CT Special Forces

Quick Take - side-scrolling action comes to the GBA

Back To Basics

In a piece of fortuitous (or just plain cynical) timing, CT Special Forces sees you taking on the role of an elite operative battling international terrorism around the world. Any similarity to real events and persons living or dead is purely coincidental though, as this is an old fashioned side-scrolling action game. As such you take control of a gun-toting hero as he pounds his way through four themed areas, ranging from desert bunkers to snow-covered mountains, all of which are packed full of evil doers to eliminate.

Most of the game is spent running, gunning and hopping between ledges, and although the whole thing is rather primitive, it's entertaining enough. As you might expect, AI is non-existent, with enemy soldiers following pre-scripted paths and stopping at seemingly random moments to let off a few shots. And in true retro fashion, their bullets generally move slowly enough for you to hop over or duck under them if you're quick. At first you'll be facing grunts with the same lousy slow firing assault rifle as you, but as the game progresses you come across burly chaingunners, mortar-firing soldiers and even jeeps and buggies with mounted machineguns. Your own arsenal will expand to include a faster firing rifle, grenades, a rocket launcher and last (and mostly certainly least) a flamethrower, which is frankly useless - it can't be fired while crouching and has such a short range that the only thing I ever used it for was burning down doors and other obstacles. Handcuffs can be used to capture enemy officers, and a grappling hook is occasionally needed to reach the next area, but that's about your lot.

This doesn't leave you with much variety in weaponry or targets, so it's perhaps lucky that there's (slightly) more to the game than side-on shooting. Sometimes you'll find a parachute in the level, causing your character to leap off the nearest cliff, and leaving you to watch a pair of markers that show your horizontal and vertical position. If you're outside of the thin red marks when you open the parachute, it's back to the top and start again, minus one life. This takes some practice to get right, and can be incredibly infuriating. There are also some sniper sections, where you're given a small crosshair view of the world to sweep across the landscape, picking off a certain number of terrorists to free five hostages against a time limit. Succeed and you will gain an extra life, but more often than not you'll have lost at least one life in the process. Finally there are the vertical scrolling sections, where you get to pilot a helicopter, dropping bombs on tanks and SAM sites beneath you and firing your machineguns at enemy choppers.

Conclusion

All of which is fairly entertaining, if somewhat repetitive. But sadly the game is let down by one major flaw - not only can you not save your position, but you are only given a password when you reach the end of one of the game's four missions. Needless to say this makes for a very frustrating experience, and there's nothing worse than spending twenty minutes on a mission only to run out of lives while battling the final boss, forcing you to start the whole thing over again from scratch. This was presumably done to make the game seem longer than it is, because if you were able to save more frequently you'd easily complete the whole thing in an hour or two. As a full price game this doesn't make for good value for money... UK Release Date - now available

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