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Publisher: MacPlay    Genre: Arcade
Min OS X: Any Version    CPU: G3 @ 300 MHz    RAM: 128 MB    Hard Disk: 400 MB

Birdie Shoot
August 22, 2002 | Galen Wiley

Click to enlarge
Call my old fashioned, but I'm a little bit tired of all the complexity in games today. It used to be you'd put a quarter in the slot, put one of your hands on the joystick, and the other with it's fingers on that one, single button. Then, you'd play the game. Do you remember those days?

Nowadays, you can't find that oh so simple gameplay that we all sometimes need. You'll be lucky if you can find a single spontaneous moment in a game, without having to go through hours and hours of monotonous "skill building" or "resource gathering". Let's face it, as much as we love our complex strategy, puzzle, and adventure games nowadays, sometimes all we really want to do, is well, shoot things.

Enter Birdie Shoot. With fast-paced action and incredibly simple gameplay (consisting of nothing but shooting things), Birdie Shoot could very well be the game for you, the gamer in need. Yet, nothing comes without a price, but I'll be fair with you. If you read this review, I'll guarantee you an answer to your quandaries. Well, what are you waiting for? Read on, my friend, read on!

A Little Birdie Told Me...
First of all, if you've played any game such as Beach Head or the like, you'll feel right at home with Birdie Shoot in terms of gameplay. However, for those who haven't, I'll give you a little more in depth description.

Whether you love it or hate it, Birdie Shoot relies strongly on your reflexes and hand-eye coordination, and to a much stronger sense than such games as 1st Person Shooters require. In a nutshell, your job is to use your mouse (with a cross hair replacing your much beloved black arrow cursor) to target sometimes extremely mobile avian intruders (birds), and then shoot them. So, if you couldn't throw a football in high school, or had to explain to your boss why you lost the company soft ball game, Birdie Shoot might take some getting used to. It's a game of hand-eye coordination, and I assure you, you're going to need it.

But don't think of it as a lightning-quick reactions test. The game can be very lenient with you at times, as to prevent any sort of seizure-inducing obsessions with clicking the mouse continuously. But enough worrying about the gameplay for now, we'll save that for later.

Help! Mutatant Birds Have Invaded The Planet!
So, now that you've got the gist of the basic play mechanics, you'll probably want to know why in the world you would want to shoot birds. Whether you deem them unworthy targets, or are a member of some sort of animal protection group, I assure you there's a method to this madness. You see, by some odd and totally out of the blue disaster, some birds have become infected by ASE (Avis-Spongiforme-Enzephalopathy), some bogus disease you've never heard of (And don't worry, it doesn't really show when you're shooting down either, for the queazy types), and have run amuck. At the risk of other birds becoming contaminated, you the player, must "shoot" these aerodynamic disease bags with "magical tranquilizer darts" (although if you ask me, I've never heard a tranquilizer dart sound so much like an actual gun shot), and stop them in their tracks.

If the story bugs you, rest assured, it doesn't really have anything to do with the way you play the game, besides the mutant birds, that is. In fact, the game makes no mention of a storyline whatsoever. If not for the box, lawsuits could have been filed! But enough of legal matters, story or no story, it won't affect your game.

We's-a-gonna Shoot Some Here-now Birdies! Ya-huck!
Now, onto arguably the most important part of this and any self respecting game, the graphics! No, I'm just kidding; it's time to talk gameplay. You already know the gist of what Birdie Shoot has to offer, but there's more to it than just shooting birds. Whether more = better, well, you'll find out soon, but for the sake of time, I'll continue.

First of all, when you start up the game, you're greeted by a language select screen (which has no affect on the audio, just the menus). Assuming you pick English (although I can understand if you want to try out your German or French, if you're into that stuff), you're then given four choices, Play Game, High Score, Credits, and Exit game. Now, if you've just bought the game, I'm assuming you want to play it, so you'll probably click "Play Game". At this point, you're asked to enter your name, and/or the names of three other people who'd like to join you (don't be fooled, the multiplayer is exactly the same thing as just taking turns playing, except you enter your own name. I suppose that might make you feel more special...). Then, you're given a picture of an, "island", if you will, with 5 different areas (depicted by different objects), a shack, a well, a pyramid, a tower of sorts, and a big giant trophy in the middle. You might have already guessed it, but this "island", in actuality is a level select screen! Each item corresponds to the four different levels available from the very beginning. Now, I'll try to stop sounding like a "Do-It-Yourself" book, and continue on with something a lot more fun than clicking menus; playing the game.

Quiet, I'm Hunting Birdies, Huh-Huh-Huh-Huh...
After the required loading screens (which are only about 5 seconds long), the screen will open with a huge environment, the actual "level". You'll notice that you can move around this environment in a sort of "panning" fashion, in which you can scroll left and right to get a full view of the gorgeous landscaping.

But, as you already very well know, this is not a game of sight-seeing. Soon enough, you'll notice that flocks of birds will start coming in from both sides of the level (scrolling is required at times!). You'll also notice that while some birds are very close, others are quite far away. The farther away a bird is, the more points its worth. And, if I haven't told you once, I'll tell you again, this isn't a bird watching session! So, what are you going to do? That's right, shoot them birdies!

So you're shooting those dirty birds just fine, and you're realizing that this game isn't too hard at all. Then, as soon as you get a bird in your sight, you notice that upon pulling the trigger, the only result is the sound of an empty gun. Yes, whether you like it or not, you're going to have to reload on "tranquilizer" bullets every so often. But relax, a simple press of the space bar will get you back to shooting those birds down in no time. Yes, I'm sorry to say that even THIS game needs some sort of thinking required, and one is conserving ammo and knowing when to reload. But relax, you get ten bullets a round, unlimited rounds, and you can also reload before you use all your ammo, once you're down to your fifth bullet.


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