GENERAL CHAOS / EA / Sega Genesis

General Chaos is a great concept, and it can actually be fun when you get the hang of the controls, but getting the hang of the controls just takes too damn long and the way the game plays is just too counter-intuitive.

Squads of five commando doods battle it out in what is essentially a small RTS that takes place on one screen. You get to pick from different squads, but there's five types of troops they can consist of - a short-range machine gunner who sprays in a 45-degree arc, a grenade lobber, a dynamite planter, a very short-range flamethrower and a long-range rocket launcher. There's also the option to "go commando", which gives you only two random doods, but puts them more directly under your control - moar on that later.

Solo players get a series of battles pitting the armies of Moronica against Viceria in a battle for turf. Usually the objective is to just wipe out the other side, but there's a few here and there that throw an objective in like blowing up (or defending) a parked helicopter. To do this, you switch guys with the B button, order them to move to a spot with the C button, and make everyone fire simultaneously with the A button. Of course, all of this happens in real time, with all the enemies moving at the same time as well. If you have commandos, you actually move them directly with the d-pad, but otherwise the commands are about the same.

What I thought would have vastly improved the game is if you moved a whole regular squad the way you move the commandos. The game ends up seeming extremely random, apropos for the title I guess, but not really that fun to play unless you have some other juvenile miscreants around. The computer obviously has a huge advantage on you as it can move its characters separately and have them focus on separate targets, whereas you kind of have to direct yours in a big-ass cluster and they choose who they are going to fire at independently. With another human player fumbling around it becomes more manageable, but I found playing against the computer was just too overwhelming unless you happen to draw a good commando like the rocket launcher guy.

With practice it's possible to actually get good enough to beat the computer with a five-man squad, which I actually managed back in the day when I was borrowing this from a friend, but it takes a LOT of practice and I just don't feel it's worth the time investment. With other people to play against consistently it goes up a notch, but it's still a pretty simple game with limited meat to it.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video