Until recently, I had Ocean's Live Ammo pack as part of my Commodore 64 games collection. I talk more about the ultimate retro-gaming machine in my Commodore 64 Journal. The game pack consists of The Great Escape, Rambo II, Top Gun, Green Beret, and Army Moves. These games have a action theme to them. The Live Ammo title lives up to it's name in each of these games. Each games has a strong military context. Most of these games derive from popular war movies. Two of these games, Rambo II and Army Moves, were very popular hits on their release. This is 1987 at its finest. The quirk of this pack is that the games come on two data cassettes. That is right, 5 games packed onto 4 cassettes. This solution was to squeeze two games onto a single cassette side.
Magazines and blogs are ignoring game bundles. This may be because it is easier to write about a single game. Publishers bundle old games together into a new package for another round of sales. This reduces the perceived value of the game. Collectors should see game bundles as having value in their own right. A good game bundle should have an underlying theme that makes you excited. The bundle should make you want to play a few of the games in sequence, a platform here, a shoot'em there. This reflects how games play games. There is also a story behind a collection. There needs to be at least two stand outs; in case you already have one of the blockbusters in you collection. There is also the filler game as well. The filler game is one that you will not likely buy on its own merit but adds to the game count. It is fun to figure out which game is the filler. Can you guess which game is the filler in this collection?
Live Ammo Games Bundle
Green Beret is a coin-op game released by Konami. Imagine software ported this game to the Commodore 64 and other systems. It's a classic military themed platform game. Your job is to infiltrate an enemy military based to save POWs. This game is fun to jump in and play. The screen opens with the waling of a siren announcing your arrival. There is no time to breathe. Make a run for it and rid as many of the enemy as you can. Beware. The enemy is more than a swarm of fresh meat. You need to pay attention to who is chasing you. The graphics are superb. The sound creates the right atmosphere. I can see how this game became so popular. This is an excellent addition to the guns and ammo bundle.
Army Moves is to a military simulation like sugar is to a healthy diet. The graphics are great. The scene opens up on a bombed out bridge and lively music starts to play. It is ever so fun. And then you explode. First the helicopter shoots you. Then the enemy's trucks jump at you. Then you learn that you can defy physics and move backwards and forwards in the air. That counts for something until you explode again. And then you explode again. I cannot tell you how often your vehicle explodes in this game but it is a lot. It is the fun music and camouflage colors that brings you back for more ... explosions. I can understand the appeal of the game. It feels like a sugar rush with a joystick. I very much wanted to enjoy this game and I did, until I exploded.
Rambo First Blood Part II
The next Commodore 64 cassette game in the Live Ammo pack is Rambo II. This is a game based on the Rambo First Blood Part 2 movie. You play John Rambo on a quest to save prisoners of war from jungle camps. You run around without fear looking for POWs. The game play is from an overhead view. The graphics are smooth but the game sounds are average. The game is fast paced and, like the movie, doesn't force your brain into much effort. Rambo II is a good game but not great. I am happy to get this in the Live Ammo bundle. The value of this game is in playing out the Rambo premise.
The Great Escape
The Great Escape is a famous war movie set in World War II. The film is about Allied prisoners of war planning to escape a German prison camp. The movie features a roll call of actors such as Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Charles Bronson. The Great Escape is an action game based on these same events. The likeness of the actors are not included in the game. Of all the games in the collection, The Great Escape was the game that I was least familiar with.
The Great Escape on the Commodore 64 opens in an isometric jail cell. You have to collect the keys in your cell. Time is running out. The guards are on look out. Quick, do it for the team.
This game is better than history remembers. That may be the isometric role playing nature of the game. It is neither a platform game, nor a beat'em up game. This is closer to the time-puzzle game. Every scene requires a different tactic to complete. It is all in the name of escape.
Top Gun, the game, is the licensed from the movie of the same name. The Government has given you an F-14 Tomcat and asked you to blow up anything flying in the sky. This is an action flight simulator that is light on technical details. The game asks if you are playing one or two player Top Guns. This is a split screen game either way. The opening video sequence shows your F-14 Tomcat launching off the aircraft carrier. It is first-person flight simulator combat all the way. There is very little in the way of game music so you will have to slide the tape into your tape deck to play Kenny Loggins. The AIWA AD-6500 is the type of cassette deck that I am thinking of.