Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Two Tigers (1984)

Name:Two Tigers
Publisher:Bally Midway
Developer:Bally Midway
Genre:Side-Scroller Shooter
Time:1 hour
Won:Not possible

Sometimes I like being able to look at a relatively obscure release and be able to go, yeah, I understand why this one didn't make an impact. Not even in a wrong place, wrong time sense, but just because it's outright bad.

Two Tigers was inspired by the film/novel God Is My Co-Pilot, which was about a pilot in the First American Volunteer Group, AKA the Flying Tigers, a volunteer group of American combat pilots who fought against the Japanese in China during WWII. They were wildly successful, and were credited with obtaining some of the earliest American successes against the Japanese. So successful that they gave American forces hope against a seemingly invincible enemy at the time, and eventually got merged officially into the United States Air Force.

And all this is despite working under absolutely awful conditions. Poor food, diseases, poor supply lines and the usual bit of being outgunned and outmanned by the enemy. A truly noble group of people who sadly, seem to have been forgotten by history. It's a shame that the only games I know of that feature these guys is this and some Apple II game that doesn't really work.

The premise is that you're above the sea, and you're going to take out a whole ton of aircraft carriers. Each aircraft carrier has two guns, and no other defenses. These guns don't actually seem to hurt you, or if they do they're so terrible at this job that I never actually got hit once. Instead the big problem are the brown planes, hit one of those and you both go crashing down. You can fly into the blue planes just fine. You are the only plane that can shoot, others just fly around. You have infinite lives, but don't think it's a piece of cake taking out those ships. Each one is on a time limit, miss 3 and it's game over.

To destroy the aircraft carriers, you can either use your bombs, but only above a certain height. Bombs have momentum, to a point. If you're rushing forward and fire a bomb, it'll rush forward and then stop all horizontal movement. You can also accidentally shoot your bombs, which is not a good thing. You can also shoot enemy planes or the occasional landmine to destroy chunks of a ship. You need to punch a certain number of holes in the ship, marked by water gushing out into the sky, and to do so you need to make 3 holes vertically in one location.

There's an obvious comparison, to The Dreadnought Factor, which was also timed and had you fighting solo against a horde of giant ships. Well, both are frustrating, and both don't control really well, but the timed aspect of that game was more manageable, you had more targets that did different things, and the enemy wasn't just the clock. No, seriously, the ship doesn't matter as much as the damn clock. I don't feel like I have any time in which to take out these ships. I could at least disable ship parts on The Dreadnought Factor to get myself time.

Control-wise I find that this game does not control well in MAME. Maybe it controls well in the arcade cabinet, but whether or not you're using the keyboard or a trackball mouse, I can't aim worth squat. You only get a turn, movement is steady, albeit affected by gravity, outside of a fast accelerator I rarely used. If you move the turn in a certain direction it holds, which is constant. That means if you die and respawn, you start off turning, which has resulted in me dying more than once. Worse yet, the turning speed feels too slow even though I'm sure it's fast for a WWII-era aircraft.

As a result I didn't really feel like my actions were all that important to the way the game played, instead, the game just did whatever it wanted and I was more or less along for the ride. I did eventually manage to reach the third series of ships, where the number of holes you have to take out of a ship is 5, but I just couldn't make it past that. This varies upon the ship design, as whether or not you can take out a ship depends on the design. Some designs have a lot of protective bits guarding the hull, where a bomb just destroys those bits but a crashing plane takes out the ship.

I can't claim to want to continue either. This game doesn't work well with MAME at the moment, with graphical glitches and some sound issue, I suspect music. It's all just noise here, but because of the graphical glitches, the game looks much worse than it should. What's supposed to happen is the sky fades from day to night to day again, only in-game it looks both washed out and hard to look at. That's usually a problem I have with more garish colors rather than something like this. Even if these problems were fixed, this game just isn't very attractive to begin with.

There are also little intermission sections where you can destroy mines, sharks or a submarine. Seeing as this requires some degree of accuracy, something I've already complained about, this is just another aspect in which it feels like I have no control over the outcome.

Ineffective bombs and bullets. 1/10

A noble attempt at trying something interesting, with giant ships to destroy and hordes of planes overhead. It even creates some interesting tactical situations, but not that interesting. 2/10


Basically just enemy design. 1/10

Player Agency:
Awful, just doesn't control well at all in an emulator. 1/10

Some sort of non-enemy destruction going on. 1/10

Misery. 0/10

Incredibly ugly-looking. 0/10


8-bit, just sort of there. 1/10

That's 7.

I really expected an arcade game from this year to at least be slightly more interesting than what I got, but alas, this is perplexingly bad. I suspect this will be the case for most arcade games released this year. I barely recognize most of the ones I'm going to be playing, not a good sign.

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