At a Glance: In this Mentrix Software arcade port you get to travel to a thinly disguised version of Vietnam and shoot up a lot of foreigners even though the war is long over. Also, if you feel like it, you can shoot foreign animals too, but be careful because those giant monkeys and giant turtles are fighting for Charlie.
Platform: Genesis (Download Emulator here - 423k)
Download: Download ROM here - 279k
Game Plot: In 1972 an F-14 Tomcat is shot down over "Far East" and its pilot is either captured or killed by a bunch of sinister guys in white and bright blue uniforms. Fast forward 20 years and get ready to jump into Far East in the shoes of Blonde Guy. I can only assume that Blonde Guy has some sort of agenda and reasoning behind going to Far East, possibly to rescue the pilot of the plane that was shot down twenty years earlier. Now that would seem to be a fairly basic Rambo-esque "rescue the POWs" type of situation, but given this game's startling turns I am almost sure that I'm wrong.
You are dropped into a village where you are immediately assaulted by swarms of guys with slow firing rifles and bazookas. If you want you can also shoot chickens and pigs running around. Since you are such a major threat to Far East's national security they deploy their giant tank, which is actually a big hunk of shit with three turrets on top. After you blow it up you navigate a river and jump into a tunnel, where you are attacked by a helicopter. Yes, underground in a tunnel. You see in Far East they do things a bit differently, they like to live on the edge, and what could be more dangerous than flying a helicopter in a tunnel?
Fighting three giant baboons that throw heat seeking skulls.
In a desperate move to stop the attack of Blonde Guy, Far East has signed away its collective soul to some sort of dark god so that they could enlist the help of three very predictable freakish baboons that throw skulls at you. After dispatching the baboons with some difficulty I proceeded back to the surface, the menace of helicopter attacks left behind and replaced with screen-freezing swarms of bazooka bullets and snipers. This level is a barren desert wasteland strewn with cow skeletons; an ominous sign of things to come. I managed to blast my way through the unending hordes of troops and into a desert canyon full of skeletons. It smelled like an ambush.
Sure enough, a giant sea turtle appeared from the heavens to disappear immediately into his shell and skate around the valley like a hockey puck. I managed to defeat him too, but I never did figure out why I was killing all of these people and giant animals in Far East. Shortly after destroying the giant mixing machine on treads I encountered a bug in the game that made it impossible. Apparently somewhere in the port from the arcade version an error developed that placed 500,000,000 bazooka men on the screen everywhere after the mixer tank. Not even Blonde Guy can handle that many bazookas.
Weapons: For once you jump into battle well prepared on a solo operation. No crummy knife for Blonde Guy, he has a really fucking short range machinegun that shoots about 50 bullets a second. If you get enough health to fill your bar once this will be transformed into a gun that shoots closed umbrellas. The rate of fire drops but the damage is much greater. Fill that magic gun/health bar up again and you're outfitted with a flamethrower that really tears through the competition.
Independent of what weapon you are using you can expect to use a single strategy because the controls in this game are so damned horrible; spin and shoot. You see, Caliber .50 was originally an arcade game with much better graphics and one of those yellow hexagonal directional sticks that would rotate your torso as you moved around. Since the Genesis didn't come equipped with anything resembling that, the port has replaced the stick by making the "A and B buttons" rotate you clockwise and counter clockwise respectively. Since every screen features about seven thousand enemies your best bet is to just rotate all the time and shoot.
Enemies: I admit to actually looking forward to seeing some of the later bosses in this game, despite the incredibly annoying (and boring) swarms of soldiers you have to blow up to get to them. From what I've seen though, this game features the following tough customers:
- Guys in white pajamas with a rifle
- Bright blue bazooka soldiers
- Three giant baboons that throw heat-seeking skulls
- An underground helicopter
- A giant sea turtle that lives in the desert and eats cows
- Defenseless chickens and pigs
- A tank with three turrets
- Motorcycle racers with flamethrowers instead of motorcycles
- A three whisk mixer on treads
- Hillbillies in straw hats that run at you and explode
Whereas games like "Monster Party" really give the insanity to you full force, Caliber 50 provides a more subtle variety of madness. What seems to be a straightforward mission to shoot a lot of Far Easterners and possibly rescue a pilot, becomes a harrowing journey into the bizarre animal kingdom.
Number of Levels: Actually there is only one level in this game as far as I can tell. It does do that overused Genesis wavy-screen effect after you kill a boss, but that's the closest thing to a level distinction you get.
Number of Bosses: Having missed out on some of the later bosses I can't really say, but if every boss were a giant turtle or three giant baboons I would probably be in some sort of asylum now.
Defining Moment: I would like to say the underground helicopter, but in a game where you have baboons throwing heat-seeking skulls as a boss, you've got to go with those primates. It only helped that shooting them made a constant stream of edible shell casings erupt from their bodies.
Each category in the rating system is based out of a possible -10 score (-10 being the worst). The overall score is based out of a possible -50 score (-50 being the worst).