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Rescue Mission

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Released: 1988

Genre: Shoot-'em-up

Format reviewed: Sega Master System

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Sega

Are you the sort of person who remembers how they acquired their games? I certainly am. Whenever I look at Rescue Mission, I flash back to a market stall somewhere in Essex, at an indeterminate point in my childhood. There I was with my dad, and we were both looking at games we could get. I can’t remember what he got, if anything, but I walked away with three items: a Light Phaser, a copy of Rescue Mission, and Shinobi. Unfortunately, our TV at home was a bit dodgy and Rescue Mission was problematic, so I didn’t get to play it properly for a good long time.

When I did, I was finally able to appreciate it a bit more, because Rescue Mission isn’t your standard gun game. Instead of taking place from a first-person perspective, the game cast you as the air support for army medics on a dangerous trip to recover wounded comrades stuck behind enemy lines. Your job is to protect your handcart-riding dude by shooting down enemies and their projectiles – and it’s a bloody tough one, as enemies swarm all over the screen and fire frequently, and mines are strewn across the rails. Luckily, a power-up will drop whenever your medic successfully heals a wounded soldier, frequently including smart bombs to clear the screen.

Rescue Mission works well on novelty factor alone, as it is very different to other Light Phaser games. Everyone should try it for a different spin on the genre, but be warned – if you get frustrated before the end of the first stage, you might want to just move on…