When the production team at MicroProse were told that they were going to make a one-man shoot-'em-up they all replied, "What? You mean an arcade game! Ugggh!"
After a little more convincing, they finally took it upon themselves to make a fun quasi-arcade/simulation combat game. Little did they know, that it was going to be one of their finest pieces next to Gunship and Stunt Track Racer!
Airborne Ranger starts off simple enough with the choosing of the style of play whether it be just a practice mission or something even more and meaningful like an ongoing Ranger Combat career where you can make an entire roster of custom rangers names to choose from. Then you can go and choose the level of difficulty and away you go.
As you fly high above enemy lines in your Osprey, you will have mere moments to drop all 3 of your precious supply bags. Be sure to drop them over clear terrain otherwise they might be damaged or even recovered by hostile forces. Your last action is to jump and parachute down...somewhere near the extreme southern end of the enemy zone. Don't worry, you will receive a warning buzzer telling you to jump otherwise you will miss your chance and head back to base for a quick reprimand. While descending, use your joystick to steer your parachute left or right. Again, try to land on an open area, maybe even possibly a trench where you can immediately duck down and take cover otherwise you might be captured or even worse...land on a minefield! Another worst case scenario, is that you land with none of your supply bags intact (you can see this by immediately checking you map and scrolling up the playfield looking for small x's denoting your supply bags), forcing you to keep a low profile and reserve your weapons strictly for your mission objectives ahead, which is hard when your mission is Create a Diversion.
The weapons of then ranger is many but his main equipment is his Carbine gun, grenades, time-bombs with 5, 10 and 15 second delay settings, LAW rockets for harder targets like installations and bunkers and the ever faithful knife for close encounters when you don't want to wake up the entire enemy army by using any of the noisier alternatives mentioned earlier. Yes, the enemy does respond to noise!
There is a status panel in the top corner of your screen that can tell you your ranger's fatigue factor indicating how far and fast he can run at any given time. If he becomes fatigued, slow down and let him walk and catch his breath. He could also choose to duck down and crawl behind any terrain cover that might be there. If your ranger is hiding under water, be sure to have him pop up for air otherwise he will drown. A ranger is still only human and can run much faster on flat land as opposed to wading through water or sliding over ice! Be sure to watch out for dug up terrain where minefields lay or even cracks in the ice denoting extreme weak spots where you can fall through and inadvertently end your mission. Check your map to see how you are doing since you have only so many minutes to complete you mission or the chopper will show up and the end of your alotted time and briefly wait and quickly leave if you are no where in site, effectively stranding you to your doom!
You will need to keep a look out for normal enemy soldiers in grey doing their usual patrols, while other more highly trained officers in blue use flame throwers and the brown ones carry law rockets too. Grenades can be thrown further if the joystick button is held longer. Time bombs are set by hitting the appropriate key for 5, 10 and 15 second delay settings. If you managed to get shot a few times where your bulletproof vest failed you, you can always use the First Aid kit that you landed with or find one among the other supply bags you dropped earlier. The rest of your weapons can be replenished with the supply bags as well.
After achieving your mission objectives, you will need to call in the chopper to come pick you up. A countdown timer will show up on your status panel in the top corner telling you exaclty how much time you have to get to your pick up zone. If all goes well, you will see a ladder drop down and away you go. Going over your mission debriefing and eagerly awaiting your next mission of grand action adventure!
Downloads: Music, Advert
|GRAPHICS - 10/10|
|Incredible! Colourful, clear and well animated are the keywords for this game. This is a true testament to the MicroProse Team and how they time and again pushed the 64 to its limits!|
|SOUND - 9/10|
|Just one song that gets played at the game's introduction and when your ranger first sets foot on enemy lines. Sounds great and surprisingly doesn't seem get annoying even after all this time. The action and intensity are so great that you don't even miss music. The sound effects are well done and you will hear explosions and gunfire getting louder or fainter due to your proximity!|
|PLAYABILITY - 9/10|
|It doesn't get any better than this. The 360 degree range of firing plus all the controls for all the ranger options were kept at the keyboard's perimeter making for simple, single-key stroke commands especially useful when the action gets hot and heavy! |
|OVERALL - 10/10|
|Considering the 64's limits and all. You really can't improve up on this game one iota. The artificial intelligence is incredible for its time and the numerous options and dynamics set it far apart from any other game of its kind. This game will win you over if given a chance. A sure bet when you are bored and are in desperate need to kill some time or better yet, some enemy computer baddies.|