By 1988- movies like Rambo- First Blood part 2 and Commando had been starting to influence the arcade landscape in the past year. This next game showed us what a 3rd person run and gun could be! The game could have been a sequel to Contra (that would come the same year with Super Contra) and was created during a time when scaling background games were making big money. It would be the benchmark for another Konami game we will talk about in this article as well! Today- we are talking about- Devastators!
Set in 1989, the player takes control of a mercenary duo known as the “Devastators”, who are hired by a small undeveloped country to defend their land from a fanatical Middle East dictator threatening to conquer it.
The game is essentially a vertical behind-the-back shooter that moves forward only. The soldier walks straight into the scenery, with a perspective similar to the “3D view” stages of Konami’s own Contra (1987) as well as Cabal (1988). What set Devastators apart is that instead of advancing automatically, screen by screen, the player walks forward by holding the Up direction, as the background slowly scales toward the screen. Devastators also featured various obstacles that could be used to take cover from enemy fire, as well as two-player cooperative gameplay.
Most of the missions require the player to kill as many enemies as possible for survival. The missions take place in jungles, desert and sea levels. At the end of each mission was a boss. Mainly the weapons were fairly authentic; the soldier was essentially armed with a machine gun and grenades. He can pick up rocket launchers along the way which could be used against heavy armored vehicles. Additionally, the player(s) have a limited amount of time to complete each stage, otherwise the game will end automatically.
Devastators came in a dedicated cabinet (Contra’s cabinet is reused here) and as a kit.
Enough Jibber Jabber- let’s get into the battle!
Sadly, this game has had no home ports on any systems- old or modern.
Now- for the other game- It’s pseudo sequel- G.I. Joe! If this game had come out in the 1980s, during the height of G.I. Joe popularity- this would have been a huge hit!
Three years later, Konami took all the lessons they learned on Devastators- and Improved on it In this game ! The frame rate of the backgrounds was significantly improved, colors and sounds are a lot better, and there is lots more objects on screen! It even had up to four players, and some 3D scaling and digitization were implemented!
Check it out!
So- what do you think of Devastators? Did you ever make it to the last level and defeat the dictator? Let me know in the comments!
Keep Playin’ Like It’s 1981!