Format reviewed: Sega Master System
Submitted by: Lee Tatlock
Set in a dusty desert world in the near future a hardcore group of terrorists are preparing to set off a nuke, and it’s up to you to stop their evil scheme. Fear not though, my fellow retro monkeys, you have an awesome set of wheels on your side in the Thundermaster II: a fire red death mobile fitted with high powered machinegun style weaponry and heat seeker missiles. Pretty sweet stuff but hold on what about those jets and jumping robot henchmen on my tail? I’m out of heat seekers so how the hell am I supposed to blow them out of the sky? Well luckily for you the Thundermaster II can also go all DeLorean on the enemy’s asses and take to the heavens to lay down some highflying violence. Now I bet you’re thinking this is the most awesome sounding thing next to Zues riding a Harley and kicking dragons in the neck but let’s not jump to conclusions, read on to find out whether this is the cats monocle or just plain cack.
So first off let’s analyse the controls – well they’re decent if truth be told, I had a little trouble adjusting to the inverted flying controls but that’s more on me than the game. It’s all very responsive but the game moves so fast when you’re at top speed that dodging bullets (and thus catching a severe case of firey death) and the odd speeding enemy is quite a task. Once you press up for any length of time your speed is set and you can travel at a middling pace while you concentrate on blasting and steering but then you’re up against your own fuel consumption and the distance from your target. Now, sure, there is plenty of fuel, ammo and rocket fuel dotted around the highways but these collectables become sparser as the game progresses and it all ends up becoming a rather difficult balancing act just to survive. It’s a simple case of no one said it would be easy but you’d never expected it to be this skull burstingly hard.
Graphically the game is smooth and has a tremendous sense of speed – without masses of flicker which is a bonus – plus your vehicle look cool as heck. Enemies are varied but hardly inspiring and the bosses are a bit meh too. The levels all look a bit samey which is also a shame but they look suitably parched and are very well executed, also the parallax cloud work is very cool for the time it was made. So overall graphics = good but not varied enough to blow your pants off. Oh wait up, I forgot to mention the rather cool looking nuked out skyline your get if you fail to reach your target before your life of fuel runs out, this is definitely a stand out moment.
The audio work is rather good and some of the tunes are fairly awesome. The opening tune is my personal fave and although I won’t be rocking any of the tunes on my MP3 player they are all extremely good for the time and the system in general.
So with frantic game play and high speed thrills Fire and Forget is one of the best and most manic racers the Master System has on offer. It’s getting a little rare now but it’s worth tracking down if you enjoy stuff like Road Rash or even Space Harrier, but note that this game can get extremely challenging and if you don’t dig a major 8-bit butt whooping then you may be better sticking to the aforementioned titles.