Bang! Gunship Elite
PC games have a disturbing tendency to cause burnout. There are only so many stat-heavy sims you can take before crawling back into bed and begging for forgiveness.
Thankfully, there are alternatives like this. Devoid of complex physics, navigational plotting and ship-classification encyclopaedias, Bang's goals are humble. Space combat's the ticket, only minus the titanic manuals that X: Beyond The Frontier and Independence IV artout. Stripped of the detailed features anal-retentive astronauts demand, the title's free to bask in its brainless glory.
Rule number one: if it moves, shoot it. Rules two to ten: see number one. Light spacecraft, heavy freighters and flagships dance a deadly jig as you swivel crosshairs and gun turrets in their direction. Once locked onto a target, all you've got to do is blast it out of the sky and stare vacantly at the flaming debris before moving onto the next victim.
Mission objectives are assigned, but it's easy to go AWOL. No self-respecting captain balks at a dogfight when the next best alternative's to escort a convoy of clunky supply barges. Accordingly, the weapon systems, including flux beams, stasis cannons and hellfire launchers, perform way beyond the call of duty.
Funnily enough, shallow gameplay couldn't be more rewarding. Mind-blowing 3D explosions, sprays of coloured light, and panoramic views of planets hanging in the void are standard issue. Pilots intelligent enough to bypass the musically challenged briefings and skip right to the candy-coated action will find their zeal justified. Progress, schmogress, Bang! operates on the same premise (or lack thereof) behind hits like Galaga. Put terrible voice acting, great graphics, huge guns and a license to kill into one title and you've got the gaming equivalent of an Evil Dead film. It may be shallow, but it's entertaining.