DropShip United Peace Force
|a game by||Bam Entertainment|
|Editor Rating:||7/10, based on 2 reviews|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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Compared to other flight-combat games such as Lethal Skies or Ace Combat 04, Dropship goes way beyond the call of duty when it comes to gameplay variety. Over the course of its 20 missions, you'll blow up a dam, scan trucks for weapons, drop tanks into warzones, steal an experimental gunship, and man a turret while the computer-controlled co-pilot does the flying or driving. Oh, did I say driving? That's the kicker: Many missions here let you whiz around in tanks, troop carriers and other vehicles. One level has you burning rubber through an enemy base to bust out POWs. In another, you cruise around the bad guys' depot on a stealthy spy mission. By all rights, this game should be a couch-potato pilot's dream come true. So why did my spirits sink every time I sat through new level briefings and watched mission objectives pile up? Because I knew I'd have to retry those missions over and over. Dropship's difficulty cranks up to the extreme about a third of the way into the game, partly because avoiding enemy missiles is nearly impossible (don't forget to land for repairs) and partly because of your wimpy weaponry. This game's damage sirens and enemy lock-on buzzers still haunt my nightmares. You'll spend most of your time repeating missions until you've memorized exactly what to do every step of the way, and where's the fun in that? Mid-level checkpoints would have made it all more bearable.
Dropship is a game that only the passive-aggressive will enjoy; if shuttling supplies around is your idea of a good time, then hop aboard. In the game, you eventually do "go aggro" with jets and tanks, but not before enduring a series of difficult dropship missions. It's frustrating because many of these missions require accuracy and precision (spy an enemy base and keep your head below the radar while scanning multiple targets), yet your dropship controls like a 747 when it should handle like a chopper. The mission progression helps things get, but the leaden controls and graphical sterility weigh down an otherwise decent action game.
When I think Dropship, I think of that olive-green war machine we saw in Aliens with the missiles on its wings and a belly full of colonial Marines. Well, Dropship does a great job of re-creating that gritty sci-fi realism. When you're hovering over the hot zone, you actually feel as though there's a real battle happening below you. Look closely enough and you may even catch some infantry-on-tank action between the ground forces. But no amount of atmosphere can mask Dropship's repetitive, pre-scripted missions and lack of combat dynamics. It also doesn't help that the game's simplistic graphics just aren't up to snuff by today's standards.
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When I started playing Dropship, I wasn't sure what to expect. The intro movie reminded me a bit of Starship Troopers, where they attempt to hook new recruits to join the service. In Dropship, you are already enlisted in the United Peace Force (UPF) and it's your job to take out terrorist threats, wherever they might be. How do you do this? Not by fighting hand-to-hand, that's for sure; you do it with hardware and lots of it. Dropship puts you in the seat of several types of hi-tech flying crafts and land vehicles.
The game play is fun, original and engaging. One minute you are flying into a combat zone, taking out helicopters and ground targets, the next moment you are landing to pick up friendly units and moving them to safety. Your dropships are equipped with vertical take off and lift, so you can quick switch between flying mode and hover mode. One mission required us to fly in, take out several buildings and SAM missile sites, fly over a mountain range, evacuate an elite forces team, fly them back to the enemy base and deploy them so that they could plant explosives, while you took back to the air to give them air cover. Most of the missions require you to do a variety of tasks from air-to-air and air-to-ground combat, as well as, taking control of one of the armored assault vehicles and making a run through enemy territory, to get your men to safety. The diversity of missions kept this game from getting boring and kept driving me to complete just one more mission before finally getting a little sleep.
The documentation that came with the game was adequate but not overly detailed, but the training missions more than made up for that. The controls may take you a while to get comfortable with, so I suggest not skipping the training missions! Believe me, you will appreciate the additional practice. Another helpful feature is the nearly constant chatter that you hear over the radio. Your wingmen or co-pilot are constantly warning you of potential threats and giving you the ever so subtle hint to get your butt moving as an enemy has just locked a missile on you.
This game was surprisingly enjoyable, the one item that frustrated me was the inability to save in the middle of long missions, but over all I recommend it to anyone who likes combat flight simulations and even if you don't, it's definitely worth a rental to check it out.