Saturday, August 18, 2012

Radar Mission For Game Boy

Today, in umm… honor of Battleship: the movie, I'm reviewing the Game Boy classic, Radar Mission. 

Radar Mission, released by Nintendo in 1990, is two games in one. Game A is essentially Battleship played on an 8x8, 10x10 or 12x12 grid, It sports a few new features that add a little variety to the classic Battleship formula, however: A "near miss" has been added to the game that alerts you if your shot or your opponent's landed within one square of a ship. There are two "lucky shot" stars scattered at random around the grid that give you a little extra firepower on your next turn. If you hit the black lucky shot star, the next missile you fire will destroy any ship it hits. If you hit the white lucky shot, you fire a salvo of 5 missiles (9 on the 12x12 grid) on your next turn that land in a star pattern. Finally, after enough turns have passed, your or your opponent's aircraft carrier will launch a plane that flies around it. The plane can be shot down in only one hit, but its position changes after each turn making it hard as hell to zero in on. For Battleship purists who fear change, each of these extra features can be disabled at the beginning of the game.

Game B is a bit more lively: It's a side-scrolling naval shooter played as if you're looking through a periscope. You control a submarine tasked with destroying the enemy fleet while protecting your own from the enemy sub. You use the D-pad to move left & right, submerge and use your sonar to track down your next target, then surface to fire torpedoes at it. The first to sink all of his opponent's ships wins the match, but if you cross paths with the enemy sub, you can try to sink it with torpedoes or your deck gun and win that way. You're scored both on the number of enemy ships you sink and the number of ships remaining in your fleet, So getting that high score is often a balancing act between picking off as many easy targets as possible and going after the enemy sub before it does the same.

Radar Mission isn't the most complex or action-packed Game Boy game available, but it's easy to pick up and play, and it offers a decent challenge on the harder difficulties. Both Games A & B support two players through the Game Link cable too, and that's really the best way to experience Radar Mission. The Game Boy cartridge is dirt-cheap and easy to track down, but if you don't have a Game Boy, you can download it for the 3DS' Virtual Console. Unfortunately Nintendo has left two-player support out of the VC re-release, which both totally sucks and sets a lousy precedent for future VC games.

Thanks for reading my review! Next week, if the eBay gods are smiling, I will be yammering on about R.O.B. the NES Robot and Gyromite!

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