Format reviewed: Nintendo 64
Submitted by: Michael Levy
Being one of Rare’s final Nintendo 64 adventure games, Jet Force Gemini, or Star Twins in Japan, was Rare’s shot at a futuristic, space-age, third person shooter that puts you into the world of Juno, his sister Vela and their dog Lupus.
The game takes place in a solar system not part of our world. An evil being known as Mizar decides to destroy (in almost Nazi-like fashion) a host of bear-like aliens called the Tribals. Juno and Vela are teenagers whose parents were murdered by space pirates, and so they go forth trying to save the world from evil tyrants such as Mizar, who, ultimately, wants to also destroy the Earth.
Juno and Vela, who were originally designed as small children instead of teenagers, are equipped with various guns that can be upgraded or unlocked while going through the game. Guns such as plasma rifles, sniper scopes, and machine guns all are utilized in a shooting design that makes the character go translucent when locking onto enemies. This design was something ahead of it’s time, introducing a sort of over-the-shoulder translucent style to run-and-gun genres.
Tribals need to be collected to unlock more areas of the game. Along with Tribals, a host of other power-ups and collectibles will improve the character’s abilities and unlock playable characters in multiplayer.
Multiplayer is fun and frantic, but also somewhat disorienting. Gamers can play deathmatches, but the game can be difficult to play in this fashion due to the unique method of locking on to shoot. It would’ve been interesting to have a co-op campaign, but sadly, this was not implemented.
Music is incredible, ranging from epic war-inspired drum rolls to classically inspired marching music. One really feels like they’re in the middle of a war. Sound effects make good use of the space-age ambient environment, with computer systems humming and beeping right along.
Jet Force Gemini was one of those games which was truly ahead of it’s time, and was a total sleeper hit on the N64. It’s a shame because it’s a beautiful title in dire need of a sequel.