CT Special Forces (Game Boy Advance) Review

By Nick Cheesman 22.02.2004

It is fair to say the GBA is simply a dumping ground for games once found on the SNES and simply regurgitated into a game with slightly better visuals sounds, while still retaining the same generic gameplay that it always had. At first glance CT Special Forces maybe reminiscent of a very old arcade game, also on the SNES, named Metal Slug. While in Metal Slug you would wage a one man war on the opposing army, and take the route of going in guns blazing with grenades, flamethrowers, Uzis, rocket launchers and all other manner of weapons, CT Special Forces, instead pits you against terrorists with only a sub machine gun and the knowledge that if you go down the path of Metal Slug, you will die, so have to use cover jumping and ducking movements to stay alive. It this added strategy and stealth gameplay that makes CT Special Forces a terrific game.

Instead of being a fully armed commando you take the role of a elite counter terrorist, who has been chosen to join a Special Intervention Force, and eliminate terrorism in specific parts of the world. In CT you have the opportunity to play as three counter terrorists, Stealth Owl, an SS weapons specialist, The Raptor, a jungle infiltration unit and Aquila One, the helicopter pilot. You can only play as each character when the game allows it, as this varies on the level, for clearly a jungle infiltrator is useless in the Alps.

Like Metal Slug CT Special Forces boasts quite cartoon like graphics and extremely fluid animation. The models themselves are extremely crisp and sharp, that stand out greatly from the rest of the backgrounds. The backgrounds are incredibly detailed and well drawn, so much so that they give off tremendous depth and sense of scale. It really feels as if that you are up in the mountains. But where the games graphics really stands out is in its animations. They are so clear and bold, and as well as innovative, Stealth Owl breathes heavily giving off a cold breath, he reloads his gun, looks about with his binoculars, shoulders his sub machine gun, all well you don't touch the D-pad, whilst the enemies tramp around and the ways in which they die are also bold, such as falling to their knees or doing a huge leap backwards. All of this makes the game feel even more cartoon like. The level design, although not having a great amount of textures, is well suited due to the fact everything is in place for a reason. Such as there will always be some cover or a place to hide in the form of a ditch or sandbag before an enemy or should there be a man with a mortar there will be enough room to creep close to his hiding hole and throw a grenade at him, as long as you can time it so you get past his mortars and into position.

The in game sounds further adds to the depth of the game, with loud bullet shots, groans and cries from enemies when they keel over and die, and huge explosions when grenades or rockets explode. Unfortunately the background music does get slightly irritating as its so repetitive and is only a few different beats in each bar. Sadly since the game is based on stealth and you often find yourself waiting for the opportune moment to spring out and unleash a hail of bullets the only sounds you hear are actually the background music itself, so you would be forgiven for turning the volume off at points. However the use of sound scan is quite a good aspect, as when about to move along in a level firing off a few shots and listening if there is any reply of an enemy yelping in pain, will mean you can think how to tackle the upcoming section, either preparing a grenade or switching to a rapid fire burst.

This style of gameplay where knowing what's ahead of you will benefit whether you survive to see the goal flag at the end or die moments before means a level of thought is needed on each level and a bonus of trial and error gameplay. Now most would see this aspect as a drawback, but instead it compliments the gameplay. As knowledge of a level allows you to tackle each part of the game in different ways, using different methods. The controls themselves mimic every other side scrolling shooter; you can jump, walk, crouch and fire, throw a grenade with the R-button and scrolling through your available weapons with the L-button. You have a total of 5 weapons available, a single shot machine gun, rapid fire burst machine gun, rocket launcher, flame-thrower and grenades. You can collect these weapons by picking up the cases scattered through each level. Other items you use are handcuffs, grappling hook, and a parachute. The gameplay of CT itself is its main selling point. As said before it's based on using the environment, such as ducking behind a sand bad while taking fire and then leaping out of cover with your machine gun ready taking the enemy down. There are various enemies to deal with, ranging from the normal grunts, to grenadiers, mortar men, commandos with rocket launchers to jeeps.

The other items are used to break the gameplay up momentarily such a using hand cuffs to capture terrorist leaders and in the process gaining a life, and collecting a grappling hook in the level to progress in the level and a parachute pack to drop down it. These parachute sections are very difficult to perform properly at first, as you have to keep an eye on the altitude and wind speed, to make sure you land dead on the target. The gameplay is broken up further with sniper sections and helicopter sections. The sniper sections entail you looking through a cross hair and killing terrorists hiding behind hostages whilst being timed, yet the catch is the timer is your health. The helicopter sections are very reminiscent of an old PC game called Raptor where you vertically scroll through the level firing on other helicopters or tanks and basically try to stay alive. This sections reeks of the arcade styles of old and are a welcomed break from the rest of the game.

Whilst there are four areas to fight through, including Snow Covered Mountains, The Desert, the jungle and the city, with three levels in each, the difficulty of the game means they do last slightly longer they should, yet even when their done there is a two player challenge mode to go through. Along with this a password system is used to open up each area, so you can go back to each whenever you want to. Sadly as an arcade game when it is finally over there never is much to come back too, except for another scrawl through the terrorists' base.

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

CT Special Forces successfully recaptures the arcade styling of old, and adds in a whole new way to play, with the new stealth option. Along with some fabulous cartoon visuals and animations that make CT look and feel tremendously arcade like, also with the new helicopter and sniper sections the gameplay is certainly split up nicely to make a tremendously enjoyable game.

Developer

LSP

Publisher

LSP

Genre

Run and Gun

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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