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Platform:  Dreamcast
# of Players:  1-4
Developer:  AM2
Publisher:  Sega
Features:  On-line play, Jump Pak, Keyboard
Ratings:  Teen
Memory Req.:  8 blocks
Shooter. That is the main operative word in First Person Shooter. That is what defines the genre. Shooter. Not plot twists, or level secrets, or enemy modeling, or Geo-Mod technology. Sure all that stuff is nice, but just ask any Quake Arena or Unreal Tournament fan and they will tell you that they play FPS games for the shooting. It is what made shooters fun before they were in first person mode. With Outtrigger (that's trigger with a "t") Sega creates a perfect blend of old-school shooter-style gameplay with the first person look that we have come to know and love.

The plot (if you could call it that) is simple. There is no great tyranny that must be overthrown or a deadly virus that must be stopped. Basically there are bad terrorists and you have to kill them. If you are looking for depth of storyline go somewhere else. Here it is all action, and boy is there a lot of action. This is the kind of fast-paced game that you will keep in your multi-player play-stack for a long time to come.

Outtrigger seems to capture everything that we love about shooters without getting to bogged down in unnecessary fluff. The levels are simple, diverse, and designed to force combat; no hiding here. And most importantly, it has the kind of speed that will make your eyeballs hurt. The kind of shoot and move reaction time that you are required to have in order to succeed rivals that of great top-down shooters like Raiden and 1942. This is a blood-pumping fast-moving blow-em-away kind of game.

With up to four-player split screen and online play this shooter is definitely a game to bring people together in the name of mayhem. Though there is quite a bit of firepower being launched, Outtrigger still maintains a Teen rating (unlike Quake and Unreal, which carry M's) so even you little brother can play. You can tell right away that the main focus of the game is fun. Though skill does play a part in the overall game, I think novices will have much more fun playing Outtrigger than any other FPS. The reason being that there is so much happening so quickly that even though you die, you never really feel like you are at a disadvantage.
Another reason that the game is so user friendly is the weapons systems. Each player has a cannon, a rifle and a bomb weapon. These weapons differ slightly from character to character but in essence they are all the same. So you donít have to worry about the best player getting the best weapon and dominating the game. Also, you do not have to replenish you whole arsenal every time you die. This is a real comfort for those of us that get smoked two or three times in a row while trying to search for the weapon that the guy in the lead has. Also, if you do have a weapon's preference, you can configure a character to carry the selection of destructive mayhem that you like.

The game really shines in multi-player, as up to four players can go at it in a number of great arenas, but for you solo players there is a lot to do. There are two one-player modes, arcade and mission. Nothing we haven't seen before and in truth the levels are not all that original but there are so many of them, you will find that they keep you busy. In arcade you choose 1 of 4 difficulty levels and proceed through a set of different training exercises and challenges. In mission mode you have to start out on the easiest levels and pass each mission before harder ones open up. If you defeat enough of the levels, then secret characters and weapons will open in the multi-player and create-a-player modes. Though both of the on-player options are similar in gameplay, they remain individual. The mission mode tends to be a bit more creative while the arcade is a bit more traditional. You choice mainly depends on whether or not you want to choose the order or difficulty of your missions.

My biggest complaint about Outtrigger is the control. Out of all of the controller configurations they have none make use of the controller that well. They seemed to think that the Dreamcast controller is based on a keyboard and mouse configuration. There was one option that was bearable but nothing suited the way that I wanted to use the controller. Also the characters are pretty slippery. I know that this is to keep the games speed at a high level, but I just thought I'd mention it.

Outtrigger is one of those games that you will find incredibly difficult to put down. The levels and matches are short, the action is exciting, and it is just too damn easy to start up again after you think you are finished. Each stage moves a rapid pace with health and ammo scattered about everywhere--so much so that you would think it would be easy to keep up a fresh supply of both. Quick deaths, however, prevent that from happening.

So unless you are a blood and gore freak, you may want to look into picking up a copy of Outtrigger. It does for FPS what Power Stone did for fighting games, put the fun back into it. Disregard the big cartoon bullets and heath packs and the silly coin collecting. All your FPS skills are still going to be put to good use in probably the most evenly matched FPS out there. See you online.

Chris Shade

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