Caliber .50, a run-and-gun game, falls flat due to its sluggish pace and lackluster weaponry, leaving players wanting for more action-packed excitement.
A Lack of Intensity
In the realm of run-and-gun games, speed and firepower are key. Titles like Gunstar Heroes and Contra Hardcorps demonstrate this perfectly. Regrettably, Caliber.50 neglects the “run” element entirely.
It’s arguably the slowest shooter in memory. One would expect urgency when under constant fire, but the game’s protagonist strolls along as if on a leisurely stroll, even while wading through rivers. The lack of momentum is baffling.
The rationale behind this leisurely pace remains a mystery. Mentrix, seemingly versed in arcade shooters, missed a crucial point, akin to hosting a barbecue without bringing matches. This omission severely impacts the game, resulting in an experience akin to diet soda – familiar yet lacking in flavor.
Upon closer inspection, other aspects of the game also underwhelm. The arsenal is uninspiring, offering little variety. A more potent bullet and a flamethrower constitute the government’s meager provisions.
The initial grenades are nearly useless. The mission’s objective is unclear – rescuing a pilot or POWs? If so, why did it take two decades to mount a rescue operation? Haven’t Sylvester Stallone and Chuck Norris already tackled this?
Typically, the absence of a robust plot can be overlooked if compensated with dynamic action and formidable bosses. In this case, the inclusion of a story credit at the game’s end is either amusing or exasperating.
Sadly, Caliber .50 showcases mediocrity not only in its enemies but also in its narrative. The bosses lack coherence – why fight a giant turtle on a mountain? Their attacks are feeble. Strangely, their primary tactic seems to be pinning you down, preventing movement.
Alternatively, perhaps they’re unaware that the protagonist sports Forest Gump’s leg braces under his camouflage. If adequately armed and avoiding squashing, dispatching them is a breeze – a mere point and shoot affair.
One particularly irksome aspect is that enemies only stay dead if the screen doesn’t shift from their demise location. Imagine eliminating three bazooka troopers, moving up to deal with two riflemen, and retreating down to avoid their fire.
Returning to the starting point, who do you encounter again? That’s right, the same three bazooka guys you vanquished earlier, caught in a crossfire. Competent run-and-gun games prevent this by compelling players to keep moving, never lingering in one spot for too long. Caliber .50 neglects this vital gameplay dynamic, allowing players to stay in an area indefinitely.
No signs or arrows guide your way or indicate when it’s time to move on. While you’re unlikely to get lost, it’s reassuring to know when an area has been cleared. Occasional prompts in the right direction enhance gameplay, especially in fast-paced titles. Sadly, this is absent here, given the action’s sluggish tempo.
Did I mention the absence of two-player support? Indeed, Caliber .50 is a solo endeavor, another flaw in the game’s design. SNK’s version was a blast due to its cooperative jungle romps. Mentrix likely deemed this feature too complex, hence its omission. This probably accounts for the painfully sluggish gameplay too. At least Mentrix had my well-being in mind!
A Lackluster Legacy
The more I contemplate, the less I favor Caliber .50. Its visuals lack detail or flair, with the same three enemies endlessly reappearing. While I can overlook its resemblance to a polished Master System title rather than a Genesis game, the soundtrack, while catchy, suffers from poor execution. Ultimately, I can’t overlook its overall laziness. If Mentrix emulated Ikari Warriors, they could have at least incorporated some elements that made the classic enjoyable.
In the Grand Scheme…
Caliber .50 trails behind in the Genesis run-and-gun race. Its slow-paced, uninspired gameplay, antiquated presentation, and overall lack of fun relegate it to a dusty corner of my game shelf for the foreseeable future. If you’re craving explosive action, there are far superior options to get your adrenaline pumping.
Power up and charge into the fray! Unleash mayhem in Caliber .50!
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