In the late eighties and throughout the nineties, some people believed that videogames were creating a generation of murderous, rage-filled children who were being taught to kill with ruthless efficiency by these digital simulations of military combat. Anyone who thought that is an idiot, of course - if people had learnt combat techniques from arcade shooters, their rampages would have been very short indeed. These are not tactics that translate well to real-world situations, especially since you can't just nip to the bathroom and pick up a first-aid kit after you've been hit in the chest by a high-velocity sniper round. Case in point: SNK's 1989 mow-em-down-em-up Mechanized Attack.
Trigger = bullets. I think I can remember that. What, that's not good enough for you? You need a little more motivation? Well, here's the story.
Does... does that guy have a framed picture of himself on the wall behind him? Maybe it's his identical twin brother peering in through a window.
So, your mission is to "save captured spies". Don't suppose you'd like to furnish me with any information regarding the target? No reconnaissance footage, intel on enemy munitions, a photograph of these spies we're supposed to be looking out for because it sure would be embarrassing if you accidentally shot them in the confusion? No? Oh well, it's probably for the best that we don't get much information because our playable heroes don't look like they've got the mental capacity to remember any of it anyway.
Hey, Duke Nukem had to get started somewhere. Both these guys have truly atrocious trigger discipline: it's a wonder they haven't already accidentally shot each other, although I don't think it'd matter to the guy on the left because he's honed his natural smugness to such an overwhelming degree that it envelops him in an a protective barrier that cannot be breached by conventional weapons.
On with the mission, then. Our heroes decide to approach the island by sea...
The battleship is the boss, although it's not really much different from the rest of the stage - missiles pour of out the ship faster than bullshit out of Joey Barton's Twitter account, and you've got to shoot them out of the air while also trying to hit the ship's turrets. You can also press a button on the side of the gun to throw a grenade, and luckily throwing a hand-held fragmentation grenade at a battleship is much more effective in Mechanized Attack than it would be in real life (that is to say, it's not completely useless). With enough bullets - the magical, mystical armour-piercing bullets your Uzi fires - pumped into the battleship, it explodes and you can head onto the island and into stage two.
You know... them. The forest people. Also a convoy of tanks.
Speaking of visible damage, you can shoot a lot of the background components to smithereens. I suggest you do this whenever you get the chance, because the leaders of this army took lessons on item storage from Castlevania and hid health packs and ammo in various walls, security cameras and unmarked cardboard boxes throughout their military base. The health packs are useful, as are the extra grenades, but despite having my finger clamped to the trigger for the entire game so firmly that my index finger now has a permanent crook I never once ran out of bullets. That’s probably because I died roughly once every thirteen seconds and continuing restocks your ammo, though.
Not that there’s any defence against our hero’s Uzi, a weapon so powerful it can shoot through battleship armour and human flesh with equal ease. Uzis really were the hot weapon of the late eighties and nineties, weren’t they? Again, I blame the Terminator. The use of Uzis also makes it easy to see that while MA is very similar to SNK’s own zombie-based shooter Beast Busters, (with identical graphics in some places,) its main ancestor is Taito’s 1987 Rambo-em-up Operation Wolf. They’re both lightgun games using fixed-to-the-cabinet Uzis with buttons on the side for chucking grenades where the player battles through a military base packed with soldiers who have yet to learn that jumping out in front of someone firing a submachine gun is not going to do their chances of advancing through the ranks any favours.
I feel a little guilty about it, but I can’t help but read that text in the voice of a stereotypical angry old Chinese man. Although judging by the beams of light illuminating our heroes as they kneel penitently before some unseen speaker, God himself is relaying their orders or has at least delegated the task to one of the more senior angels.
Now that I know God is on our side, I’m filled with a renewed sense of confidence. We can do this! Let’s track down the true leader, because with our Lord looking out for us there’s no way we can fail!
I don’t think it’s the bullets that get you in the end, though: judging by the graphic that appears when you die, the stress becomes too much for our hero and he suffers a massive coronary.
Yeah, they didn’t really have a lot of follow-through on this plan. Well, time to relax with a prolonged period of physical therapy designed to un-bend my trigger finger and counselling to help me with the horrifying flashbacks of the things I’ve done that come to me in my sleep.
This is not a difficult game to sum up. If you like shooting things and don’t have a long attention span, then you’ll probably enjoy Mechanized Attack. It’s not a lengthy game and it’s hardly bursting with originality, but for half an hour you’ll be pleasantly diverted. I’d like to tell you about the music but I don’t think I heard any of it over the constant rattle of my gun, although I can say that the death-scream of the final boss is pretty neat. The graphics are nice in that big, cartoony SNK manner, and visible damage is always a fun thing to have in a shooter.
Bonus!In keeping with the Terminator theme, the Japanese arcade flyer rather cheekily implies that you will be playing as Arnold Schwarzenegger.
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