Game Info:

Jets 'n' Guns Gold
Developed By: Rake In Grass
Published By: Rake In Grass
Release Date: December 2006 (Original Release), February 2014 (Steam Release)          
Available On: PC (reviewed) Mac, Linux
Genre: Side Scrolling Shooter
Number Of Players: 1
Price: $6.99

Jets 'n' Guns Gold is a game in which you fly an airborne vehicle, or “jet”, and destroy enemies with a variety of projectile weapons, otherwise known as “guns”. It's not exactly high art, but it is a very good video game. An expanded re-release of the original Jets 'n' Guns, which was first released in 2004, the game is a fairly traditional side scrolling space shooter, and makes few deviations from the expected formula.

The stand out feature of Jets 'n' Guns is its ship customization system. Before every mission, the player is able to spend their hard earned money (gained by shooting down enemies), on a bewildering array of weapons and upgrades. Each weapon has its own attack pattern, damage rating, and rate of fire, and all can be upgraded at the cost of even more money. Beware though, for using more powerful weapons can cause your ship to overheat, requiring a brief cool-down period before it can resume firing.  Ship upgrades have a variety of effects, allowing the player to slow down time, hack into enemy devices, or eject from their ruined ship in a tiny jet-pack to make a last dash for the finish line. With enough money, it's even possible to choose from a selection of new ships, which vary in armour, speed, and, most crucially, weapon slots, which are split between front and rear gun mounts, bomb bays, and missile launchers. All these options might seem intimidating at first glance, but fortunately items can be sold for the same price they were bought at, meaning that players are free to experiment until they find a set-up that’s right for them. 

Of course, it doesn't matter how customized your ship is if it isn't actually fun to use, and thankfully Jets 'N' Guns does not disappoint on this front. The game boasts an impressive forty-three missions, each of which sees your lone fighter blasting through hordes of enemy ships and ground troops, as well as space debris, walls, and a few more exotic threats. The majority of the  missions simply require your ship to make it from one end to the other in one piece, but a few have other objectives, such as destroying specific targets or finding a certain number of items. Several missions also end with battles against a level boss, which will typically have  more health and more complex attack patterns than regular enemies.  Most stages are both rather lengthy and quite difficult, at least for those not well versed in scrolling shooters, but thankfully mid mission checkpoints are present to keep frustration at bay. Even so, the game sometimes feels more sadistic than genuinely challenging, and  is prone to sudden difficulty spikes which come with very little warning. It is perhaps fortunate that Jets 'n' Guns eschews the one-hit-deaths favoured by some in this genre, instead providing a health bar which gives a small degree of leeway for mistakes.

Jets 'n' Guns Gold

Strong Points: Great soundtrack, Large number of missions, Lots of options for ship customization
Weak Points: Uneven difficulty, Bland graphics 
Moral Warnings: Violence, Mild language (PG-13), sexual innuendo, references to alcohol  

The story is a small step above the usual standard of “aliens are invading, go kill them”, but clearly isn't the game's focus. The evil alien dictator Xoxx has kidnapped the galaxy's top scientist and stolen his universe destroying quantum cannon, and it's up to the player, as a nameless  former soldier turned mercenary, to stop him. Under the orders of his commanding officer Colonel Troubleman, the hero must travel the galaxy finding clues and battling Xoxx's forces in a race to find the cannon before it's too late. This rather basic plot is enlivened with plenty of tongue-in-cheek, if not entirely family friendly, humour. For example, Colonel Troubleman's ship is named the USS [i]Impotence[/i], and one series of missions sees the player travelling to the legendary “Einhoff Beer Empire”, where they must do battle with flying beer bottles and other alcohol themed enemies. On the whole, the story won't win any awards, but it gives some welcome context to the action, and should provide at least a few laughs.

The game offers three different control schemes, one using a game-pad, one for mouse and keyboard, and one with just the keyboard. All offer smooth, responsive controls, though the number of functions involved can make finding the right key on the keyboard somewhat awkward, particularly during intense moments. All three control schemes can be customised, so  players  should be able to quickly settle on a comfortable set-up.

Graphically, the game is passable, though not  particularly inspired. Sprites for both the player and the enemies are typically large and stand out clearly, with the enemies showing an impressive variety of designs. However, some smaller objects, such as enemy infantry and projectiles, can get lost in the chaos of ships and bullets, which can result in a few unfair deaths. Environments and backgrounds are serviceable but bland, covering the expected space battles, futuristic cities, asteroid fields and research labs, with very few standing out from the crowd.

Jets 'n' Guns Gold
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 84%
Gameplay - 18/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 10/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 73%
Violence - 5/10
Language - 4/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7.5/10

The soundtrack, on the other hand, is top notch. Performed by Swedish metal band Machinae Supremacy, it features a mix of electric guitar riffs and synthetic beats, and is the perfect background music for the game's fast-paced destruction. The only issue is that it can be somewhat repetitive, and with only around an hour of music to cover roughly ten hours of game play, you'll be listening to the same tracks quite a lot. Still, it's hard to complain when those tracks are of such high quality, and metal fans would be well advised to check out the game for the soundtrack alone.

Morally, the game contains nothing too severe, but is best avoided by those who prefer "clean" games, and is definitely not suitable for children. Violence is constant, against men, machines, and aliens, though gore and bloodshed are largely absent. Mild swearing, sexual jokes, and references to alcohol are scattered liberally throughout the game, though nudity and actual sex are absent. As a science fiction game, it entirely lacks magic or occult references, and shows government and military authority figures in a generally positive light. Immoral actions are occasionally necessary, such as when the player is required to steal a high-tech ship in order to progress.

In conclusion, Jets 'N' Guns Gold is an excellent game, providing a lengthy and fun experience backed by an exceptional soundtrack. A few minor issues with difficulty aside, it's accessible enough to be a good entry point for newbies to the genre, while its large number of customization options should provide plenty of depth for veterans. Anyone who isn't concerned by it's moral issues should definitely give it a try.

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About Us:

Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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