Fox Ranger is a side scrolling space shooter from Korea. There are 6 stages with an end-boss at the end of each stage. The gameplay is simply shoot-anything-that-moves and there are lots of enemies on screen to shoot down.Press CTRL to fire the standard weapon and ALT to use the extra weapon, which is shown in a box at the top of the screen. When you die and your standard weapon is powered-up you don't lose it, instead it is powered-down, so you still have at least something.You can select level easy, normal or hard to start with 7, 5 or 3 ships. And you can set the shield to easy, normal or hard to start with 9, 6 or 3 shield units.
Fox Ranger is a side scrolling space shooter. That statement could sum up the whole game. I've never actually seen a game so without it's own original merits, that it actually turns into a completely nameless and vanilla game whilst you play it. Fox Ranger is just like any other space shooter, great presentation, fantastic sound, good music, difficult gameplay, cool bosses, power-ups, and countless enemies.
You'll notice when you first run Fox Ranger it looks very good for it's age. The graphics are nice and slick, weapon effects are fantastic, explosions look great, and there are several enemies on the screen at once. But - this is strange - these good graphics get in the way of gameplay. While you're shooting, your shiny yellow bullets look a lot like the enemy projectiles which makes it difficult to dodge them. Things get even worse when you get the stronger power-ups as the weapons only fill up more of the screen, making dodging nearly impossible. While this may be a balance mechanic (the stronger you get, the easier you are to hit) I really doubt the developers actually meant to make it this confusing.
When it comes to the power-ups and enemies, they are incredibly generic. Enemies consist of triangular space ships, funky looking probes, and suicidal mini-ships that run right towards you. There are some deviations from this formula thankfully, sometimes meteorites will hurtle out of the sky in the space missions, or a stray missle will launch itself behind the screen. But overall, you won't see many novelties. When you get to the weapons, it seems nice at first, but there's a very slim line of power-ups. You can get some extra support turrets, an intense lazer beam, or a spread of projectiles that go off in all directions, but it's all the same. With that said, I can move on to the difficulty. This game tricks and lies to you. The first level is RIDICULOUSLY easy, but then once you get to the second level, it seems to switch tracks, and it gets incredibly difficult, with almost no screen room to dodge, yet the boss seems to be an uber wimp. There are definitely balancing problems, but the game is a sweet experience. The shooting is quite fun, and despite the difficulties you will encounter, the game will push you to go further. Collecting power-ups and becoming stronger and stronger is another drive, and so is the endless amount of enemies. Gameplay has draw-backs, but it's rather pleasant to play.
Sound is purely amazing. With actual voices announcing the levels and etc. The music tracks are memorable and catchy, ships explode with grandeur and rumblings, and power-ups give a satisfying confirmation each time you collect one. Not only that, but the sound is very well put together. As you play through the levels, the music, weapons, and all the different sounds meld together, and the feeling of the game is intense. This is a perfect example of adrenaline simply through sound. I give this game props for it's great value when it comes to sound.
So, should you play Fox, or should you not? The true question is, do you enjoy space shooters? Do you enjoy scrolling shooters? If so, check it out, you might find some enjoyment. But if you're looking for originality and a new dynamic to the gameplay, look somewhere else. Fox Ranger is bland, but at least it's somewhat entertaining.
Run this game via the executable named "Start".
Fox Ranger is a fun side-scrolling shooter from Soft Action, later to become SKC Soft, one of the leading game developing houses in Korea. While the objective ("blast everything in sight") is all too familiar to action gamers, the game boasts excellent ship designs, numerous baddies, creative power-ups, and nonstop action presented in attractive EGA graphics and smooth scrolling. The end-level bosses are appropriately tough to kill, although fortunately you can choose to play on the "easy" level if the going gets tough. Overall, a pleasant diversion for an evening or two, and the anime-style ship designs in particular should appeal to fans of Japanese/Oriental shooters in general. A competent game that bodes well for SKC Soft's later releases including Dragon Force and Assault Dragon.
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