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DescriptionThe year is 2712, and four mercenaries have been sent to the planet Graveyard on a hostage rescue mission. Upon arriving, however, they discover that the call for help was just an excuse to lure them into proving grounds, where they will have to fight genetically engineered creatures.
Hired Guns is an action RPG using square-based movements, à la Dungeon Master, in which up to four players can take part and set in a futuristic setting. The screen is split into 4 parts (or 3 in case 3 players play together), each one representing the viewpoint of the characters, these being selected from a team of 12 available mercenaries.
If one player plays alone, he will control all 4 characters, using the mouse to navigate between each character viewpoints. A follow mode is available to avoid tedious numerous amounts of clicking when moving several characters. If two players play together, then each player will use a mouse to control two characters.
In three or four-player mode, players can freely choose to control their characters via either a joystick/joypad or some of the predefined keyboard layouts or a mouse. When 4 people play together, the screen will display 4 viewpoints, like in 1 and 2-player modes. In 3-player mode, the top of the screen displays two viewpoints for player 1 and 2, but the lower part of the screen displays a single viewpoint, centered, for player 3.
Three game modes are available.
The Training mode features 5 simple maps on which the player(s) can learn how to move, use inventory items etc...
The Full Campaign mode takes the player(s) to the far reaches of the Luyten planetary system, on the planet Graveyard. Battling through more than 20 theaters of engagement, your team of mercenaries test their limits of military prowess in order to wipe out all threats on the planet surface. To this end, they have to make their way through the different missions and gather 4 fusion power core rings, before entering the final mission in the Spaceport.
Finally, in Short Action game mode, the player(s) can choose between 17 maps. On those maps, the player(s) will have to fight some enemies to reach the exit within a specified time limit. Additionally, when more than one player takes part in the mission, players will compete with each other since only the first to reach the exit will win.
- "שכירי חרב" -- Hebrew spelling
Part of the Following Group
|Gunning for a great game? It's right here.||DOS||Ummagumma (79)|
|The greatest game to have ever graced the humble Amiga||Amiga||chris nunn (6)|
|Amiga Force||Amiga||Oct, 1993||97 out of 100||97|
|Amiga Format||Amiga||Dec, 1993||95 out of 100||95|
|CU Amiga||Amiga||Oct, 1993||91 out of 100||91|
|Amiga Computing||Amiga||Nov, 1993||91 out of 100||91|
|Play Time||Amiga||Nov, 1993||81 out of 100||81|
|High Score||DOS||Nov, 1993||4 out of 5||80|
|PC Format (UK)||DOS||Dec, 1995||76 out of 100||76|
|Amiga Joker||Amiga||Nov, 1993||72 out of 100||72|
|Power Play||Amiga||Nov, 1993||56 out of 100||56|
|PC Player (Germany)||DOS||May, 1994||46 out of 100||46|
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Cancelled successorThere was a newer PC version of Hired Guns that was going to be developed by Devil’s Thumb Entertainment, originally formed as a division of DMA Design, in Boulder, Colorado, and was built on top of the Unreal engine. Although the game was slated to be released in 2000, the game was cancelled because of Psygnosis leaving the American PC game market in 2000 for PlayStation games, and the VR1 acquisition of Devil's Thumb. However, except for Steve Hammond, who was produced the background materials of the game, nobody from original design team were involved in this remake. Prototypes of the game, however, has been leaked.
Copy protectionThe Amiga version featured two-stage copy protection. Once the password protection had been removed, the game appeared to be cracked. However, the game would recognise that the copy was pirated, and refuse to save the player's progress.
InspirationThe unmanned sentry guns that can be placed down are inspired by the similar ones in the Special Edition of the movie Aliens (1986) according to Scott Johnston, lead designer of Hired Guns.
Loading mechanismAmiga version of "Hired Guns" as one of not many games (presumable the only one) contained a unique loading mechanism that was prompting the player which disk should be put next into the floppy drive. In particular it was useful for those who had two or more floppy drives and didn't want to waste time on disk swapping (they could organise the presence of the disks in drives) or stop listening to the excellent game's soundtrack (the appearance of "insert the other disk" screen disabled the music during loading time).
Level editorA couple years after the premiere of the game Scott Johnston released a game editor. It gave the player the possibility to alter designs of the levels, enemies, textures and briefing texts. It was a nice addition to character's editor that was already delivered with the game. The character's editor gave the possibility to put your own photo as the face of selected character.
Pre-releaseThe game was first mentioned in magazines two years before its release, known as Hired Gun. At this stage it partially resembled the TV show The Crystal Maze, with the four-player and multiple-time-zone aspects emphasised.
ReferencesThe game contains reference to other DMA Design production - Lemmings. Lemmings' characters are not only an easter egg but they serve as regular enemies. However they are available only in single or two player missions and not in a campaign mode.
Information also contributed by ronalddvd and xxxxxxxxxxx
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Amiga Credits (36 people)
Concept, Design, Icons:
Scott G. Johnston, Graeme Anderson, Martin Good, David Hally, Steven Hammond, Michael Dailly, Ian Dunlop, Mike ClarkeCharacter Illustrations:
Scott Cheetham, Derrick Angus, Joshua Raitte, Tony Parkes, Christopher Stanley, Mark O'Connor, Paul Holmes