Dreamcast Hub for assisting me when it came to getting the supplied rom file up and running on my girlfriend's ropey old Lenovo laptop. I almost exclusively use macs for both my actual job and for the guff I write for this blog in my spare time, and while Apple computers are perfect for some applications (badly editing the podcast, badly editing YouTube videos, badly editing photos), running exclusive Dreamcast alphas is not one of those. So massive thanks to Stephen, we love you baby. Cough.
As stated, I only played the rom using Dreamcast emulator DEmul, but the game is also playable on Dreamcast hardware should you have the ability to burn bootable games with your computer (which again, thanks to the hipsters down at Cupertino, is something I do not). Enough bullshit from me though. How does In The Line Of Fire play? Well...superbly, to tell the truth. It almost reminds me a little of Soldier of Fortune in design and while there's only one level initially available to the discerning Dreamcaster, it had me hooked and I can't wait to see more.
Ammo is in limited supply and baddies can take a lot of punishment before going down, so well aimed shots are the key to success and getting to the roof to complete the mission (although at this point I'm yet to make it that far!). The health system is interesting as you don't have a life bar or an on-screen percentage - you simply get more covered in blood as you take damage and once the screen is wall to wall claret, it's game over. As is the standard operating procedure in most contemporary shooters, in order to recover you simply hang back and wait for the bloodstains to fade and then you can jump straight back into the action.
Sega Network site Dreamcast Hub for details too. Below you'll find a YouTube video shared with us by Militia Studios showing the game running on a Dreamcast.
This is by no means a demo of the final game and shouldn't be viewed as one; it's a tech demo that confidently demonstrates the amazing progress Militia Studio have made with their engine in the relatively short time since announcement.
Technically, it's up there with Xenocider and Elysian Shadows as one of the most impressive works in the Dreamcast indie scene thus far. As Tom mentioned, and I'd have to agree with him, the game is very reminisant of Solider of Fortune graphically, but in terms of gameplay, there is still a long way to go before this can be viewed as a comercial release worthy of our hard earned cash. Enemy AI is pretty much non-existent, unwanted clipping is abundant, targetting is finicky and the entire demo can be completed in roughly 2-3 minutes.
The devs have certainly proven their salt and I'm confident that given time, they will reach a stage where it can genuinly be considered a game worthy of our time and money. I cannot stress enough that as a tech demo, it gives me high hopes for the future but at this point, for me to call it a good game would be disingenuous. But nor should one expect as much, because as the dev team themselves fully admit, this is a very early build with a ton of features and tweaks unfinished.
So what would it take for a tight arse critic like myself to back their upcoming Kickstarter? Releasing the engine along with some basic documentation to the community would perhaps be enough to be honest. Just thinking of what other devs could do with the engine is an incredibly exciting prospect. Besides that, the game definitely needs some kind of aim assist, because let's be honest, the DC controller doesn't really lend itself well to the genre. Other than that, a comprehensive list of planned features along with a preliminary schedule (much like what some of the better early access games on Steam feature) would go a long way.
The future looks bright for In The Line Of Fire, and I for one can't wait to see more.
So now you know what we think, we want to know your thoughts. Please feel free to comment below or on our Facebook group. Props must also go to Stephen of Dreamcast Hub for designing the logo image used at the top of this page. Hugs and kisses dude. In a totally platonic way, naturally.