If the idea of blasting your way through an battalion of heavy-chested, latex-suited and armed-to-the-teeth anime girls appeals to you, then Gunroad might well be the game you've been looking for. For the rest of the more well-adjusted members of the global populace, HamCorossam's unorthodox yet well-produced tribute to the gallery/rail coin-op shooters of old will still make a welcome change from the dozens of platformers and arena shooters that continue to flood the already over-saturated indie gaming scene.
For those of you who remember the coin-op classic Operation Wolf, Gunroad is essentially the same thing but with a ludicrous number of apparently cloned buxom beauties acting as enemy soldiers. As you'd expect, control is via the mouse instead of an arcade cabinet mounted machine gun, with the left button acting as your primary trigger and the right button firing one of your limited number of grenades. Once you get past the almost voyeuristic visuals there's a good deal of nostalgic fun to be had, although with screaming girls, shells, blood and guts flying everywhere Gunroad is certainly not a game for everyone.
The quality of the artwork is absolutely outstanding, as is the attention to detail, with practically every part of scenery having a 'battle damaged' counterpart riddled with bullet holes and craters. There's something really satisfying about having the ability to blow to smithereens almost everything that falls within the limits of your crosshair, the downside of which being that the level of on screen carnage occasionally reaches such insane levels that you have no idea what is going on. But hey, that's what war is like (or so I'm told).
In true Operation Wolf fashion, extra ammo, health and grenades are collected by firing at icons that fall down the screen, and although your weapon automatically reloads, the time it takes to do so means that you'll want to refill your magazine whenever there is a lull in the action (which isn't often). The pick-ups, at least in easy mode, are plentiful - whilst playing I never found myself in the frustrating situation of having no bullets left and likewise there were enough grenades to ensure my relentless assault continued without interuption.
If there's one area of complaint, it's the audio. The gunfire and explosions sound nice and meaty, and the suitably retro music fits the game well, but after the first thirty seconds of play the repetitive squeals and orgasmic grunts of the enemy soldiers becomes more than a little jarring. The addition of a few more enemy types wouldn't have gone amiss either; it's almost comical the way that wave after wave of identi-kit clones pop up in front of you and explode in a shower of gibbage. However, that said, I stick to my opening statement - Gunroad may not be contender for indie game of the year (or even month), but it made a refreshing, if somewhat bizarre change to the usual fare when it reached my desktop (thanks to Tim from indiegames.com for the news).
Note that there are two versions available from HamCorossam's website in the *.lzh format; full screen and windowed. Some people have reported problems with running the full screen version (although it works fine here), and the recommended action is to change the program's compatibility settings (right click on the program icon, and then select properties, compatibility tab). Failing this, you can always change the compatibility settings of the windowed version (320x240) to 'run in 640x480 resolution'.
As well as providing a link to the site, I've also uploaded a *.zip file containing both versions of the game on our server.
Download the game here (from HamCorossam's website).
Download the game here (from the RGCD server).