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Body Count (Sega Mega Drive / Genesis)

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Body Count was made in 1994 by Probe for the Sega Mega Drive. On the Genesis it was just playable via the so called Sega Channel network. In the game's story aliens came and attacked earth. The aliens were victorious over the humans and made them their slaves. The aliens are almost finished mining a special ore from earth's core. Once they are done, they plan to destroy the whole planet. The player takes the role of the resistance fighter Jon Steadman, who tries to stop the aliens on his own.

Similar to the game Tin Star Body Count can be played with controller, mouse or light gun. Sadly the light gun can't be calibrated and the cursor can't be turned off. Therefore the game plays much more like a Nintendo Wii or Phillips cd-i cursor shifter game than a traditional light gun game. It is rather arcade like with much action, many deaths and many continues.

The player uses a full automatic weapon with infinite capacity but limited stock of ammunition. The strength of the bullets can be upgraded twice by picking up items. With the secondary fire button grenade like projectiles can be utilized. These are limited as well. Many objects inside the levels are destructible but it's wise to save the ammunition for the enemies instead. Other items are shields and continue coins. The continues allow the player to proceed from the very point Jon died and refill a bit of ammunition and grenades.

In total there are 5 levels: An office, a subway, a canal, a factory, and finally a camp. All levels are concluded in a boss fight. The bosses have weak points which have to be shot in a certain order and are invulnerable otherwise. It's important to know these points to save as much ammunition as possible. The game feels unbalanced concerning the strength of the default weapon. Fighting the bosses with it will take several minutes longer and feels cumbersome in comparison to fights using the special weapons. Between the levels screens are shown with some artwork and text in a made up language. The final boss is a time bomb with a bar of colored squares. The player has to shoot these squares in the order they appeared in the intermission screens. Missing shots too often and thus hitting the boss instead will eventually trigger the bad ending. If all squares are shot within the time limit the game reveals the good ending.

Personally I was a bit disappointed that the game told no progressing story. Furthermore I was let down by the cursor shifting nature of the game. On the first few trials the game felt chaotic and hectic to me. After accepting the game's nature and playing with strategy I started appreciating the game more. Finally after multiple playthroughs I ended up liking the game. The fair scoring systems kept me playing for a while. I think the music is gorgeous. Especially the rude synthesizer background in the theme song pleases me. The graphics are nice and show quite some detail. The animations are fluent and well made. The difficulty can be selected and there is an undocumented procedure to remap the buttons of the Manacer. Nevertheless the game feels rushed to me.

I think the cover is outstanding. It reminds me of the mid nineties X-men comics, especially of the character called Cable.