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Inside Mac Freeware
September 7, 2005 | Blake Buck

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Welcome to the first edition of Inside Mac Freeware. That's right, freeware—meaning all of these games are available totally free for download. This feature will be spotlighting the great freeware games out there that normally don't get much press in mini-reviews. This time we'll be talking about the intense arcade shooter Gunroar, the simple family-fun of Primate Plunge, and the OS X update to a cherished classic, Duke Nukem 3D OS X.

Deimos Rising meets Robotron in this insane vertical-scrolling arcade shooter called Gunroar, developed by ABA Games. Gunroar puts you in control of a tiny boat that you must pilot up a never-ending sea of destruction. What's the story? None. Can I use skill points to upgrade my ship? Nope. No plot, no frills: this game is hardcore arcade shooting at it's best.

Players begin their battle in fairly calm waters, shooting small ships that fire single shots. But as your Bonus Multiplier begins to increase in your voyage up the sea, so does the intensity of the enemies. Soon players will face large battleships with multiple gun platforms and stationary land guns. In addition to dodging bullets, players will have to navigate islands as well. Finally, once a timer in the corner reaches zero, players will be faced with a huge boss ship that spits out an insane number of bullets at once and takes quite a lot of firepower to kill.

Similar to the arcade classic Robotron, your boat can move in any direction while simultaneously firing in any other direction. Players use the WASD keys to control movement and the IJKL keys to control firing. Alternatively, the game also supports analog controllers. One gripe I do have with this game is that sometimes the hit detection can occasionally feel weird, as your boat will sometimes seemingly pass through a barrage of shots, while explode easily other times.

The game features a very distinct visual design, similar to Ambrosia Software's recent game Darwinia. The bright pink translucent ships glide over a blocky blue ocean and give the game a very 'cyber' feel. The game also features a great deal of tiny graphical touches that really make the game shine, such as your boat leaving a blue spray as it moves or the fires that are emitted from destroyed ships. And while the game's interface is very bare-bones, I really like the 'calculator-style' numbers, and the score counter that rolls as you rack up points. The game also features a very fitting techno soundtrack. Even though it's a simple 2D sprite game, because of the sheer amount of action on screen the framerate can take a hit, reminding me of the old 8-bit Nintendo days.

I absolutely love Gunroar. The action is extremely intense, particularly once your multiplier gets higher than 100x, and the visuals are stunning. And like Freeverse Software's recent game Kill Monty, Gunroar reminds me of a time when games didn't need pixel-shaded bump-mapping or a forty hour story arc to be fun. So if you're a fan of old-school arcade shooters, start downloading now.


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