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What an utterly forgettable game.  This wasn’t exactly a beloved classic in the arcade so why Irem thought that would change with a home port is beyond me.  And it was released the same year as Contra III!  Holy shit, can you imagine someone looking at the back of the box for both games and trying to decide which one to buy? Yeah, no contest.

Gunforce was released in arcades in 1991 and later ported to the SNES in late 1992.  As a member of a special task force you are dropped into enemy territory and charged with defeating the aliens who are threatening Earth.  As an arcade port the SNES version stands up to the coin-op pretty well but as a fun game it falls flat.

As a run and gun action game comparisons to Contra can’t help but be drawn but the similarities are only on the surface.   You can collect a few different weapons such as a flamethrower, bazooka, laser, and machine gun however these weapons all have limited ammo.  There are a wider selection of vehicles to pilot such as motorcycles, helicopters, and even man cannons.  In some ways it’s a respectable attempt at setting it apart from similar games on the market but in the end it suffers from one crucial flaw: it’s dull.

The entire pace of the game is mind numbingly slow.  You move slowly, the screen scrolls slowly, Christ even the enemies are slow to attack.   That doesn’t make any sense to me; if you see an intruder why would you sit there and debate whether to shoot him or not, which is what the enemies seem to do.  Maybe they’ve never killed a man and are nervous?  Jumping behind the wheel of a tank should get the blood pumping or something but here it’s a snooze fest.  How do you make driving a tank or manning a gatling gun boring?  I don’t know but somehow Irem did.

At least Gunforce is easy. Although you die after one hit it’s not as if that will happen frequently considering how long the enemies take to fire one shot.  You have 5 lives and 4 continues and the game is generous enough to drop you right where you died.  On top of that you can press start at any time on the second controller to have player 2 jump in, effectively doubling your chances of success.  But I’ll be frank, if you need to do that you suck at videogames.   This is basically Contra if it were designed by Forest Gump.

This should have been left in the arcade.  There are no redeeming qualities to it and the action is as basic as it gets.  The graphics are subpar and there isn’t even any music.  You’re better off replaying Contra III or something than bothering with Gunforce.


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