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"An aerial utopia under nuclear warfare"
The year is 2005.
In a time of absolute utopia, the people of the world agreed to store all
weapons of mass destruction underground, where they may never be used again.
To ensure this, the government agreed to send a select group of people
to guard the underground weapons. And so came the birth of the above people
and below people, two human societies that would never be able to communicate
to each other again...
But generations have
passed since then, and now the underground people have become hungry for
domination. Years of war pursued beneath the earth's crust until a freak
accident caused a great hole to open from underground. The below people
were astounded by the new world awaiting them from above and decided it
was time to join forces and dominate the land below and above the earth.
You play the above people's last defense against the superior underground.
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
|Shell Shock is really the first game of
this kind to enter the QB fray, but compared to all the other QB games
out there this shooter really shapes up to the standard. While it's nice
to see a colorful, scrolling background packed with objects that shoot
at you, it's all relatively plain when compared to other QB shooters.
The strength here is that the graphics
do tend to vary from stage to stage. Depending on the level, you could
be flying over anything from the desert to the polar ice caps. Unlike most
games, this game gave me the feeling that each level was individual to
each other, like it actually is a new experience everytime I play a level.
And a big part of that is because Jeremy Hammond took the extra time to
take some extra tilesets. So the detail may not be too high, but the graphics
do a good job of pulling you into the game.
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
|The sound effects are really the exclamation
point of this game. Jeremy Hammond could have settled with the game's par-graphics
and packaging this game as a pretty average title, but he took the extra
step in gathering some war sound effects from the Internet, editing them
a little, and fitting them into the game.
The investment was a good one. The old-style
arcade look of this game is compensated by explosions that really bring
the war experience to life. You'll hear everything from the sound of your
ship's turrets to the sonic boom that occurs when the enemy dogfighters
turn to debris. Simply put, nicely done.
|Gameplay (n.)The precision of control
and involvement of character within its universe
|Shell Shock joins the growing number of
vertical shooters where you play a one-man wrecking crew against a crowd
of enemy fighter pilots and land vehicles armed with SAMs. You must choose
between dodging every bullet or blowing up everything you see, often having
to swtich between these two choices, as bullets and homing missiles explode
only when they contact you.
There were two subtle details I liked about
Shell Shock. The first is the addition of buildings and other objects that
can be blown up for extra points. Not only does this add something extra
to destroy, but this also adds a strategy element as cannons tend to hide
behind these structures.
The other thing I liked about Shell Shock's
gameplay is the added "barrel roll" technique. Instead of throwing in some
offensive firepower, Jeremy Hammond chose to give your ship a defensive
move, used mainly to throw off the trajectory of homing missiles or screw
up the enemy tank's lock-on system. It's a very inventive idea and it really
gives Shell Shock that extra depth.
One sad note about Shell Shock is that
the game doesn't come with power-ups and bosses. You will never get anything
stronger than the standard weapon you start with at the beginning of the
game, nor will you see any gigantic, heavily-armed motherships. On the
other hand, this is a double-edged sword. Since you're always just a little
stronger than the enemy, and because there always seems to be alittle more
of them than you, your gaming skills are always pushed to the limit.
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
|The good news is that Jeremy Hammond spent
a lot of time writing the story. The bad news is that Jeremy didn't make
a big demo to go along with the big story. The only way to know what Shell
Shock is all about is by reading the story through a gigantic text file
you access during the game. While Shell Shock easily boasts one of the
most well-thought, original stories in a QB game (even when compared to
all the QBRPGs of late), it would have been nice to see the story unfold
a la Ninja Gaiden.
|Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience
can be repeated again and again
|Wow! With eight action-packed levels,
Shell Shock really does seal a place with its excellent replay value elements.
What I like about this game is that the challenge doesn't gradually increase.
Instead, a couple of the levels in this game (Level 3 and Level 8 in particular)
are especially hard. It takes some skill to get through these two tough
stages, but you won't be able to survive the other stages on auto-pilot
Something really distinct about this shooter
is that the enemies come from all sides. There are many different types
of enemies and I like the way that each type of enemy plane has a different
flight pattern. In some ways that gives the enemy some individuality and
increases the variation this game has to offer. Nothing like killing two
birds with one stone.
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought
|Shell Shock should especially appeal to
you if you're the hit and run type. Especially because ships can fly in
from all sides and a lot of the surface vehicles aim before they shoot,
this is a charming shooter in the sense that there's everywhere to run
but nowhere to hide.
The challenge in this game varies from
moderate to hard. The secret to beating this shooter is to know how each
of the different types of enemy ships like to move. If you know how they
move, you can manuvuer around their attacks and curl yourself into place
where you can turn your enemies to shrapnel. And just when you've figured
it all out, a new group of ships you've never seen before always seem to
fly in... this is a very deep shooter.
|Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
|Until now, every major shooter in QB has
taken place in the vastness of space. But Shell Shock brings arcade shooting
games back to earth, while individualizing itself by capturing the gameplay
of 1942, Sky Shark, and other classic air combat games. I don't think there's
any other shooter in QB that has such emphasis on explosions and aerial
manuvuers... I felt like I was in the middle of a nuclear war. If there's
a place in your heart that has been aching for a good dogfight, Shell Shock
will certainly point you in the right direction.
||Genre: Arcade/Shooting Game
||To solve: 1-2 hours Final Rating: 23/35
To download this game, click here.
you're unzipping this program in DOS, use the -d option.
you're using Microsoft Windows 9x, right-click on "SHELSHCK.EXE". Choose
"Properties", then click on "Screen". Change the "Usage" to Full-screen.
Then, click on "Program" and change the Run Selection to "Maximized." This
should prevent Windows from interfering with the game.
play Shell Shock, unzip the file and run "SHELSHCK.EXE".
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