Hired Guns

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1 MB of RAM.

Hired Guns is a computer role-playing game produced by DMA Design (distributed by Psygnosis) for the Amiga and the PC in 1993.[1] The game is set in the year 2712, in which the player controls four mercenaries selected from a pool of twelve. One of the features of the game is that all four characters are on screen simultaneously, each in their own window.

Contents

Plot

The plot is that a hostage rescue mission on the planet Graveyard proves to be illusory and that they have actually been lured into a weapons proving ground, in order to pit genetically engineered creatures against them to see how they fare.

Gameplay

The game uses a system of four simultaneous Dungeon Master-style first-person perspective viewpoints in the world. Each character is individually controllable and occupies their own square, unlike Dungeon Master, in which the entire party occupies the same square. Each character can be made to follow another character, simplifying large group movements when only one player is controlling the party. The gameplay was advanced for its time, allowing up to four players to play simultaneously, using mouse, keyboard or (modified) Sega Mega Drive joypad, with a parallel port adaptor allowing four joypads/joysticks to be used at once.

The game area is in real 3D, and monster/enemy AI have free movement around each level environment. This is unlike other games of its time, in which enemies cannot pursue characters up stairs. An array of heavy weapons (including a robot sentry, similar to that seen in Aliens Special Edition), incendiary devices and mines can be used to take out the enemy (or friends!) either on the same level as the player or below. Players have to manage their inventory, too, as the amount of items to carry is limited. Also included are devices called "Psionic Amps" that can be used to create strange effects on the player or on the world around them — e.g. a Psionic Amp can be used underwater to create an area of air so the player can breathe.

Amiga Power

The British Amiga games magazine Amiga Power (AP) had a long running gag about Hired Guns. Nearly all games magazines, AP included, have a Next Month page, which offers a brief insight into the contents of next month's issue. However, for AP's first 30 issues or so, they had a thin strip on the back cover upon which they wrote a few lines on next month's issue, and included a very small screenshot of an upcoming game.

This enabled them to have a running joke for several months regarding Hired Guns. For several months, the game failed to arrive for review, as the publishers kept moving the release date back. In response, Amiga Power put the same screenshot of the game on their Next Month Strip every month for about six months, with repeated humble reassurances to the reader that they might, possibly, have it by next month.

When the game did finally arrive, they used the screenshot again on that issue, to illustrate their relief at having finally been able to review the game.

References

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