Global Defense Network
Join up as an Agent for the Global Defence Network. You get a free electric zapper gun and access to a range of combat simulators, with the chance to earn real credits if you do well, which you can spend on bigger guns or upgrading your existing ones. Oh, by the way. The earth is being bombarbed by infected meteorites. Be a good chap and destroy them, would you?
GDN is a game best described as a shooting gallery, rather like in fairgrounds. The only similar game I can think of in the computer world is the mediocre Terminator 2 Arcade Game, which was mostly sold by the film. GDN has no such backing and therefore has to rely on its own strengths, which it manages admirably.
The first thing that you must face is the login screen. Though this may look official and complicated, this isn't a hacking exercise but merely a stylish way to enter your name. It leaves out all that mucking about with saved games. It also means you can theoretically screw up and the failure will be on your record, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Saved games can sometimes be too useful.
Next up you have the simulator selection screen. Here you can choose any of countless pretty simulations, all accompanied by their own dance-style backing track. In the simulation you have a rapid series of "sections", whereby targets will enter and leave the screen. You are to aim your selected gun with the mouse and zap as many as you can. There are bonuses for direct hits, hitting two in one shot or being especially quick. Bigger bonuses are awarded for "Clean Sections", where every target in that section is hit.
Finishing any simulation will award you at least 250 credits, which is not much, but save them up for that gun upgrade (or a new gun). You'll need a powerful and effective shooter for when... [ALERT!] [ALERT!] ...uh-oh, better head to the War Room. Seems there's a virus carrying meteorite headed this way. Our objective - find and clear out the source of infection. We have only about five minutes to accomplish this!
The main game is rather similar to the simulations, but with a few crucial differences. First of all, you are playing to a TOTAL time limit of around five minutes. This means don't get caught up with a single zone! Second, as this is no simulation, you have to watch out for your shields. If you miss targets, they will not miss you. And if your shield is breached, you are forced to retreat! Blast enough targets and that zone is clear. Fail in your mission and the GDN will try to find another way to solve the problem...
GDN is beautiful. Targets are varied and often brightly lit, and everything moves swiftly. I particularly like the rockets (I managed to grab a screenshot [above]). Everything is smooth, fast paced and excellent. The sound likewise is near perfect, with the usual range of zaps and bangs, and vocal messages telling you which bonuses you've pulled off. The background music is highly varied and of exceptional quality.
How playable is GDN? This is tricky to answer, since I'm more inclined towards strategic games than fast paced action. As a result, I am terrible at games like this. My accuracy is much improved since I bought a mouse to go with my laptop (do NOT attempt to play this game with a touchpad!) but I am still overwhelmed by it all. If your reflexes and hand-eye coordination are good, you will enjoy this game immensely. But despite my handicaps I found GDN easy to get into and easy to lose myself in.
I am also pleased about the way the game is organised. For instance, you do NOT have to take on missions in the War Room - you can play on the simulators all day if you wish. Doing so will net you cash for upgrading your weapons, though unless you are a particularly hot shot you will take a while to save up. This easy-going approach works especially well when you simply want to spend a few minutes blasting targets rather than saving mankind.
GDN is an unusual game; highly professional and stylish. If you enjoy target shooting then this is well worth a look, and if you've never tried anything like this before, even someone as poor a shot as me can find it quite addictive.
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