Heavy Barrel

a game by Data East

Platform: NESNES

Genres: Action, Shooting Games

Heavy Barrel
  • Manufacturer: DATA EAST
  • Versions: Apple, Commodore 64, IBM PC

  • Sound/Music 6

  • Graphics 8
  • Playability 7
  • Overall 7

Arcade-style shoot-'em-up action combines with some of the violent flavor of Japanese animated adventure as a gutsy commando (or two, since a pair can play this game) infiltrates a terrorist-occupied subterranean missile complex. It's tough enough just getting through the outer defenses to the first door, which is several feet thick and steel-reinforced, let alone past it. Then there are six more defense perimeters, each with a variety of obstacles that are hazardous to our hero's continued existence. All must be broached in order to destroy the leader before the terrorists launch the nuclear missiles.

Arcade fans should be thoroughly familiar with the action in Heavy Barrel, since the coin-op version of the game made it to the top-five listing for several months. For new players, there's a demo mode that takes a pair of heroes as far as a bridge outside the fortress walls, battling all the way. After that, commandos, you're on your own!

There is more to Heavy Barrel than shooting action. The game incorporates strategic elements, plus a puzzle that must be solved before the goal can be reached. A variety of weapons are available, usually left behind by deceased terrorists, but the one weapon that offers any chance of success, the heavy barrel itself, is hidden in pieces within the fortress.

The puzzle lies in locating all the pieces. They're stored in lockers, and the commando must collect keys to open the lockers, then find a place to store and assemble the superweapon. It's overwhelming power may be used for a maximum of 99 seconds for further demolition of terrorists and penetration into the depths of the fortress. But cheer up, once that heavy barrel is depleted, another can be collected and assembled.

In addition to the big gun that gave the game its name there are also automatic weapons such as the gruesome grinder and doomsday grenades. If those aren't enough to keep the gamer alert, there are some exceptionally annoying vermin - poisonous insects whose bites bring instant death.

Some sense of the origin of this game is shown in the way the participants handle themselves. The terrorists, for example, have a Far Eastern style of sitting down on the ground when not moving. Our hero's death is symbolized by his raising his arms in surrender. Unlike some games, however, he gets to start off his next life from the same point, though under essentially the same fire.

Single players can use either joystick or keyboard control. When two gamers compete, they must decide who gets the stick and who will use the keyboard option.

The graphics show the gallant hero moving through the complex in angled, overhead perspective. Buildings, foliage and other details are well drawn. Sometimes these provide a little cover to shield the warrior. The terrorists face off against our main man in fire fights that require quick reflexes and good aim if the hero is to survive.

Surrounding the centered play area, which occupies about half the screen, is a tangle of pipes and conduits that forms the backdrop for score counters and lives indicators, plus the tallies for keys, ammunition and collected pieces of the big gun. When the weapon is assembled, an on-screen timer tracks the remaining time available.

Heavy Barrel brings little that is new or innovative to the home screen. It follows squarely in the footsteps of other search-and-destroy commando-style games. Fortunately, those are good steps to follow, and Heavy Barrel does a nice job of implementing the assault. This is an exciting style of gaming. As long as there are terrorists to topple and dangers to disburse, compu-commandos will enlist to battle the bullies.

Other games by
Data East

Heavy Barrel Downloads

NES Heavy Barrel download

Released in 1989, this single player, run and gun arcade video game was published and developed by Data East Corporation.

This game is a shooter with a top-down view quite similar to Ikari Warriors and Commando games. The underground control-center of a nuclear missile site has been captured by some terrorists. It is the main game-character’s mission to get into the installation and get rid of the terrorist army’s leader before they manage to release the missiles. You will need the very powerful weapon Heavy Barrel in order to stop the terrorists. Only there is a problem - this weapon is still in the installation. Before the fortress mocked the enemy and fell, the weapon had been taken to pieces and securely concealed in six different storage lockers. To fight and crash the terrorists you have to gather all the keys and pieces, and assemble the weapon again. The player starts game with a kind of laser gun and a supply of grenades at his disposal.

reggie posted a review
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