Gain Ground is a video game for the Sega Genesis console. It was developed by Renovation, and what a dandy job they did on this game. The premise: In the far off future a powerful defense system, known as the Gain Ground system has gone berserk, and only a few specialized soldiers can infiltrate the 5 layers of unholy computerized carnage and kick some butt like your last name rhymed with kegger. Sounds like a cliche? Of course it does, but that doesn't matter.

The screen is split into three parts. The middle part is the main part of the screen, here is the map and all the sprites killing each other as only digital sprites can. On either side of the main screen are two columns containing information pertinent to the player, such as score, the number of enemies remaining, character portrait, information on the character's shot, amount of characters left and amount of characters that have exited the level.

The game is broken down into a series of acts, each with their own style of maps, or tileset. Each act consists of 10 levels, with every tenth level being a battle against a boss. The only way to beat a non-boss level is to either get all your characters across the line, exiting them from the level, or the much more enjoyable kill everything that moves. The game gets progressively harder and harder, as deadlier enemies are introduced.

I know what you're saying "Gasp! Deadly enemies, what am I gonna do?" The answer is blow your enemies to tiny bits, using the largest firepower available. Gain Ground has a compliment of about 20 different warriors for the player to use at his disposal. You start the game with three, as I mentioned earlier, however as you go through the levels you can find sprites, which are half size incarnations of your character. If you can run to the sprite, making the little fellow follow you around like a party member from a Phantasy Star game. If you can manage to get your guy across the line with the sprite behind him, the sprite will be added to your list of availible characters. What's cool is that if your character gets shot/stabbed/beatened/bludgeoned and/or killed he/she/it turns into a sprite as well. This is cool because your dead character can be saved, but sucks because the death of a second character will remove the sprite of a previously deceased character, and any sprite following a character dies if the character is shot.

The game contains 20 characters for maximum whup-ass potential crammed into the silliest of costumes. Many of the characters have doubles, with one have a special shot that can go in any of the 8 directions, and the other having one that can only go upwards, allowing for strafing. Their weapons vary from a uncontrollable tornado, to machine guns, a boomerang, those grenades on a stick the Nazi's had, a rocket launcher, flamethrower, bow and arrows and spears. Every character also had a shorter attack, which consisted of either a spear toss, shot from a gun or an arrow. Gain Ground had many variations between the characters, some were good at sniping the enemy’s lines down and others were only good for rescuing characters that had fallen.

With lots of bloodshed and a sometimes-frustrating difficulty, Gain Ground is a game that will consume your time. The game has no save feature of any sort, and must be played all the way from the beginning to be beaten. The Konami Code (up up down down left right left right B A for those l4me enough to have forgotten it) works for this game. What it does is enable the hard mode, giving you all 20 characters from the start of the game, but no sprites to find, making death a most unpleasant experience indeed.

The game was released in 1991, and I would imagine it could only be found on eBay or in the used section of your local video game store. I spent many a day of my youth down the street playing this game, which plays similar to an old version of Diablo, that doesn't have any of Blizzard's touch. Chubby sprites and weak story line don't mar this game, as the tough difficulty is probably the worst part about this game.

If you are l4m3 then go to the option screen and press A, C, B, C. It will bring a round select to you, allowing you to warp to any of the 50 or so levels.

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