Cannon Fodder Remakes
Developer: Game Factory Interactive
Publisher: Game Factory Interactive
Cannon Fodder 3 and recent Electronic Arts release Syndicate have a lot in common. Both action-orientated strategy games were big hits back in the ’90s – proving particularly successful on the Amiga – and after long absences, both titles have made a comeback. This, however, is where the similarities end. While Syndicate has reinvented itself as a first-person shooter and has the financial backing of an industry powerhouse, Cannon Fodder 3 comes from an obscure Russian studio, remaining true to its roots, but releasing in the West with barely a whimper. However, despite lacking the level of polish and refinement that comes with a bit of monetary muscle, Cannon Fodder 3 is an enjoyable, albeit shallow, action game.
The game’s story is a bit of a non-starter. Military powers from various parts of the world appear to have united and are trying to establish a new world order. The objective is simple: eliminate the terrorists with a plentiful supply of lowly soldiers. The action takes place in numerous and varied locations, including sunny North American spots, snowy Soviet bases and even in Outer Space. The wide variety of locations is complemented by a multitude of weather effects and a day and night cycle, ensuring that each new level looks and feels fresh.
The visual style, meanwhile, is simple but effective. The action is viewed from the series’ traditional isometric viewpoint, but there’s an extra level of detail unsurprisingly absent from the original games. The cartoonish graphical style is easy on the eye and each level is packed with colour, reflecting the game’s light-hearted tone instead of the horrifying realities of actual war. There are lots of nice visual flourishes too, with downed enemy soldiers bursting open in spectacular and bloody fashion, while terrorist bases and battleships crumble and explode under the might of the game’s more powerful weaponry. There are occasional texture issues however, while characters, enemies and civilians are possibly a little too slight, which makes it difficult to tell what’s going on during particularly hectic battles.
>Cannon Fodder is a short series of war (and later science fiction) themed action video games developed by Sensible Software, initially released for the Commodore Amiga. Only two games in the series were released, but were converted to most active systems at the time of release. The series has a clear, somewhat darkly humorous method of gameplay that perhaps even doubles as social commentary. The pre-mission screen shows a hill with a grave for each dead soldier, with recruits lining up in front of it and a sports-like score at the top of the screen. Soldiers each have unique names, while on the grand scale of things being nothing more than interchangeable cannon fodder. The tagline for the first game was “War has never been so much fun”, and for the second (with a more sci-fi background, which included some alien missions) “War has only been this fun once before”. A sequel, Cannon Fodder 2, was released in 1994 for Amiga and DOS. A third game, Cannon Fodder 3, was made by a Russian developer and released in English in 2012.