Operation Blockade Review

Operation Blockade is an arcade shooter, pure and simple, in which you'll face wave after wave of foes from the land, sea, and air.  The game is set in a fictional world which parallels Europe in the early 1940s.  Your peaceful country of the United Sovereign Territories (UST) has been overrun by the expansionistic minded Saruvian Empire.  As a last ditch effort, the UST has secretly placed a bunker on a small island off the Saruvian coast.  Your job is to man that bunker and hinder the Saruvian war effort by disrupting their supply lines, i.e. shooting anything that goes by.  Apparently it would have been an even greater stretch to try to come up with a story for the game within a World War II setting, and so the developers went with this one.  Sure the story is a stretch, but it doesn't really matter in a game like this.  In fact, the story does provide for a bit of a break between missions and at least gives the player the feeling that he/she is shooting everything that moves for a reason. 

Now that we've gotten the story out of the way, let's look at what really matters - the gameplay.  Your bunker is set in the middle of a circular island, and you can rotate a full 360, as well as elevate your gun angle to nearly 90.  The one thing that you won't be able to do though, is move or leave the bunker.  Think ball turret on a B-17 and you'll have a pretty good idea of what the game's bunker is like.

You'll have four main weapons at your disposal, a rifle, a machinegun, an artillery piece, and a bazooka, which you can instantly switch between using the 1 through 4 keys or the mouse wheel.  Each is designed for a particular type of enemy, but some can be used on other types, though usually not as effectively.  The rifle acts as a machine gun and is used for soldiers which have landed on the island.  The machinegun is an anti-air weapon who's firing arc does not go low enough to hit soldiers on the island.  The artillery piece is used against ships, and the bazooka against tanks that have come ashore.  In addition to the four main gains, you'll have a small supply of grenades to use against foot soldiers, as well as the ability to call in air support.

The air support is a nice feature that comes in a several forms.  The first calls in fighters that will attack any enemy planes appearing for a short period of time.  You'll also be able to call in torpedo bombers and ground attack bombers as well.  After calling an air strike, a timer appears letting you know when that type of air support will be available again.  Not surprisingly, your air support resembles World War II Allied aircraft such as Spitfires and Dauntless SBD-3s.  The air support is pretty effective, but you'll need to be sure to call it in at the right moments.  Using fighters to take out one or two aircraft could leave you in a bad spot when a squadron of eight planes shows up soon afterward.

As mentioned earlier, you'll face land, sea, and air attackers, most often in a combined forces attack.  All of the enemies use World War II vintage German weapons, and attackers include Stukas, Bf109s, Z-Class destroyers, and panzers, but bear the markings of the fictional Saruvian Empire.  Ships will shell you from the sea, landing craft will attempt to hit the island's beach and disgorge soldiers or tanks, and planes will strafe and bomb your bunker.  Each hit on your bunker will cost you some health, and should you run out of health the mission will end in failure.  Luckily, the enemy also has supply ships and transport planes and destroying these will restore some of your health and ammo supplies.