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Pang by Maddog
Game:PangCompany:Mitchell
Type:PlatformPlayers:1/2

Well,I must admit that a game concerning balloons doesn't sound all that exciting,does it?I mean,come on,lets be serious,how can balloon popping make a good arcade game?Well,much to your surprise,Pang is such a game,but despite its silly theme I can say this is a pretty nice one.
What you have to do in Pang is pretty straightforward.You are on a screen full of balloons.Shoot them with your weapon and they will split in half.Shoot the resulting smaller balloons again and they will again split.Once they become the smallest size possible,your next shot will make them disappear.When you clear all balloons,you are allowed to proceed to the next stage.To confuse things a bit,there are breakable blocks,platforms and ladders,animals that get in your way and even some slippery surfaces...pity you have no ABS available! :) Weirdly,any contact with even the smallest balloons is fatal (maybe they are radioactive or something...),so you must avoid them like the plague. Btw,you can only fire one shot at a time,so use your shots wisely.To help,there are some types of special weapons (twin shot,a rapid firing blaster and some more you'll have to suss out yourselves...).To succeed in this game,you'll have to have fast but strategic thinking,agile movements and a healthy bit of luck.With 50 proggressively trickier stages available,you'll need a lot of it,believe me!The game is tons of fun in the simultaneous two-player mode,where confusion and chaos prevail ;)
As you probably understand,such a type of game doesn't depend strongly on the graphics/sound issues.Both these are just adequate, maybe not even that,as older games have been far more graphically or sonically refined.OK,there are some neat backdrops,but everything else is plain(ish),to say the least.No,gentlemen,what really counts here is the quite novel idea behind the game and the rather flawless execution of it.Pang is very addictive and well balanced,or,to sum it up in one word,this game is FUN!Of course,it could have been more finely done. The difficulty issue is a matter of debate,too.Some people may complain the game is easy,but I tend to believe that a game that allows some decent play time can't be a bad thing,especially when you'll still need some creativity and effort in order to finish the game.
Pang is brought to us by the incredible MAME team.It is emulated very well and it's the type of game that suits well to emulation and plays wonderfully,even on keyboard.So,if you have gotten tired of all the fighters/shooters etc etc. that float around,Pang may prove to be a breath of fresh air to your gaming needs...Go Pang some balloons,now! :)
Graphics
6
5
Sound
Play Control
9
7
Challenge
Replay Value
9
9
Performance
1999 EmuViews