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Independence Day was made in 1996 by Tiger Electronics as part of the Laser Games series which consists of portable light gun game systems with LCD screens. The screen is able to show fixed, predefined individual objects and tries to animate actions by simply turning them on and off. Behind these objects typically lies some fitting background art.
The system comes together with a small collapsible gun, which can be stored in a cavity. This cavity can be swung out in order to be used as a stand. Personally I had some problems operating the system. As I wasn't able to find much useful information in the internet I did some own research, built a projector, played at varying distances and angles, opened the gun and eventually I found out what I wanted to know.
The gun is just an infra red light source located in an aperture which guides the light towards four sensors located in the corners of the main system. That's why all the guns are compatible which each other no matter from which game they are. Even the Star Wars themed gun which was released outside the Laser Games series is compatible. The gun carries a speaker which emits sound when the trigger is pressed. The trigger feels really nice as it consists of a plastic actuator pushing a rubber button. The main system is powered by 4 AA cells and the gun by 2 AAA cells. The playfield is divided into four sections. Shooting at any of the four sensors, will cause objects located in the corresponding sector to be hit. The gun is reloaded by shooting at the top left sensor while no object is located in sector 1. Two kinds of enemies can be displayed: small alien aircrafts and the alien mother ship.
The game follows the story of the movie with the same name. A huge alien mother ship came and released several smaller ships which attacked earth's capital cities. The ships are protected by a force field like shield. Humanity lost most of its airborne defense units before they succeed to disturb the alien's shield generation. In the game remaining units and mainly civilian forces try to destroy the alien's ships while they are vulnerable.
The player uses a semi automatic gun with a five shot capacity. Six bars show the health state of the player. Extra lives, each consisting of another 6 bars can be obtained by hitting the mother ship which flies by from time to time. Each level has a time limit. If it is expired the alien ships get invincible.
The game consists of 9 levels of increasing difficulty. Enemies get faster, their flight paths get more complex and their number grows bigger. The sound can be disabled and the game can be paused at any time. During the pause the biggest achieved score is displayed.
Personally I really like the Tiger Laser Games series and Independence Day is no exception. While being simple it is quite challenging. The game is well presented and the built quality is good. Furthermore I like the brave idea of light gun games for on the go.
I found the packaging to be intriguing. If I had seen one of these back in the days in a store I would have definitely picked one up.