Captain Zoli's Review

GORF Classic

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An Arcade Legend Comes to the Jaguar

Originally developed by Jay Fenton and released by Midway as an arcade title in 1981, GORF is one of the true classics from the golden age of the arcades. Often ported in an incomplete manner to home systems including the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Commodore 64/128, Commodore VIC-20 and Colecovision in the early eighties, GORF Classic has now come to the Jag CD in all its original arcade glory, lovingly recreated by the 3-D Stooges. But does this game from gaming's golden age still have what it takes to charm the Jaguar faithful?

GORF is an acronym for Galactic Orbiting Robot Force, and as such, the Gorfians are intent on invading the galaxy and crushing Earth. The story of GORF Classic pits the player as the sole remaining hope in Earth's battle against the Gorfian fleet. It's one spaceship against endless waves of robot warriors intent on its destruction, and that of everything else as well. The thin story is what it is: an excuse to blast endless waves of enemies. For the type of game, it is quite fitting. Not to mention, since this is an exact recreation of the original arcade game, any expansion of the story would have been unwelcome.

As with most games of this era, GORF Classic's main offerings are its single player mode and its two-player mode in which two players take turns playing the single player game: very classic arcade stuff. For fans of classic 2-D shooters and retro games, this is enough. Arcade games such as GORF, Space Invaders and Galaga, to name a few, didn't hang their hats on a slew of fancy game modes. They were straightforward and basic: depending on game-play and high score tables to draw in the quarters. GORF Classic, as a pixel perfect recreation of the GORF arcade game, does the same, although quarters are no longer required, just a JagCD.

For those old enough to remember spending all their free time pumping quarters into a GORF machine during the age of the arcade, GORF Classic will be an especially nice treat. It is they who will also remember the old ports of GORF: those ports of a dubious nature on consoles long dead, missing entire levels due to this corporate issue or that. GORF Classic has all levels present and accounted for:

Astro Battles: The "Space Invaders" style level.

Laser Attack: Two small groups of enemies that fire one giant laser each as well as swoop in to attack.

Galaxians: Another "Space Invaders" style level pulled from the arcade game of the same name (also the level that most often is left out of ports to home consoles).

Space Warp: Enemies come out of a warp hole in the center of the screen, one at a time, shooting fireballs.

Flagship: One of the earliest boss battle levels to be seen in video games. After fighting through the other four stages, the player faces off against the Gorfian Flagship.

It is to GORF Classic's benefit that all five levels are here to be enjoyed, thus setting it apart from previous home versions, and certainly pleasing retro gamers everywhere.

As with all games that fall into the classic 2-D shooter genre, quality control is a must. With GORF Classic, it is spot on. There are a few minutes during the first game that the player will need to adjust to using the Jaguar's game pad rather than the classic arcade setup, but after that, the controls are no longer an issue. After the first wave, the game feels like its arcade source.

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of GORF Classic to review is the issue of graphics. There are some who are quick to point out that the graphics of this game are not up to the level of graphics found in other top Jaguar games, and to a certain extent this is true. However, that view does not take into account the intent of the developers. What is displayed when the GORF Classic CD enters the JagCD player is a very detailed reproduction of the graphics that graced the original game in 1981. Since that was the goal of the developers, it is certainly a goal well-achieved and one that will be appreciated by JagCD owners.

The sound is well done and authentic. Keeping the sound of the original arcade game really adds to the experience and nostalgia. It certainly seems that every beep of the original has been recreated for the Jaguar version of the game.

After all is said and done, GORF Classic for the Jaguar CD is what it is; an arcade-perfect recreation of the original classic game that many of those of a certain age will clearly (or not so clearly) remember pumping quarters into oh-so-many years ago (with a few twists thrown in for good measure). It is, by far, the best version of GORF to be found on any home console, and perhaps the best arcade translation available on any home console as well. This being the case, the mileage that one might get out of this game is based purely on one's appreciation of these types of games. For those of us that are of a certain age, the acquisition of this title is a no-brainer. For all others, try it out and see what you are missing. They don't make them like this anymore.

5 out of 5

posted August 22, 2006.

Copyright 2004-2006 Ronnie Richardson. All rights reserved.