Nuclear Strike 64 © 1999 THQ
The Cold War may be over, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy a good old-fashioned nuclear scare.
THQ brings the sizzling Strike series to Nintendo 64, putting the fate of the world in the hands of N64 gamers. Nuclear Strike 64 was developed by Pacific Power & Light, whose unusually somber name delivers the message that they take their games seriously.
The antagonists in Nuclear Strike 64 are a maladjusted group of nuclear terrorists determined to ignite the fires of WWIII. The group is led by ex-CIA Intelligence Officer Colonel LeMonde, who has stolen a tactical nuclear device and set up camp deep within the jungles of Southeast Asia.
As a member of an international special operations unit known as the Strike Team, your mission is to seek out Colonel LeMonde and stop him before he unleashes his terror on the world. Conveniently, you're totally unrestricted by government regulations, so your tactics don't have to adhere to pesky peace treaties and other annoyances.
Far from a chopper sim, Nuclear Strike uses a third-person perspective and primarily plays as an action shooter. You'll need to demonstrate a bit of strategic genius, though, because the mission-based levels require a bit of resource management and the ability to think ahead. Sure you'll be blasting opposing forces to smithereens, but you'll also need to keep a sharp eye out for ammo, fuel and POWs.
In all there are 15 scenarios, beginning in a tropical South Seas paradise and ending in the dense jungles of Southeast Asia. The environments are impressively immense, but thankfully Pacific Power & Light Co. has simplified navigation with a waypoint compass that always indicates your orientation. Strike Team members will pilot more than 10 vehicles, including Apache helicopters, Harrier jets, hovercraft and tanks.
Visually, Nuclear Strike presents a solid package. The detailed landscapes have a unique style that successfully recreates the sensation of hovering above water and over jungle patches. Unfortunately, the powerful wind created by your helicopter blades does not affect the environments as violently as it should. On the other hand, dazzling explosions and shockwaves are extremely well done.
The N64 Expansion Pak allows you to enjoy Nuclear Strike in medium resolution, and also provides the extra memory needed to deliver an improved frame rate.
Play control is accommodating, if not perfect. The helicopters are very easy to control, since the game automatically regulates your height and makes it impossible to crash into the ground or other obstacles. The Z and R Buttons allow for left and right strafing, which is a great way to avoid enemy fire while attacking a heavily occupied area.
An automatic targeting feature takes over when you get close to enemies, but occasionally you may need to manually override it by pressing C Up. The targets are color-coded to let you know your opponent's energy status, which aids greatly in weapon selection and helps to conserve ammo.
When firing on neutral buildings that do not support the targeting feature, it's important to keep an eye on where the bullets strike the ground in order to get a feel for your range. Due to the third-person view, occasionally your view of potential targets is blocked by your own helicopter. We would have preferred a more expansive camera angle to provide a larger view of the assault areas, but as you gain experience it becomes easier to find and destroy targets.
Although Nuclear Strike 64 is missing a multiplayer mode, the single player game is deep enough to keep you in the cockpit for a fair amount of time. Three difficulty levels are available to challenge pilots who wish to play through the game more than once.
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