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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Groove

 

Developer

Elixir Studios

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

August 2004

 

 

- Simple intuitive gameplay

- Variety of missions types

 

 

- Dated graphics and ugly textures

- Completely un-engaging and unimaginative

- Unoriginal

 

 

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Marine Heavy Gunner: Vietnam

Score: 3.5 / 10

 

Budget titles make me cringe with fear in most cases. Budget implies “cheap”, and in the game market, that is usually synonymous with “old” or “bad.” Some cheap games are excellent, however in most cases these are older titles that have simply been marked down. In the case of Marine Heavy Gunner, the game is quite simply bad. Built on the Unreal engine, the technology can’t save this game from itself.

 

marine heavy gunner review          marine heavy gunner review

 

During the course of the game, you will play as Grant, the heavy gunner of a marine platoon during the Vietnam War. The game follows the execution of a mission where the objectives are split across levels that are broken up by in-engine cut scenes. The packaging boasts that the game features a movie like narrative, and the design could somewhat be passable for this. The game’s voice acting is surprisingly passable at times, however, the dialogue for the Vietnamese soldiers is horrible; complete with bad accents and laughable profanity.

 

Basically, you and your squad mates will go through the game either on foot or on a vehicle. While on a vehicle, you will stay mounted and fire your M60 while you have no control over your movement. You have infinite ammo, and it is very difficult to be killed while mounted, so these levels are basically like shooting fish in a barrel.  

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While on foot, you will sometimes be asked to provide covering fire by mounting your M60 behind some cover. The same level of invincibility and ammunition is true also when mounting your gun on foot; once you mount your gun, you can stop worrying about being killed or having to reload.

 

The actual aiming in the game is one part that I found well executed. While moving, your targeting reticule is larger. Also, when firing your weapon, the 

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effective kill zone becomes larger and less accurate the longer you hold down the trigger, up to a given size. As such, the best way to be most accurate is to use short bursts or single shots to pick off your targets. However for the most part this proves irrelevant as many times, when not using the M60, you will be using the M16 or another medium weapon that is much more accurate although the same aiming rules apply.

 

The enemy and your team members’ AI is only serviceable and is for the most part incompetent. Often, your enemies will duck behind cover and not return fire allowing you to walk up to them and around their cover and quickly dispatch them. This is made even easier by the fact that if you pop around their cover, they won’t shoot at you for a couple of seconds making your job of disposing of them even easier. Your squad AI isn’t much better and their movement is scripted. There are often moments of mutual stupidity as your squad will run right up to the enemy with each on either side of some cover with neither one firing for a few seconds as they stare at each other.

 

marine heavy gunner review          marine heavy gunner review

 

The flow of the game allows for some variety, as missions will generally alternate between mounting your M60 and going through the jungle on foot. In actual terms of gameplay differences it actually doesn’t feel that different going to taking out a sniper or clearing out a network of underground tunnels. As part of your squad, you have a medic and an ammo stocker who you can use to fill up on either resource at any time. This actually isn’t too bad an idea as it prevents the need of placing med-packs everywhere. On top of that, you will likely need to fill up on health often as the enemy can get quite lucky with headshots when you are not mounted behind your M60.

 

Based on the Unreal engine, the games graphics and textures look really rough and the character animations look somewhat incomplete and are not very fluid. The actual gameplay and overall feel of moving your character is somewhat reminiscent of the feel of the Unreal series but nowhere near the same level of fluidity. Lastly, there is no multiplayer and the single player campaign is the only mode offered.

 

When a product is released to appeal to those with a few less dollars to spare, it can’t really be faulted for offering a little bit less. However when older games become more affordable and are in the same price range as new budget games, the choice becomes obvious. If you can’t afford the cream of the crop today, there are enough older gems that can be had for the same price.

 

- Mark Leung

(September 30, 2004)

 

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