While an action-shooter classic such as Galaga may be considered by some to be a mere skeleton of a game compared to more recent games such as Raptor or Raiden, many will still attest to its prevailing status within the genre. One could even say that the skeletal austerity of those die-hard video-clunkers is what made them so cool, that their playability has ossified and stood the test of time. This notwithstanding, game developers have been exploring new territory in the shooter genre level and Fire Fight, a game that adds rich and colorful graphics, xy axis maps, and multiplayer options to the shooting game tradition, is an example of this kind of exploration.
Fire Fight is an overhead, three-quarter perspective shooter game. The object of the game is to complete a series of missions which you are guided through by a couple of your comrades who send you instructions via live transmissions. As you traverse the range of planetary landscapes in which each level is set, your ship is beleaguered by an array of enemy ships and guard towers who pop-up around every corner. Your ship is equipped with a radar which detects enemy ships from whichever vector they may be attacking from. During the game, you must gather items -and sometimes fellow soldiers - in order to survive each adventure. Six different weapons can be found, varying in strength from self-guided swarming missiles to the highly effective canon. You can also pick up special powers, including mines, double-shield power, and a cloaking device for invisibility. After playing the game for a while, you start to find out which particular goodies are best to employ during particular battles of your sortie.
Fire Fight's network play capability is also worth mentioning. The game itself comes with two discs so that two players can compete in one of several levels, each vying to amass the most weaponry to destroy the other player. Players can use mines to set up traps for each other, and the cloaking device or the double-shield can both be used for evasive tactics. The only problem that I found with playing this game network style is that, when you die, your opponent inherits your store of weapons, becoming infinitely more powerful and hard to beat, as the respawned player starts off with just your basic pea-shooter weapon. This point aside though, I found that playing Fire Fight over a local network was the most exciting way to play. Don't get me wrong, the regular missions are fun and challenging, but there's just something more satisfying about playing against a smart ship.
This game requires no installation, as it is Windows 95 native and uses Direct X drivers. But I found that one of the major drawbacks of the gameplay was that the graphics, while extremely lush and detailed, were jumpy and almost distracting in places. Sure, this game is no Galaga, but it was enjoyable to say the least.