Fire Mustang (Genesis) review
"So, just this once, Iíll ignore the easy digs, like how the game starts in 1940, while America didnít enter the war until 1941. Or how the P-51 Mustangs I assume the game is based around were not readily available until around 1943. Instead Iíll mention how I stumbled upon a game I enjoyed playing despite looking for one to bag on."
I know what I expected from Fire Mustang. Hell, Iíd already mentally written the introduction about how Taito dropped the ball by publishing NMKĎs arcade port. Iíd make fun of some historical inaccuracies such as a Japanese developer making a World War II game in the vein of Hollywoodís long-standing battle against continuity by having America single-handedly win the war. Perhaps I'd have some laughs about Spain being used as a backdrop despite its complete neutrality during that period. Then Iíd be free to rip the game to shreds.
Except, no. Fire Mustang and its awful, awful name (the original arcade version this Mega Drive port was based on called itself US-AAF Mustang; itís slightly better) turns out to be competent. Then enjoyable. Then plain sadistic.
The opening stage flies you over serene scenes of sunny Spain. Formations of the Luftwaffe glide in from the right, while you mow them down from the left. Your basic weapons of a rapid-fire machine gun and an infinite supply of arcing bombs are unchangeable, but can be upgraded by picking up the burnt carcasses of defeated special crafts. The obligatory clear-screen nukes make an expected appearance and everything feels like youíd expect. This opening stage is easy, giving you a chance to bed in and collect upgrades. The giant fighter plane that serves as level boss goes down with a whimper.
It was only after this that I started to suspect Fire Mustang was not what it seemed. The second mission plots you through acres of swampland where smaller, faster fighters plague you while armed boats skim across the waterís surface, ploughing tracers into the sky. Then! A huge Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service bomber (look, I didnít name them, all right?) appears high on your flank and attempts to drop bombs bigger than your fighter right on your head.
Level three takes you to the clouds, where a few battalion of planes fall quite easily to your onslaught before climbing bogies do their level best to harpoon you from below, ploughing shrapnel into the skies should their unexpected kamikaze actions fail to bring you down. Then, after a few waves of targets drifting almost lazily onto the screen and downed in record number, you start to feel like the worst has passed. It hasnít. Youíve been had.
If you enjoyed this Fire Mustang review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!