By Mike Wallinga and Adam Karneboge
Foobar vs. the DEA 1.1
Freeware/$20 fee for two additional games
Adam: Ever since Mike has gotten his 33.6 modem, he’s been sending me games like crazy. Amidst the barrage of files was one called “Foobar vs. the DEA.” At first glance, this game looked like a crappy game with no concept or plot, but as I got into playing it, my opinion changed, FAST!
Mike: I’ll start out by just saying it: this game rocks!
Adam: The concept of this game is to beat all four levels, and at the end of the fourth, rescue Foobar’s friend, Ned. When you click the “Start” button, you are put into a top view position over a desert-like landscape. There are two different types of enemies for each level, ground and air enemies, respectively. Common to all 4 levels are missiles, which fly horizontal across the screen as you move in a forward, vertical position.
Mike: The Macintosh platform, as a whole, has always lacked good shooters, and while this situation has improved an awful lot as of late, many of the new games require a fast processor or a lot of RAM. Funner Software has the answer to this problem with their game, Foobar vs. the DEA. The game requires only two megs of free RAM, works on any 12-inch monitor or larger, and will run on any 68020 processor or better. (I’m not positive about 68000-compatibility. All I know this that it worked fine on my ‘040-based LC 575 and also ran well on an ‘020-based original LC.) This game is great for Mac users still using older Macs, like myself, but I think Adam will attest to the fact that there’s plenty of reason for RISC-based Mac gamers to check this title out, too.
The fact that it runs on a low overhead is actually one of the lesser reasons to like this game. More importantly, this game looks great, sounds great, and is a blast to play. It’s easily the best shareware vertically-scrolling shooter I’ve ever played on the Mac, and in my book, it rivals classics like Swoop and Apieron for sheer fun.
Adam: The graphics in this game are superb.
Mike:: The graphics are quite nicely done. They’re bright, colorful, and carry a decent amount of detail. In keeping with the not-so-serious tone of the game, they’re cartoony enough to be humorous, too. The comic bookish “Pows” and “Splats” that come up on screen when things blow up are a nice touch. The backgrounds scroll smoothly and also look nice, from the desert setting of level one to the metallic and robotic-looking backgrounds of level three.
Adam: Obviously a very well-programmed game – the scenery scrolls smoothly as you fly through each level. Each level has different graphics, which are different in some ways, and similar in others. (The screen shot above is level 3) Even though each level is different, you can still tell that you’re playing the same game.
Mike: The opening theme song is fun and catchy, and the driving sound track during game play really adds to the experience. The sound effects are also effective, even though the noise of launching your own missiles can get repetitive when you’re firing almost nonstop. There’s also an option of turning the music on or off while you play.
Adam: Turn them off? The sound and music are the best! While there are your expected blasts and blow ups when you hit an enemy, there are also background sound effects, like door openings in level 3, or electricity in level 2. The music is great, a very catchy startup theme song, and a different track each level. Somehow, each track seems “more difficult” as you go through each level, though it may be just me. 🙂
Mike: While flying your ship, you have two weapons to fire: missiles and bombs.
Adam: As I quickly figured out, bombs were for ground enemies, and missiles were for air enemies! There are two different types of enemies for each level, ground and air enemies, respectively. Common to all 4 levels are missiles, which fly horizontal across the screen as you move in a forward, vertical position. I would tell you what each enemy is, and hints for getting around them, but I don’t want to spoil the game!
Mike: Sometimes the screen can get really cluttered with bad guys, so fire both weapons often. Be careful not to hit one of the various power-ups, though, because they’re just as fragile as the enemy ships! If you’re lucky enough to capture one of the power-ups, you’ll be rewarded with either an extra life, added firepower, shields, or (my personal favorite) a clone ship to fly side-by-side with you. You can also get power-ups which freeze all the enemies for a period of time or blow up all the bad guys on screen.
The four levels of the game are all similar, but each one is unique enough, and increasingly more challenging enough to keep you playing. There are three difficulty levels to choose from too, just in case you beat the game too quickly. You can save a game in-between levels, and can also set the control keys to your liking.
Adam: As you fly forward, you have semi-complete control of your plane. You can move forward and back, left and right freely, but only in the allowed area, you can’t fly out of the range of the screen. You fly your plane from a top view, so this is really not a game you would want a joystick for. The keypad worked great.
Any great game has some kind of “reward” for making it so far, and Foobar is no exception. There are 6 different rewards: extra life, rapid fire, shields, enemy freeze, mega-bomb, or (my favorite, like Mike’s) a clone ship to fly side-by-side with you. When you get the clone ship reward, you have two planes, and when you fire or bomb, two missiles or bombs are fired, which can prove useful when fighting large groups of enemies. Rewards like extra life, shields, or enemy freeze only last for a certain amount of time, while rewards like the clone ship or rapid fire last until you die. If one of your clone ship’s is shot, you only loose one. The rapid fire lasts throughout the length of the game, until it’s over.
Mike: It’s worth noting that the game carries a somewhat, well, unique plot. As the title suggests, you are supposedly fighting against the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Big Brother-like computer which keeps tabs on everyone in the country for the government. You’re trying to rescue your “friend,” Ned, from the “clutches” of the DEA, and, well… Foobar and Ned both look like guys if you ask me. It’s my impression that the whole thing is meant to be a little tongue-in-cheek, but the plot is a little “out there” nonetheless. But, like any good action movie, the plot of any shooter takes a back seat to the fun and the action, and Foobar delivers on both counts.
In correspondence with the authors of the game, I was told that it’s technically freeware. Users are under no obligation to pay the $20 that’s asked for. However, the fee will provide you with two more Foobar games (he’s fighting the FCC and a school board in the sequels) that, as far as I know, are not in the public domain. The authors also would like people to pay for the game so, as they put it, they can eat. 🙂
Adam: What a well-rounded game. Great graphics, great sound and music, great effects, great plot, great everything. I can’t say how much I have enjoyed this game. Honestly, I don’t know if I have ever enjoyed a shareware/freeware game like this one. I have a list of my long time shareware/freeware favorites, which I play often, like Tetris Max and Mantra. Now Foobar has been added to that list. If you find you enjoy this game, pay the $20 for the other 2 games, they are a blast. If you are a Mac gamer, no matter what machine, no matter what style you are, you will like Foobar vs. the DEA.
Mike: Foobar versus the DEA is a wonderful title. It’s got good graphics and sound, plays well, has low system requirements, and really gets the adrenaline pumping. I’d love to see more action-oriented games like this. I started my review by saying it, and I’ll end with it, too: this game rocks.
Pricing and Availability
Foobar vs. the DEA is available on America Online by doing a keyword software search for “Foobar,” and on the Internet at the Foobar Home Page: http://mleesun.phys.lsu.edu/~cruse, or at the My Mac Software Library: http://www.mymac.com/software, in the games section.
Download Foobar Versus the DEA 1.1