Remember tales of the Wild West and all those gun slingers. Well the most satisfying activity when stressed is to shoot someone. But not for real (the wusses have taken that out of the equation with laws against wilful homicide). So what’s a body gotta do. Play a first-person.
Or better an online one like Rasterwerks Phosphor. This really cool Adobe Shockwave-based first person 3D shoot-em-up runs right in your web browser. For group bang-bang use the multi player (using server or network) version.
Phosphor is developed in Shockwave, Macromedia Director and uses special enhanced Xtras used for mouse look and full screen modes. You also need Flash installed. On some browsers (as determined by integrated cache management) you have to download all libraries every time you play. Opera is the best front-end. With Google Chrome running a close second. However you can’t play the game offline as core files are only streamed to your browser for a session. Ending the session also kills the game. This may be me alone but Firefox and Internet Explorer keep locking up and subjecting me to an ever-spiralling sky view loop!
The story board is conventional with a single Death Match option. Playing against multiple bots whose lethality is controlled by game settings. Despite the multi-player setup how-to (see above) I haven’t been able to access public servers. And perforce play against bots who come in three flavors: Male A, Male B and Female A. The A types wear identical golden battle suits and die the same way. Male B seems to be the player cloned. Each player can be killed up to 9 times with sessions running between 5-30 minutes. There are 5 game levels from Recruit through Champion (also the game default) with a choice of battle suits and gamer types identical to the bots. The one who kills the most and dies the least wins.
The default pulse weapon is slow but reasonably accurate. It’s great if you can ambush your quarry at close range. But the slow fire rate and inaccuracy ensure you get slaughtered quickly. The machine gun is better as it sprays rounds every where. And is great for close combat but runs out of ammunition (ammo) too quickly for my liking and well before you get a chance to score in medium range encounters. The sniper rifle is the best for long-range one-shot kills. But it doesn’t work for close combat. The most awesome weapon is the rocket launcher. Short on ammo as it is, it kills or fatally wounds with one round. But never fire the pulse gun or rocket launcher in closed spaces like tunnels and rooms. Or your own shrapnel will be the death of you (I found out the hard way). There’s also considerable and life-like trajectory decay so when you shoot downwards with everything but the rocket launcher all you do is annoy but not kill.
Watch out for wounded bots who become near-suicidal in their efforts to smoke you. As well as for dark holes where a mis-step is all it takes to plummet to your death. There’s a shield option that makes you near invincible. But its power degrades as you take hits.
Phosphor’s sound effects are awesome. Run through water (in the sewers) accompanied by splashing noises. Clomp across terrain. Or walk quieter but with a tradeoff in your motion. I’ve also learned its better to run at bots firing away than standing your ground. You might get lucky with a killing shot.
Always make sure to pickup any treasures scattered around like machine gun ammo, rocket rounds and pulse gun recharges. As well as instances of the 4 main weapons. As with similar games if you have a weapon you get an ammo recharge up to the maximum allowed. For the rocket launcher & pulse gun you get 60 rounds. For the machine gun up to 200 rounds or 50 rounds for the sniper rifle.
Health packs that restore life and vitality into your character lie scattered as Red Cross packs. With each giving you 20 points up to max of 100. There just one power shield (in the main room) perched on a block. You need to gallop towards the railing and at the very last minute jump (using the space bar) to grab this power-up. When you are really low on something, protect your back and stick around where you last collected that power-up. A new one will appear every 30 seconds or so. Don’t bother running over dead opponents as this doesn’t recharge your power-ups. The dead eventually fade into evaporating blood smears on the ground!
Because of life-like trajectory decay for all weapons, except for really really close combat, firing above the aiming pipper results in a better strike rate. Even with the (supposedly) more accurate sniper rifle that the bots love. Aiming at an opponent’s head too often results in less damaging body strikes. Aiming at torsos often caused most rounds to strike around the lower legs. Or worse, the ground.
That’s all there is. It’s on to the slaughter to relax.