Retro Game of the Day! Freedom Force
Freedom Force by Sunsoft, for NES - released in 1988. AH, the good old days. Remember the NES Zapper? Neiter does.. anyone! Kidding - it was "the iconic" light gun of the 8-Bit era. Yeah, Sega Master system users had their Phaser, and Atari XE folks had their... um.. thing they used to play Barnyard Blaster (ah, good name) - but the Zapper was the one with the spring-loaded trigger which was so satisfying to pull. And sadly, beyond Duck Hunt and a couple of other choice games, which no one really picked up, there was not much to do with it. Well, today we'll examine one of those choice games-
Sunsoft. Loved Sunsoft. It's no secret I have a love affair with this developer, they made some of the most lovingly-crafted games back in their day. Sadly they weren't ballsy enough to step up to the plate as the stakes got higher, for whatever reason, and completely disappeared into obscurity somewhere during the 16-Bit era. But for the 8-Bit days, they were one of the kings. This particular game, an early entry into their catalog, wasn't one of "the hot titles" but it still brought me a lot of good times-
Grab your Zapper, Max Headroom, it's time to waste some bag-headed terrorists at the airport. That was pretty much the story of this game, your typical scrolling shooting gallery adventure. Kill terrorists, don't plug the hostages, pick up the occasionally-appearing power-ups ad life refreshes that would appear once in awhile. Pretty basic, but it worked (and there was not much of this game's ilk showing up on the NES' plate otherwise). But Freedom Force wasn't a game which many people seemed to have, or talk about. Gaming was different back then. This game was brutal, violent, a little difficult. I guess people wanted Mario, Zelda, and Metroid, and little else - the game came and went with little fanfare (maybe marketing budget is everything, eh)
Another reason - look at the cover of this game's box. It is AWESOME. I would totally buy a game with a box like this today - I mean, such a throwback - but at the time, it probably kind of faded into the background noise. Sunsoft's early roster of titles (this, Sky Destroyer or whatever, and Especially Spy Hunter) all had these kind of boldly-illustrated covers with some bad-ass 5'o'clock shadow game brandishing a powerful weapon, ready to destroy some Bad News, flanked by some horny hot chick, and surrounded by other elements of 80s style. It looked tacky then and it looks ridiculous now, but I appreciate what they were going for. I guess their audience wasn't too keen on it.
Anyway, a great game which I would pick up in a second on Virtual Console - seriously! Please Nintendo! Release all the old Zapper Games with proper programming hookup so the Wii-mote can be used as a gun! I'd pay in a second for the whole line. It'd be a blast (pun intended).