Deep down, we all know that scrolling shooters are just point-and-click Aunt Sallies, but decent ones, like Virtua Cop, get away with it by offering a variety of weapons, pinpoint ballistics and interesting death spasms. Maximum Force, on the other hand, sounds alarm bells as soon as you open the manual and read the suggestion that you shoot background objects "to practise your aim". Take this as a coded warning that after a day you'll be so bored with the game that firing at static objects and setting yourself bizarre challenges such as playing left-handed will be the only way you can wheedle out extra lifespan.
So what's wrong with it? Collision detection - vital in a target game like Maximum Force - is worryingly ropey. Shots that should have missed, hit, and vice-versa. It also turns out that the terrorists would have trouble hitting a barn door at 20 paces -1 accidentally discovered that if you sit back for a moment you can have the contents of a machine gun unloaded towards you without suffering a scratch. The graphics aren't without merit: backgrounds are detailed, scrolling is smooth and all the enemies are digitised actors. However the realism this adds to the game is shattered as soon as you fire and watch one vanish in a ridiculous shower of ketchup. The action takes place in an eclectic collection of factories, beaches and even a tropical rainforest. The hostages are typically stupid, wandering on screen at the worst of times, and levels are unashamedly stuffed with scantily clad women cowering against walls.
In theory two players can take part in Maximum Force but in practice this means awkward fumbling with the arrow keys and, besides, it takes a far better game than this to make me want to cosy up with a sweaty mate. Down the arcade you'd probably see fit to pump in a couple of quid, but anyone buying the PC version of Maximum Force will be sorely disappointed - three meagre levels means snow in an oven lasts longer.
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I'm not impressed when I see more of the same come from the makers of a light gun game. Let's face it, from our point of view, it doesn't seem all that hard to come up with a story line, hire some people to dress up in funny outfits and have them make angry faces while pretending to shoot at the camera--presto, the game is done! But that's not good enough for this guy. There's no glaring technical errors or anything like that, but when you get right down to it, is the game fun or not? My answer is no. The graphics weren't all that spectacular--in fact, at times they were just plain. I will give the developers credit for making the levels interesting, as far as how the flow from one area to the next. I suppose if you take this game for what it is (a standard B-movie-type gun game), then it's not half bad. But if you're looking for something more serious, along the lines of a Virtua Cop 2, then you shouldn't even consider it. Sure the game has plenty of secret rooms (something like 30 or more), which helps from a replay aspect, but the regular missions go by kind of quick. The arcade boasted 30 minutes of gameplay time, which for arcade is decent, but when you take that home, 30 minutes is nothing. I just can't see a game like this being worth more than $25 or $30. Or there's always k a rental store.
If you liked Area 51, then you'll love Maximum Force. Personally, I dislike both games. With so many good light gun games on the market. Maximum Force's tired, old concept of throwing ugly sprites onto full-motion video backgrounds is no longer appealing. Granted, the video is well rendered, but it doesn't make up for the repetitious and bland gameplay. Sadly, Maximum Force is a no-frills action game that is easily beaten by the competition.
I wasn't a huge fan of Area 51, but this pseudo sequel is a definite improvement. It's still an FMV-based game, which means that all the live-action baddies die in the same bloody starburst. But now. at least, nearly everything in the background can take damage. Make sure you shoot everywhere, too, since this home version has been beefed up with at least 30 bonus levels. You only get three scenarios, though. MF is just too short.
There isn't much to get excited about here. Maximum Force is a good light gun game, but not revolutionary. As do most other games in this genre, Maximum Force feels like a carnival game, with very little interaction or movement. The graphics are nicely done, with fairly smooth animation throughout. Don't expect to be bowled over, but if you like light gun games. Maximum Force should be a good addition your library.
The few games that support a system's light-gun accessory have to be something really new and unique to command a following. Unfortunately, Maximum Force, Midway's newest entry, is really nothing special.
Maximum Force is almost exactly like its predecessor, Area 51, except instead of bat tling aliens, you're up against common street thugs, goons, and terrorists. You have your bullets and your wits going for you, and just about everything else against you.
The gameplay is just what you'd expect from a title like this: Shoot the bad guys when they pop up from behind poles, barrels, crates, and such. As you progress through each level, the game forces you down a predetermined path, so variety is not really an option here.
If Maximum Force has anything working in its favor, it's the graphics and sound. While not particularly striking, the backgrounds and enemies are rendered above average for a game of this nature. Unfortunately, when the action gets boring, this is easily overlooked.
Gamers who enjoyed all those gun games of the past will find familiar ground in Maximum Force. However, if you're looking for a real evolutionary step in this genre, you'll have to keep looking.
- Grab the power-ups as soon as you see them--they won't last long.
- There are secret rooms in each level. Shoot all the doors as you go, and you'll eventually find them.
- Shoot everything that looks breakable on each level (lights, windows, cameras) to earn a higher damage score at the end.
Shooting straight from the arcade to the console systems, Maximum Force looks to deliver a full body count of action. Strapped with only a gun. you shoot up the screen, blasting any terrorists that get in your way. MF delivers all three missions, including thirty hidden rooms, and all of the action and blood found in the arcade. From what we saw in this early version, the graphics look pretty smooth, but sporadic slowdown rendered the gameplay almost useless at times. Hopefully, all the bugs will be out by the time it's released.