GAIN GROUND / Sega / Genesis
Gain Ground is basically a primitive top-down run-and-gun shooter, albeit with a somewhat unique gameplay twist. The game consists of a series of single-screen rooms all chock full with armed enemies shooting arrows, bullets, throwing knives at you, etc. You start out with three characters, each with a different type of weapon, and have to choose which one is going to be most effective in getting through the screen using their unique firepower.
In certain levels, you have to guide all your characters to the exit one-by-one, so you have to plan strategically to send them in order that they can clear certain obstacles for others. For example, you start with a guy that lobs short-range spears and a guy that has a quick rifle that fires long-range. The rifle guy is usually way better at clearing out hordes of enemies, but if you need to shoot over a wall or up a ledge you have to go with the spear guy. If a character gets hit once, they're dead and gone, but you pick up more characters along the way -- some 20 in total, each with a unique set of weapons (most all have one weaker primary weapon and one stronger secondary with a more limited range) and movement speed.
The graphics are out of the same era as the gameplay - very mid 80s and very rough on the eyes, and one rather repetitive tune plays throughout all the levels. The presentation is about as low-budget as you can get, but admittedly the game can be some brainless fun - though I'd only reccommend it if you have a second player consistently available and willing to wade through the slings and arrows of misfortune with you. If you do decide to skip this one, though, you really won't be missing much.
* Gameplay Video