December 1st, 2003
Ninjatron is going to talk about a hidden gem.
C-DOGS is a fun little DOS based computer game that I found online years ago, and every once and awhile I'll run it again. It's the sequel to a similar game called CyberDogs. C-DOGS has never been a really popular game, near as I can tell, but those who have played it know that this is one of the best game experiences you can have on your PC.
This is not really a deep or innovative game at first glance. It's an action shooting game from top-down perspective. However, while your view is from above, you can only see what is in and around the line of sight of your character. So, in other words, you can't see behind walls.
The graphics are very simple, and isn't a whole lot of detail. But it's good enough for what it needs to be. They are fairly basic 2D sprites, so don't expect to be blown away, but it's colourful and you can easily make out what the objects are supposed to be.
What makes this game so fun is the choice in weapons. There's a your standard knife, machine gun, shotgun, grenades, sniper rifle, and flame thrower, but you've also got Molotov, proximity mines, dynamite, and my favourite, the shrapnel bomb. Before each mission there is a brief description of the objectives and you are then given a list of weapons to chose from. You can carry up to 3. The various combinations that you can bring to all the missions and the experimenting that you can do while fighting make this game a blast to play. Furthermore, sometimes the enemies use really crazy weapons that are not on your list, like gas bombs.
The variety doesn't stop there. This game comes with two scenarios, or "campaigns", each made up of several missions. These scenarios don't really have anything to do with each other. They are separate story lines. That's really what C-DOGS is about. It's not a game with a set beginning and end, but an engine that can be applied to many possible kinds of games. Included are the tools for creating your own campaigns, and several users have taken it upon themselves to release a myriad of extra campaigns that you can download and play through C-DOGS. In one campaigns, you could be a soldier fighting against terrorists. In another, you're a detective searching for clues. There's alien invasions, arena battles, zombie rampages, and even a campaign that casts you in the role of an escaped mental patient. Some are better or more involved than others, but still, there's a whole lot out there for you try out.
You can also create your own characters to play as. The options are limited, so you'll have to be creative, but gives the game a personal touch. I've some up with a few crazy looking characters, including a Kung Fu Master, an MIB agent, and of course, Santa Claus.
The missions will keep you on your toes. It's not just shoot until you're done. Each mission has a different objective, or in some cases, several different objectives. You might need to hunt and kill all of the enemies, or a certain number of enemies, or a specific enemy. Find all of the computer disks, destroy all of the barrels, and search the entire area are just some of the other objectives that you may potentially face. Once your objectives have been accomplished, a square-shaped pick up area will appear. Stay within the square for a few seconds and you'll move on to the next mission.
There is no "ammo" in the game. You've essentially got as many shots as you want, it's just that when you fire, you lose points from your score. If your score is at zero, then you dip into the negative numbers. The game keeps a fairly detailed record of your scores, so if you really care about that, then do your best to shoot efficiently. If not, then by all means run around like a chicken with its head cut off and shoot like crazy! Just keep in mind that you can only have so many shots flying on the screen at once, so if you want to survive for any length of time, you really don't want to miss very often!
You'll be searching for keys, unlocking doors, and exploring, all while blasting away at your foes. The fighting can get pretty intense! Some times there will be several enemies on the screen at once, and there will be plenty of bullets flying and explosions going off. Be careful, however, as some missions will have civilian characters and/or computer controlled teammates, so not everyone you see will be an enemy.
Ok, now here's the best thing about C-DOGS.
That's right, this game is absolutely free. It doesn't cost a dime. It's freeware, not shareware. There's no registration fee or anything. Just download it and play!
Sure, it can get a bit repetitive at times, and the enemies aren't exactly the smartest bunch you'll ever fight against, but what do you want for free? It's a fun game with loads of replay value, lots of awesome weapons, and nearly unlimited potential. There's even a two-player mode. Truth be told, even with its simple graphics and basic gameplay, it's a lot better than some more recent games with their fancy graphics. Give it a try!