**This is the part of the show where we spotlight a game from the 80s or 90s and tell you why it’s worth a replay on your Raspberry Pi, NES Classic, retro console, or whatever emulator you may use**
What It Is: Arcade-style, real-time tactical war game
Who Made It & When: EA, 1994
Where You Could (Originally) Play It: Sega Genesis
What’s It About: Once upon a time, there were two generals: Chaos & Havoc. Chaos was a bulldog of a man, a school yard bully that had a growth spurt but never lost the baby pudge. Havoc was a monocled geriatric, frail as a baby bird, but with a villainous mustache that suggested he wouldn’t think twice about tying your girlfriend to the train tracks. Legend goes that they were friends once, but they let a girl come between them, and as they each came in to their own, found themselves on opposite sides of democracy. War ensued.
Why It’s Awesome:
To be honest, that whole story is a load of crap. Nobody knows why they fought. It could have been a dick-measuring contest that escalated. Whatever the case, these two generals in their Hatfield-&-McCoy style feud, each finding himself with an army dressed in gang colors, go at it. The plot in this game is as important as the plot of a porno…its just words that take you from one action scene to the next. This game has the same plot as a pillow fight: beat your buddy’s ass. Show no mercy.
See, there was a golden age, a fabled time, back before the age of online multiplayer and random matches, a time before avatars and call signs…hell, a time even before dial-up, when people listened to music on cassette tapes, where friends gathered in the glow of a large, boxy TV set and talked smack while dominating each other. This was a time where, if you were lucky enough, every weekend involved a sleepover: your buddy would come to your house, your parents took you to a near-mythical place called the Video Store, and you would rent a game. You would stock up on bags of Cheetos puffs, grab a Pizza! Pizza! and head home for the fun to begin. Despite the name, there was no actual sleep that would take place, as long as you could stay quiet enough to leave the adults undisturbed until daylight.
General Chaos was the best kind of game to rent. Depending on the friend, you could either partner with him in co-op mode to take on a computer enemy, or you could go head-to-head against each other.
The game featured five types of soldiers:
Gunner: The most well-rounded soldier. He boasted a medium-range attack and high rate of fire…at least until his gun jammed and he became a sitting duck.
Launcher: Essentially, this was the tank. He was slow to attack with his bazooka, but his range could clear the battlefield, and his rpg’s packed the most punch, occasionally scoring an “instant death” where the enemy is reduced to a crumbling skeleton. His attack can be stopped by cover fire, but if he got the shot off, he could destroy bonus targets, as well.
Chucker: Bearded dudes in headbands that threw grenades. Their attack had a slow rate of fire and was easy to avoid, but they threw over obstacles, damaged more than one opponent at a time, and had decent range.
Scorcher: With their flame throwers, these guys were my favorite. They had the shortest range of all weapons, but hit multiple enemies, had the quickest rate of fire, and left the enemy with a DoT that killed them slowly. Flame attacks sometimes became “instant death” scorching the foe to ashes. Having him wade through water would temporarily disable the weapon, shooting bubbles instead of flames.
Blaster: This guy was pretty useless. He threw dynamite, but not as far as the Chucker, and not nearly as fast. They were stronger, though, and a solid hit from these guys was often good for instant death and turning your enemy into a pile of bones.
If you got too close to each other, you would go into a close quarters combat situation which played out more like a fight in the old NHL games, except you got to kick as well, and sometimes when you lost the battle, your soldier would fall down, pull out a pistol, and shoot the victor.
This was the first console war game I can remember playing, and my friends and I would challenge each other and play for hours with orange, Cheeto-encrusted fingers, leaving orange powder in the grooves around every button. But it was worth it. I mean, we were in middle school, what did we care. A new controller only cost like $10 back then.
Eventually, I got the multiplayer adapter, and we could play the game 4-player, which was virtually unheard of at the time. Again, you could play co-op with all four on the same side, or you could go teams against each other, 2v2.
The object of the game is to capture the other army’s base, though you had several checkpoint battles between, so you could lose a couple and not really sweat it. Best 3 out of 5, 5 out of 7, that kind of thing.
I played the game again about a month ago. It was harder than I remembered, but it held up. It was just me and the AI, and I got my butt stomped and handed back to me.
Where to Play It Now:
Depending on who you ask, Emulators are not okay, so we’ll skip that option, though the raspberry pi would be a good route to take. If you’re more of a purist, you can always pick up a copy of the game cartridge here. I still have a Sega Genesis sitting at home. Don’t you?
Max Out the Nostalgia While You Play… Grab a bag of Cheetos Puffs and a tall glass of Sunny D to feel like a kid again.