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Publisher: BlueGill Studios    Genre: Arcade
Min OS X: 10.4    CPU: G4 @ 1000 MHz    RAM: 512 MB    Hard Disk: 40 MB

Open Fire Gold
May 11, 2009 | Ted Bade

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Open Fire Gold is a quick action shoot-the-tank game. The graphics are sharp, the action is fast, and, if you are into it, you can publish your scores on the Internet to share with all owners of the game. This is a fun, quick action game.

This package offers two versions of destroy-the-tanks type shooters. First there is Open Fire Classic. In this game you have 110 seconds to shoot as many tanks as you can. The tanks roll from top to bottom and bottom to top of the screen. The other game version is called “Stop the Huns!” This is not a timed game. Here you destroy lots and lots of tanks as they move from right to left across the screen. You loose health as tanks make it off the left side of the screen. You continue until your health goes away.

There are essentially two type of weapons: the missile and the mine. First, and most importantly, are the missiles. These explosive devices fly to wherever you clicked the cursor crosshairs. Timing is an issues here, since it takes some amount of time for the missiles to move across the screen to reach the tank, which is also moving. Some tanks are small and move fast, others are large and move more slowly. There are also the boss tanks, which takes a lot more damage and often get in the way, protecting other tanks.

Missiles come from an unseen launcher off the screen. Depending upon where the cursor is, the missiles launch from the right side of the screen for cursor left, left for cursor right, and middle for middle.

The other important attack is the use of mines. Mines sit on the ground and explode when a tank rumbles over them. Usually this will destroy the tank, although some of the larger tanks are only damaged. You get a limited number of mines, so use them wisely. The game suggests placing them where it is harder to get missiles to. One strategy that worked for me was to drop them on the extreme left side of the screen in “Stop the Huns!”, since this is a harder place to reach with a missile and if you do miss, the tank goes off screen and you loose health. The mine acts as a last resort.

In the “Huns” game you also need to keep track of your ammo. As you play, power-ups drop from the sky. The basic power-up is a missile reload. You also get a power-up that lets you launch three missiles (rather then the standard one) for a period of time. A relatively rare power up is a ground missile launcher, which shoots directly cross the screen. To get any power-up, you need to hit it with a missile, either while in the air or on the ground.

This game has what I would call a basic physics engine. When you destroy a tank, it explodes into several pieces (cool graphics effects here). The pieces, treads, cannons, body parts tumble this way and that. Debris from exploded tanks skid across the screen, slowing other tanks and pushing around power-ups. They stay on the screen only for a short time, but can be used to advantage, such as slowing a faster tank, making it an easier target.

If you are into sharing your scores on the Internet Open Fire Gold offers a couple of options. First of all, when you finish a game, you can post the score on the Blue Gill Studio site. Your game shows the top scores as listed on the web site, which means you can see if you rank in the top. I don’t think I performed nearly as well as so many other players.… (Somebody, please bump “Gary” off the top of the list, LOL). The other option is to post your scores on your Twitter account, if you have one.

The interface of this game is okay, although I stumbled around a bit. The menus slide across the screen as you make each selection. The first choice is always to choose a language (English or Spanish). The game doesn't save your choice, so you make it each time you play. Next you choose the game type (Classic or Huns!), then play. Where I ran into confusion was after completing the game. There is a window to insert your name and buttons for posting your score on the Blue Gill Studio site and one to post on Twitter. After you post, or if you don’t, you need to hit the “Back” button to play another round, rather then dropping you back at the choose game menu. It takes a little getting used to.

The graphics are really, really nice. I opted for the best possible graphics and was pleased with the results. The tanks and the background scenery look very realistic. Even the pieces of the tank, when one blows apart, still look very nice. The background scenery is a type of desert. If you look around you will see palms trees moving in the wind and dust swirls blowing around. The audio track is exactly as expected: booms, explosions and a variety of sounds enhance the listening experience. All this together makes for a very fun and enjoyable gaming experience.

Open Fire Gold is a fast action game, with terrific graphics, great audio, and is quite fun to play. It would make a great addition to any game player's collection. If you like these type of shooters, you will definitely want to check out Open Fire Gold.

Open Fire Gold
Publisher: BlueGill Studios
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