X-Ranger, by Jimmy
Reviewed June 2002
LucasArts are not the only people who like
trilogies. X-Ranger 1.0 is the first installment of the 3D
action trilogy game series from Jimmy Software, and it is
the first FPS (first person shooter) game for the Pocket
PC that has full textured animation. In this episode, the
player is the gladiator who stands at the center of a battle
arena. The goal of the game is to survive the waves of attacks
from the enemies coming from all directions on the ground
and in the air.
Even though the graphics look a bit downgraded
from the early Beta version we played, X-Ranger still has
one of the best looking graphics and animations in a high
frame rates in this game. The game was created using real
time 3D rendering, so that you can see the monster running
or flying or shooting at you in 3D. The only thing that's
blurrier than the Beta version seems to be the background
images (none moving parts). The rest of the graphics, including
menu screens, moving graphics, realistic weapon shooting
and large explosions are still very cool!
The story behind the game is pretty simple.
You are a warrior somewhere in a far away galaxy and your
only mission is to play the Game of Death in a battle arena.
You can only survive by destroying the alien enemies who
are coming at you from all directions. You choose 1 of the
3 characters to start the game; each character also represents
a difficulty level. When I played as Huns Crazy Bull (hard
level), I felt that I was in the Aliens movie where I must
shoot the deadly aliens who showed up on my motion sensor
before they could shoot me down.
The important part of the game is to build up your weapon collection
by buying them after you've completed a mission and are awarded with
handsome amount of money. The graphics of these weapons are superb.
From Handgun to Disk Cutter, from Burning Blaster to Rocket Launcher,
you will love to go weapon shopping! The weapons not only look great,
they also make the game fun. If you use the weapons with guidance systems,
your missiles will find their marks as long as you shoot within a certain
radius of the target. There are also Nuke weapon, which destroys all
alien in sight; and Repair, which recovers your health in the battle.
The movements of the alien monsters are very creative and great looking
as well. The flying aliens look like flaming ghosts, the small but
fast moving ground aliens look like either scorpions or roller bombs,
the heavy ground aliens look like living tanks. As you advance in the
game, the aliens will increase their attack speed as well as tactics.
Like in level 4 and 5 you will see the small ground aliens and flying
aliens moving much faster to get your attention while the heavy aliens
slowly moving towards you from the opposite direction. It'll take many
hits to kill the heavy aliens, and they do big damage when they shoot
you. From level 6 and 7, the aliens will show up right in front of
you instead from the distance. There are total of 20 levels in the
game. The difficulty level has been increased in general from the Beta
version. But you can still get through level 1-5 without too much trouble.
The monsters are harder to kill in this version, so make sure you have
bought every weapon including the Nuke and Repair before you play level
Other than the great graphics, the sound
in this game is just sweet. The sound effects are realistic
like the alien screaming, the weapon explosion, voice dub,
etc. The music tracks fit the fast moving game play. The controls
in this game are very smooth. Weapon shooting is both responsive
and accurate. Some people don't like the over steering when
you turn your aim. I thought it was not bad at all as long
as you know how to control it. This time around I played it
on my Casio E-200 and it worked nicely. The file size has been
cut down from 12MB to a little over 10MB: not too big of deal
as long as you have plenty space. It takes a little bit of
time to load, and gives you a progress bar with a percentage
to let you know the game is actually loading and your Pocket
PC hasn't hung.
All in all, X-Ranger will be a sweet treat
for the Jimmy game lovers and attract newcomers. If you are
hungry for some action, X-Ranger might just satisfy your cravings
with its thumb numbing none stop shooting recipe.
Playing Hints and Tips
Purchase and test all the weapons in
level 1 through 5. You will need all of them to gain levels
after level 6 and 7. Understand what the more powerful weapons
can do and stock up the ammo. When a new level starts in
the later stage of the game, shoot early and shoot hard!