Developer(s) – Megaware Games
Whilst spending the last 4 to 5 years collecting old PC games at a ridiculously prolific rate, there was always bound to be a mixture of obscure gems, adored classics, and immediate write-offs, as with any video games console. But with old PC games, the balance has been particularly interesting to behold. But I’ve found that not many PC developers perpetrate this balance quite like the developers in question in this review. Megaware games were an outfit based in the Netherlands, who made their business selling mostly games based on classic arcade titles, which in terms of quality were very much hit and miss. Eventually, they would break the mold and make a couple of unique titles of their own, such as Sleepwalker and Alien Logic until the company shut down as of 2007, but in this review, I’m going to be looking at one of their worst titles. Gunpad is ostensibly a 3D version of Pong, only players are also able to attack each other whilst knocking the ball back and forth. It sounds interesting in concept, but when I witnessed just how badly this game was programmed, it felt like a massive disappointment in the end.
Graphics – 4/10
It wasn’t only disappointing in terms of badly it was programmed, however; rather it was disappointing from the ground up. The game has only one stage to play in and because of that, as well as other aspects, it becomes very repetitive very quickly. There wasn’t even any music composed for it. Whilst I may be able to appreciate that Megaware may have been operating on a budget, I’ve met developers at Expos who sold games door-to-door back in the 80s when they were children that had better graphical quality than this. Whilst the visuals may be about average for the time on a technical level, the developers would’ve simply been better off making a 2D version of Pong with multiple levels than blowing all the budget on what we were given.
Gameplay – 2/10
The game simply involves racking up more points than the opposition whilst avoiding their attacks. I couldn’t even be bothered to find out what buttons to press to attack back since the developers even neglected to add a menu to show which buttons did what. After 3 games, I called it quits. The only thing that can be done to heighten the experience is to adjust the difficulty settings, but even on the lowest difficulty settings, the game is unreasonably punishing as very little time is given to react before the start of a round. It’s baffling to me how developers can sometimes screw up making a game based on blueprints that have existed for decades. Pong was created by one guy and first released in arcades back in 1972, which makes this all the more embarrassing for the 5 people who worked on this game.
Controls – 9/10
The control scheme works well enough, but the biggest problem is the camera angle that the game employs throughout. This is actually a 3D first-person version of Pong and as such, it becomes needlessly complicated to determine whether or not the player makes contact with the ball; especially when it veers towards corners.
Originality – 3/10
The only thing that this game has going for it against the original Pong is that the player can attack their opponent, which whether or not this hinders the CPU’s ability to bat the ball back I don’t know since again, I could truly be bothered to find out since I was already jaded by how lacking this game truly is in all aspects.
Overall, players need to steer clear from Gunpad, which won’t be too hard, as I think this review may be the first legitimate review of this game on the internet. It was incredibly disappointing in terms of every aspect involved, but at least I can say that I’ve had some fun reviewing some dross.