I’m not a fan of shoot-em-ups, give me a puzzle to solve or an adventure to navigate my way through, and I’m happy. Put me at the wheel in a driving game and you’ll put a smile on my face, but introduce any sort of combat into the mix and I’ll rapidly lose any interest I may have had.
I think, to some degree, I lack some of the essential motor skills that running around with a gun, targeting and despatching opponents, whilst all the time saving my own skin demand. Even when such things aren’t the major element to any particular game, the need to resort to them even incidentally can kill the moment for me. One of my favourite games ever was Tombraider – I loved it, and would play for hours, right up to the point when some bad guy would heave onto the scene and I was required to blast them to kingdom come in order to progress further. I’d give it my best shot, but it usually ended in frustration and that sighing exclamation, “aaahhhh”, as Lara once more bit the pixellated dust. Knowing that I’d have to restart and face the same scenario all over again, and again, and again, really did little to keep my interest, and I swear I’d have completed every level a darn sight sooner if it wasn’t for the fact I was being killed every few minutes!
In fact, you have to go back a very long time to find a combat game I’ve ever enjoyed – and indeed, managed to become somewhat addicted too… It was the original arcade version of Star Wars. And I can still remember the calming voice of Obi Wan in my ears – “Use the force, Luke” – as I thundered, lasers blazing, down that narrow exhaust shaft on the Deathstar, then pulling out at that last second to spiral off into space and witness the fruits of my labours: The explosive annihilation of that dark symbol of the Empire’s might! Happy days.
I’m not sure if it’s some dim memory of those halcyon days subliminally influencing me, or perhaps it’s a spell of temporary madness that has befallen me, but I’ve only gone and created the last thing inworld that I’d ever imagined I would – a laser combat zone!
It’s a complete diversion from anything I’ve set up before – a gritty urban area, complete with abandoned buildings on several levels, lots of nooks and crannies to secrete yourself and blast your companions, and – despite my complete ineptitude when it comes to such things – it turns out that not only am I actually a bit of a natural born zapper, but I thoroughly enjoy myself whilst I’m at it, contrary to all my expectations.
Maybe you fancy yourself a virtual Buck Rogers too? Or perhaps you’re something of a sharpshooter yourself? Well, here’s your chance to prove it… You can find the portal to my laser combat zone at Marmalade Skies: Take the yellow train – but hold on tight, the ride is heart-stopping and if you fall out, it’s a long way down. On arrival at the combat zone, click the base station in front of you for your kit and instructions. Then run, hide and blast your friends and companions back to their constituent pixels!
It’s fun. Honest!
Would I lie to you? (Be careful how you answer… I’m armed!)
I’m gonna take you down – down, down, down
So don’t you fool around
I’m gonna pull it, pull it, pull the trigger
AC/DC – Shoot To Thrill