Nearly there with the retro reviews…
Cannon Fodder is the first Jaguar title from Virgin. Having been released on just about every other platform, it needs no introduction. When you first start the game, you are treated to a bouncy theme song that is rather reminiscent of Ace of Bass. Press the fire button and the action begins.
The game consists of 24 missions, each with up to 6 phases. Once each mission has been completed, you can save your current position. With so many missions to get through, this is pretty much an essential. Each mission requires you to destroy various targets in order to finish. You start off armed with machine guns but you can bolster up your kit with grenades and bazookas that can be picked up along the way. These can be a bit hard to use in the heat of battle though, requiring you to hold button B whilst pressing button C. Each enemy is dispatched with a blood curdling variety of screams and groans and buildings explode with satisfying amounts of flame and debris, the latter sometimes landing on your head if you’re not careful.
Later missions add new features including a variety of vehicles. These are a bit tougher to kill although you always board them yourself and turn the tables on the enemy. If you’re lucky you can find the Supa Dupa Boostas which add such nice things as heat seeking missiles and bullet-proof vests to your troops.
There are five different terrain types, jungle, arctic waste, desert, moorlands and underground. Each has its own set of features and traps. The enemy comes in different varieties too. It can be a bit embarrassing to pick on a single enemy with your team, only to find he’s armed with a bazooka or grenades.
The graphics are small but detailed with lots of humour as dead bodies bounce around, exploding trees fly across the screen and at the end of each level, your victorious troops jump up and down.
The sound is excellent from the intro tune to the various background noises of trickling water, howling wind and jungle sounds. The graphics however seem to be unchanged from the computer versions. The shading is fairly course with few colours being used. Even the ray-traced stills look like they haven’t been updated. The Jaguar is capable of much better than this and it’s a pity Virgin didn’t see fit to get the graphics improved for this release.
I found the controls a bit tricky at first. I think this game is more suited to a mouse. After half an hour or so though I found it much better though. The only time it got frustrating was when the troops get stuck behind an obstacle and you have to fiddle about trying to get the right angle to free them again.
Where this game really scores though is in the ‘just one more go’ stakes. Every time you die, you KNOW you can do better next time. Each level adds new features and when trip wires blow you up, you just have to try again and again until you find the best way to complete it.
Cannon Fodder won’t get top marks for its graphics but when it comes to sheer addictive gameplay, it’s a thoroughbred. This isn’t a game to show your jaguar off to your friends with but it will certainly give you many hours of good plain fun and in the end, that’s what it’s all about.
Product Name: Cannon Fodder
Publisher: Virgin Interactive Entertainment (Europe) Ltd.
Score 7 out of 10