Cannon Fodder Review(Atari Jaguar)





Cannon Fodder is a short series of war (and later science fiction) themed action video games developed by Sensible Software, initially released for the Commodore Amiga. Only two games in the series were released, but were converted to most active systems at the time of release. The series has a clear, somewhat darkly humorous method of gameplay that perhaps even doubles as social commentary. The pre-mission screen shows a hill with a grave for each dead soldier, with recruits lining up in front of it and a sports-like score at the top of the screen. Soldiers each have unique names, while on the grand scale of things being nothing more than interchangeable cannon fodder. The tagline for the first game was "War has never been so much fun", and for the second (with a more sci-fi background, which included some alien missions) "War has only been this fun once before". A sequel, Cannon Fodder 2, was released in 1994 for Amiga and DOS.


Gameplay

In both games, the player is in charge of a squad (the titular "cannon fodder") of between one to eight men that can be, for command purposes, split up to three groups (referred to as Snake, Eagle and Panther squads). All men have a machine gun with unlimited ammunition, as well as limited caches of grenades and rockets that can be found on the map. In later levels, the player is provided with some grenades and rockets at the start of the mission. The player's machine guns do not harm its own soldiers, but friendly fire from grenades and rockets is possible, which are also the only weapons capable of destroying buildings and vehicles. Men can also die if hit by debris flung from exploding buildings and vehicles, get caught in man-traps, mired in quicksand, and hit by enemy fire. Men usually walk, but several vehicles are available in some missions. The games are split into several missions, which are usually sub-divided into phases. Dead soldiers are replaced by new ones at the start of each phase. Each soldier that survives a mission is promoted and receives a small increase in the rate of fire, accuracy, and range. The player is only able to save the game upon completion of a whole mission.Each phase is structured around mission objectives which range from "Kill all enemies" or "Destroy enemy buildings" to "Rescue all hostages". Some phases are complex, and require the player to use their imagination, pre-planning and strategy. For example players may have to split their team into two or more groups and leave one group to defend an area or route, assigning its control to the game's artificial intelligence, while taking control of another group.


Music video

The theme tune (War Has Never Been So Much Fun) for the game was written by the lead game designer Jon Hare, with musician Richard Joseph. Vocals were sung by Hare himself. A little-seen music video of the song was put together to promote the original release.Shot over just one day and for a total budget of £500, it featured the entire team dressed up in military uniforms, an assortment of masks (including one of Mario) and toy guns. The version of the music track is more complete than the one that appeared on the 16-bit versions and was recorded professionally. In fact, the menu screen track is also a pared down version of a proper song, featuring studio-standard vocals. Both of these tracks were written and performed by Jon Hare, as were many of the other songs featured in Sensible's games.


Characters

New recruits queue near the tombstones.

The original game has hundreds of individually-named recruits, of which the first few — Jools, Jops, Stoo and Rj — were named directly after the development staff. As each recruit is killed in battle, he receives a tombstone on the hill and the next recruit in line takes his place.
Reception

Cannon Fodder was awarded Best Atari Jaguar Game of 1995 by Electronic Gaming Monthly.



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