Bang! Gunship Elite has had a tumultuous development cycle.
When it's original publisher dropped the title from their line-up,
Red Storm Entertainment stepped up to the plate and took on the
duties of publishing this arcade shooter. It was a bold move by Red
Storm considering that arcade shooters haven't sold well in the
recent past, but obviously they saw something in Bang! Gunship
Elite they liked. So what did they see exactly, you ask? Let's find
Being an arcade shooter, storylines aren't usually present or likely
to have an effect on the outcome of the game. Bang! Gunship Elite
doesn't wander away from the pack in this sense, but I'll pass
along what little story elements there are. In Bang! Gunship Elite,
you play the role of Xaha, a young talented Arikhan fighterpilot.
Many moons ago, the evil race Sektar was excluded from the
Alliance of the 3 Races. Since then, conflict has resulted as the
Sektar have constantly launched treacherous attacks on
unprotected outposts of the Alliance. While large-scale conflict has
been avoided for many years, the Sektar have recruited the
infamous Morgoths with the intent of cleaning up the universe of
any Alliance. Your job, protect the Alliance from the Sektar
onslaught and save the universe.
Ok, so that isn't prize-winning material. It's your typical, "save the
universe from the bad guys' plot that we've seen hundreds of times
before it. As I've already said though, arcade shooters aren't meant
to be thick on plot, they're meant to be action-packed and
adrenaline-pumping experiences. Bang! Gunship does well in that
There are 19 missions featured in Bang! Gunship Elite, many of
which are solo campaigns that pit you against an un-ending
number of enemy ships. There are a couple of campaigns where
wingmen will accompany and aid you in the struggle, but don't
count on the help too much, you have no control over these ships,
no communication with them, and you'll quickly find you've
forgotten they even exist. Missions vary from protecting convoys to
shooting down special enemy units, but many of the campaigns
are repetitive in nature. The object of each and every mission,
minus the main goal, is to shoot down anything in sight and
making sure you're not destroyed in the process.
Considering Bang! Gunship Elite is an arcade shooter, I suppose
there's really nothing wrong or unexpected when it comes to
mission design. Those gamers looking for a fresh new jolt to the
genre will certainly be disappointed, but those searching for a
mind-numbing arcade experience are likely to be satisfied with
the results here. Controlling your ship is a relatively easy task
considering you only have to worry about a few keys. The default
mouse/keyboard combination works extremely well but there's
also support for gamepads and joysticks including those with force
Easily the most satisfying part of Bang! Gunship Elite are the
visuals. The screen is forever busy, basking in psychedelic colors,
incredible special effects and massive numbers of enemy ships. At
a maximum resolution of 1600x1200, the action is nothing less than
eye-popping and the added sound effects do nothing but intensify
the experience. In between the mind-numbing action are cut
scenes that attempt to forge a reason behind all the carnage, but
once again folks, this is an arcade shooter. Leave common sense
behind and just enjoy the ride.
What keeps the missions fresh, to an extent, is the large variety of
enemy ships that come racing your way. There are 5 different
alien races represented in Bang! Gunship Elite and each are
unique and colourful species. There is also an arsenal of nine
different weapons ranging from a plasma cannon to the
all-powerful Titan's Hammer which is basically the be all, end all
weapon. The campaigns in Bang! Gunship Elite range in length,
some taking well over half an hour to complete. As you blow away
the baddies, you'll gain experience, which is than used by the AI
to adapt to your level of skill. Basically, as you progress through
each level, the difficulty level increases with it. Such features do
bring a few downfalls though, so let's take a look at those.
As mentioned earlier, the mission design offers little to be desired.
There's not much reason to complete many missions if not just to
see if there's a new weapon or baddie you haven't killed before.
On top of that, you can't save during a mission, only between
missions. This can cause problems on some of the longer missions
if you have difficulty getting past certain portions of the campaign.
It becomes an even bigger pain when you get near the end, only
to perish and lose your spot. Bang! also offers little in terms of
replayability. Once you've seen the arsenal of weapons and
baddies, there's little here to bring you back into your seat for
another contest. Last, but not least, the multiplayer consists of dog
fighting with up to 8 players with IPX or TCP/IP. While as intense
as the single player campaigns, the multiplayer aspect of Bang!
Gunship Elite has little lasting appeal. There's no new concepts
introduced in play and the weapons remain the same. If you play
through the single player mode, there's nothing in multiplayer that
you haven't seen before to pull you in.
When it comes down to it, Bang! Gunship Elite is a battle of flash
vs. substance. It follows the arcade shooter formula to a tee really
and if you look close enough, you can see there's not a great deal
under all that eye candy. There's nothing unique about Bang!
Gunship Elite, so fans of the genre hoping to find something new
in this title will walk away unsatisfied. On the other hand, if what
you're after is an action-packed, no-brain shooter than Bang!
Gunship Elite's gorgeous, high-speed, intense battles will surely do
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