#51: Rescue Mission (1988 Sega)

051rescuemission

In the middle months of 1988 Sega probably realized their Light Phaser was starting to feel a little neglected, what with only five titles released in the first two years that require that peripheral. So here we have this sixth cartridge for the light gun which actually sports some cool box art, a rarity for the Sega at the time. While Rescue Mission doesn’t deviate too much from the standard shooting gallery-style formula, that doesn’t mean is a bad title, in fact it fares quite better than you’d think.

"P.S. Don't tell the men this is a suicide mission....oops."

“P.S. Don’t tell the men this is a suicide mission….oops.”

This game takes place in some foreign land where a war is apparently going on between two different armies. Many of our soldiers are wounded and trapped deep behind enemy lines, so a group of medics are being sent in to provide them medical aid. However the only method of transportation throughout each battlefield is a railroad system, forcing the medics to rely on an old-fashioned handcart to get across the land to reach their wounded comrades. As the medics are unarmed, you play as some unseen entity that’s armed with the Light Phaser and it’s your job to provide cover fire from above for the medics as they come to the aid of the wounded soldiers.

A handcart. It's not like I would have liked a tank or anything, guys.

A handcart. It’s not like I would have liked a tank or anything, guys.

In each of the five different stages you have three medics to work with, each with different attributes, and one of them heads into action at a time while the other two stay behind as reserves. As you view the action from overhead your medic works the handcart along the railroad track trying to reach the wounded soldiers who are waiting to the side while you blast the enemy forces constantly swarming them, which range from simple infantry to rocket soldiers to ‘super soldiers’ that launch special weapons at you. You also have to beware of land mines that have been planted on the track and other obstacles. Once your medic reaches the wounded soldier and treats him you can obtain a power-up, such as a special item to protect them from super weapons, a first aid kit to heal their damage and a smart bomb that kills all the enemies on the screen. Each medic can take up to three hits from bullets and lesser weapons, but direct hits from larger weapons like bombs and land mines will kill them instantly. Should your medic be gunned down, your next medic will come in to take over the mission, though you have to start the round over from the beginning. If your medic can safely exit the battlefield you receive bonus points based on your performance before moving on to the next round. Otherwise the game ends when all three medics are killed in action.

So the enemy air force consists solely of rocket soldiers and balloon bombs?

So the enemy air force consists solely of rocket soldiers and balloon bombs?

So on the surface the gameplay seems pretty simplistic like most light gun titles but surprisingly enough it’s also pretty fun. Granted the game is mostly non-stop blasting with not a whole lot of strategy needed but the frenetic action does keep you engaged. The three difficulty levels offered each provide good levels of challenge, though the difficulty is really determined by the distance the light gun is from the television screen. The graphics are nothing fancy overall but do their job for the most part. The stages are all clean with vibrant colors, the sprites are decent with some okay animation and no flicker presents itself with all the sprites swarming on the screen. The sounds don’t fare as well; each level sports an upbeat background tune that doesn’t quite fit in with the setting and some rather annoying sound effects are used to confirm a hit. Another disappointment is the game is pretty short at only five levels, none of which last all that long, and very little replay value is provided other than the difficulty levels or trying to beat your score.

I've heard of aggressive neighborhood watch groups but this is ridiculous.

I’ve heard of aggressive neighborhood watch groups but this is ridiculous.

So overall Rescue Mission turns out to be a nice surprise for the Master System. While the game doesn’t offer any long-term gameplay, what’s there is fun and addicting and certainly a nice reason to bust out the Light Phaser on occasion, even though it may leave you wanting more. Definitely one to check out.

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