So there you are. A couple of mercenaries trapped in a large building somewhere (quite near a desert, but with a big river not too far away). You have powerful automatic weapons, muscles that make Schwarzenegger look atrophied and brains the size of raisins. What are you going to do? After several hours of painful thought, you decide to escape. The only problem with this is that there are hundreds of trained men with military hardware that could have someone's eye out if they very careful.
Usually the best way out is to creep past all the guards, steal a very quiet lorry and drive away quickly. But you opt instead for the "running down the passageway, shooting everybody, even though they know you're coming" plan. Nice move, Rambo.
So off you go. You lumber along a series of corridors. Around every corner lurk dozens of armed men. You direct your gunsight onto them one by one (as with Operation Wolf) until they blow up. It's possible to slaughter thousands, whilst taking only minimal damage from their rifles.
Occasionally you stumble across medical packs. Shoot these and your health magically revitalises. Also, there are extra weapons lying around, such as grenades. Shoot these too. In fact, shoot everything.
You have no control over your movement down the passage: you just hold your thumb on the Fire button and aim indiscriminately at the knots of SAS men trying to thwart your brainless progress.
Eventually you'll get to the last corner. This is guarded by two very tough cookies indeed. They are bigger and harder than the others, and they dance around in a poncy manner, shooting you all the while. These men take a lot of killing, so use all your grenades, and keep hosing them with machine-gun fire. Once you've iced the big dudes, you get into a jeep which happens to be idling outside. This drives off, with you hanging out the back, machine-gunning other jeeps, as well as helicopters which hover overhead. It's another complete death scenario. There are more medic and ammo packs lying around, so blow those up too.
Job done. You've destroyed fleets of jeeps and squadrons of choppers. Now you get into a small motorboat. This chugs along while you blow up other people in motorboats, as well as the wading men who are trying to shoot you. Bridges over the river hold yet more medicine and ammo, so you should be able to further replenish your stocks. If you boat your way through the wading soldiers and get enough ammo and revitalisation from the packs sitting atop the bridges you sail under, you'll be able to take on the hordes of hiding warriors. The boat stops, and you must snipe out all the blokes concealed behind a "Stonehengey" sort of edifice. Meanwhile, they are filling you full of more holes than a colander.
Basically, the game is very similar to Operation Wolf, with the major difference being that you move in a kind of 3D, rather than just .scrolling sideways. It isn't much of a new twist. It's more of a gimmick, really.
By now, you may well be getting just a little tired of the format. You'll certain be getting frustrated by the speed of the game. It is very slow and jerky indeed. The enemy chug towards you in horribly rigid stages. Worse, your gunsight moves jerkily and very slowly around the screen. The result is that you can't destroy all jhe bods, even if you have plenty of time, because the sight moves so slowly.
The overall effect of Line Of Fire is disappointing. There is the feeling of having one's hands tied, and the lack of rapid, smooth control just makes you want to give up. lie down peacefully and wait for all the guards to drill you full of lead.
You'd have to have become a fan of Line Of Fire in the arcades to like the Amstrad version. Taken in isolation, it's just too jerky and slow to be convincing. An ambitious conversion that's ended up distinctly patchy.
P. Large and clear.
N. Strange choice of colours, though.
N. Click your way through each level.
N. Explosions are a bit muffled, too.
Grab Factor 62%
N. Not really much to get you involved.
P. But the total death concept is easy to grasp.
Staying Power 51%
N. You'll get fed up with the lack of speed.
N. And the lack of variety.
N. It is just too slow!