Jungle Strike was my favorite of EA’s “Strike” series of helicopter titles, and not just because it featured Bill Clinton’s image as the President of the United States (he’s even credited at the end of the game, seriously). You are a one-chopper army, sent to uncover a terrorist plot against the United States all across the world, and you’ve got the arsenal and intel at your disposal to do so. Besides your Comanche chopper, you get to pilot a hovercraft, a motorcycle and an F-117 stealth bomber. They all control very differently, and you will need to adjust your play style to use them effectively, but that’s part of what makes the game so much fun.
You’re fighting Ibn Kilbaba, the son of the first game’s antagonist, who has teamed up with drug lord Carlos Ortega. The first mission takes place in Washington D.C., and you essentially have to save the city like you’re Jack Bauer, except in a chopper. A chopper that could stop even Jack Bauer. You have three different types of ammo, all of which are limited, and you have to find additional ammunition, fuel and the like scattered around the levels. You save better co-pilots along the way that are better, faster shooters and also quicker with the winch and picking up the POWs, bad guys and other prisoners you find along the way. The whole game is played from an isometric viewpoint with multidirectional shooting.
I’ve played this game more times than I care to relay to you, but it was lost with many other of my old-school games in what I will label as an “unfortunate incident” (someday, I’ll find the person who took them). It’s available on the EA Replay release for the Playstation Portable along with a few other classic EA titles from the early 90s, but I kind of want to play it again on a television. I may have to pick up EA Replay if EA and Nintendo don’t fulfill my Jungle Strike needs though.
Breath of Fire
Whither the original Breath of Fire? For a company that loves its sequels, Capcom sure doesn’t throw a lot of weight behind its classic RPG franchise. This version of the game got a re-release on the Game Boy Advance last generation, and its horrendously translated sequel made its way to the Virtual Console in its difficult-to-follow form. That’s what makes the non-release of this one such an odd thing–this isn’t a Phantasy Star situation, where the first two games are on different systems. Squaresoft published the game alongside Capcom, so maybe some of the holdup has to do with that, given Square Enix was initially slow in releasing titles on the Virtual Console, but have since relented and pledged loads of future support.
I have never played the original Breath of Fire, which is why I want to get my hands on it. I could pick it up for my Game Boy Advance, but there’s no shortage of RPGs on handhelds right now, whereas all three home consoles are having a bit of an RPG-free generation (which reminds me, could we do something about that? I don’t like that it’s a struggle to reach double digits for‚ worthwhile RPGs of this generation). As much as I tease Breath of Fire II for its horrible translation that makes figuring out what you need to do and where you need to go a chore, the gameplay itself is a good time, and makes me want to check out the original title in the series. Especially since that one is in actual English, and not in a form that Zero Wing localizers would recoil from. Plus, II is a sequel to the original in the sense that the stories are related, so it would be nice to pick up that background without having to read about it online.
Plus, who is going to argue with plopping eight bucks down on a game that you can spend 20-30 hours with? Well, besides the people who complain about everything, and will wonder why Capcom didn’t just include Breath of Fire on the disc of another Wii game when they had the chance to.