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Forget me, save yourself! Actually, be very thankful you are reading this review because you can save yourself from having to play Air Raid: This is Not a Drill. I've played bad games before, I even liked some of them, but this game takes the proverbial cake. You know a game is bad when the designers don't even finish it. Seriously, the game doesn't even end! It's made insanely impossible on level 99 (yes you read correctly) so you run out of ammo, which causes you to fail a mission. If by some miracle you do destroy all of the planes, nothing happens. You just sit there until you finally realize there is no more and you hit escape. I want to write Big City Games and ask for that 4 hours of my life back. I could sum up the review really quickly and save a few of you out there a couple minutes: don't buy this game! For those of you who like to ask "why?", read on.
First off, I understand that Air Raid is a budget title, but there is a difference between a good budget title (Serious Sam and Duke Nukem Manhattan Project, to name a couple) and a horribly BAD budget title. Lets start with the graphics. Sixty percent of the screen is the same on every level. The other battleships in the ocean are static sprites, and when using the mouse wheel to zoom in on your crosshairs, you can really see them in all their pixelated glory. At one point, I was around a couple of ships that had fallen in battle and was able to zoom in and see some bizarre digitized people lounging on a sinking ship. The levels consist of you manning your battle station and gunning down enemy aircraft with "WW2 era classified armaments and radar" (as it says on the box). At first glance, it seems like a fun little romp in the same vein as the classic Missile Command, but in 3D. Upon closer examination, you realize that the developers created five levels and loop them randomly with varied difficulties about 20 times over.
The sound is equally bad, with the same sound effects and sirens on every level. You are greeted with some really scratchy 1940's-style music, the sirens start, and then you hear a voice say, "This is not a drill!" at which point the music switches to something a little more dramatic. The level is over when you destroy all of the planes, but just how much is "all?" I don't know, as it's different on every level, and you have no clue when it will end. Eventually, you encounter planes who appear to drop bombs and shoot torpedoes which you must use depth charges to destroy, and that's as deep as the game gets. I wouldn't complain about it being a simple game if it worked and were somewhat enjoyable. I referenced Missile Command earlier, and even that game made in 1981 has more depth. You were forced to protect your cities and were able to see your success (or lack thereof) right there on the screen. This game has all references to Nazis or the Japanese stripped from it, as well as any storyline (and fun). It just makes no sense what they were trying to achieve, if anything.
There is something very strange about the game as well: the scale of the planes seems way off, and they fly around more like flies than planes sometimes even pass through each other. I tried to find some positive qualities to point out to people who may not play a lot of games, say your father or grandfather. I would recommend it to the older audiences, except the insane difficulty level prevents me from doing so. So I want to know exactly what target audience this game was intended for ...
Technically, you are greeted with a handful of options for adjusting the brightness, changing the view to wide-angle, or switching it to black and white, which would have been an interesting gimmick had they added film damage to it and really given it the appearance of old war films. In the end, this game is bargain bin fodder that doesn't even deserve to be picked up then. The game seems like a level out of another game, like a mission in Medal of Honor where you have to man a gun, except in Air Raid you are forced to do it 99 times. Absolutely awful.
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