliens have left on the walls and the general feeling of glooms that the graphics and sound give, raise the game above even Beast Busters in terms of atmosphere.

With the mouse guiding your cross-hair, the game's many aliens tart to appear from the distance, and pressing the left mouse button sends a stream of laserfire towards them. These nasties range from the expected facehugger clones to a variety of multi-armed reptiles and ant-like creatures. Contact with these saps your already-limited health - represented by a set of red, dripping claw marks across the screen - so they must be shot before getting too close. However, as the game progresses, they get harder to kill and care must be taken not to wound any of the hostages within a level.

Each level winds its way through a separate section of the base, past multi-floored decks - complete with gaping acid holes in the floor - and eventually to the escape shuttle which represents the end of the game. However, should all the hostages within a level be wiped out or your energy and credits fully depleted, your mission will be prematurely ended. Likewise, in the final battle within the shuttle, if too many shots slam into the ship's cockpit, the craft will be rendered unusable and your mission deemed a failure.

Gun's levels scroll smoothly in the four compass directions as you pad through the base, and the graphics change accordingly as you get nearer the heart of the Aliens' lair. Also, blocking your eit to the next area are a series of larger mutants who, in time-honoured fashion, must be shot repeatedly until they eventually explode. Graphically though, these guardians are nothing short of stunning, with huge tentacles creatures dominating the screen or legions of smaller creatures making an appearance - brilliant stuff.

Although there are only a few additions to the tried and tested game-style, at least Space Gun offers fast and uncompromising gameplay. The attention to detail adds a certain edge over others in the genre, with plasti-glass doors shattering, and humans mutating into aliens whilst others scurry across the ceiling. One fault I will levy, though, is that the action doesn't vary a great deal, but the continuous changing of the backdrops (which includes a jeep ride across the planet's surface) and the multitude of new Aliens ensures that it will keep your interest.

I am a major fan of the coin-op, and this is the best conversion anyone could possible have hoped for. Very few details have been lost considering the Amiga's relatively-low specifications compared to the arcade game, and this makes of a solid - if unoriginal - shoot 'em up.

THE SQUEAL THING Space Gun's sound is simple but very effective, with a thumping heartbeat and numerous sampled Alien squeals accompanying the action. As the player gets closer to the guardian, the heartbeat starts to speed up, and whenever the player concedes a hit a loud groan signalls the loss of energy. Plus, whenever an Alien egg or a breakable object is hit, there is a loud splat or crashing noise. The game's sound was handled by Images' veteran, Matt Simmons, who sampled the effects from the coin-op before reproducing them using Noisetracker on the Amiga. Bearing in mind how well they add to the atmosphere, it is even more surprising to learn that they take up less than 50k of the complete code.

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Armed with a large plastic gun and the reflexes a three-toed sloth, Lord Paul Lakin was ready for Space Gun but was it ready for him?

Isn't progress a wonderful thing? 400 years ago, if you wanted to practice shooting at moving targets, you had to take your bow and arrow down to the village green and pay a servant to run around with a target painted on his bottom. A couple of hundred years later, you could go down the funfair and take pot-shots at tin ducks on a pulley system. Then came arcade machines like Operation Wolf, with toy guns on the front and lots of characters running around onscreen trying to get shot. After that? Well, after that there was a lot more of the same.

Like Oppo Wolf, Space Gun started life as an arcade machine. Like Wolf, the scenario (all to do with aliens taking over your spaceship) isn't too important. So how does it differ from all the other shoot 'em up arcade conversions? Well, for starters it's in space, and for seconds it's, well, that's about it really. Oh, and it does come with a light gun. More about that later.

The aim of the game is to kill some things and rescue others. The things you're meant to kill tend to have an overdose of limbs and make nasty, howling noises. They're not very polite and tend to dribble a lot. The things you're meant to rescue have two legs and wear T-shirts. They're very polite, and if you rescue them they say thank you. If you shoot them, they don't.

The graphics are dead active and, above all, dead gorey. Monsters don't just drop down dead, oh dear me no. First their arms and legs drop off, then they explode in your face in a last desperate attempt to throttle you with their small intestine. Screens end up littered with dead bodies and severed limbs. As well as leggy monsters that swipe at you, there are all sorts of horrible, crawly things and some gruesome sucker things that stick to you, leeching away until you shoot them off.

Space Gun has a two-player option, allowing you and a friend t have fun a-battling together. Go into action with a mouse in each hand - if you don't kill anything, you can at least nibble them to death.

Amiga reviewPaul: Space Gun scores very high in the atmosphere stakes. This opens the possibility of loads of jokes about gravity and pubs on the moon, but fortunately I haven't time to make them. As well as the graphics being all-bloody and busy, there's a healthy dollop of atmospheric sounds and music. All very sci-fi filmy, and a much better way of getting into the mood than borrowing your sister's shell suit and sticking a goldfish bowl on your head.

The action hacks along at a fair old pace. It's all standard fare - the usual mix of monsters and terrified hostages, along with all sorts of bonuses and power-ups to be shot off the wall. Basically, if you've seen it before in a shoot 'em up, you'll find it in Space Gun.

You won't find quick disk accessing, however. Once a level is underway, it's fine and dandy, but the time spent booting up in between levels is a bit like one of those embarrassing pauses at Sunday lunch when great aunt Ethel breaks wind (and windows). It never seems to end.
That apart, Space Gun is a fair old conversion. It may not be original, but it's great to look at and even better to play with. Rather like Lisa Stansfield. Stop


Arcade games have toy guns, so why can't arcade conversions? It's not the same with a mouse, let's face it. So welcome back the Light Gun - first popular about the same time as Crackerjack. Here's a few things you'll need to bear in mind before using them.

1 You'll have to sit with your nose up against the TV screen.
2 There's still no chance of you actually hitting anything.
3 Never, ever take your light gun outside - it may look like a toy to you, but a highly trained police marksman...
4 Holding the gun vertically and raising one eyebrow does not make you look like James Bond, whatever you think.
5 Being caught pointing a plastic gun at a TV screen is not going to improve your street cred.
6 Toy guns are for children (and soldiers).