PC cover art
|Developer(s)||Silent Software, Inc.|
|Publisher(s)||Prolific Publishing (3DO)
Williams Entertainment (PC)
Time Warner Interactive (PS1)
|Designer(s)||Baron R. K. Von Wolfsheild, Alexis Kasperavičius, Will Ware, Van Arno|
|Genre(s)||Capture the flag|
|Mode(s)||Single-player, two-player split-screen|
Return Fire is a 1995 video game developed by Silent Software, Inc. for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer and later ported to the PC and PlayStation in 1996. It was preceded by Fire Power (1987) and followed by Return Fire 2 (1998). Return Fire is a vehicular shooter from a 3D bird's eye view, in which the player's goal is to capture the enemy flag and return with it to their base. It is remembered as one of the 3DO's "best games" in its Home of the Underdogs entry.
Return Fire has four specialized vehicles, each one with unique abilities for a different mission. Each vehicle can carry a limited amount of fuel and ammo (which can be refilled at ammo tents and fuel depots) and can withstand different amounts of damage. If a land vehicle runs out of fuel it stops and the driver jumps out and runs away. If a player's vehicle is destroyed, a skull wearing an army helmet materializes, taunting the player with laughter.
The Tank is the most flexible land unit. It is highly maneuverable, with a 360° rotating turret and the ability to fire at land or air targets.
The Tank can carry up to 92 shells and can travel the greatest distance of all vehicles on a full fuel tank. Five tank shells are required to neutralize a tower.
The Helicopter is the fastest vehicle, but it is relatively weak.
The Helicopter can carry up to 96 shells and 48 rockets. It runs out of fuel faster than all other vehicles, and fuel and ammunition cannot be resupplied unless it returns to base. Two rockets or five shells are required to neutralize a tower.
Helicopters can strafe at an angle, a maneuver consuming no fuel (although this can be debated as a glitch). A helicopter may be slightly deflected or stunned momentarily when hit by ammunition.
Heavy Rocket Support Vehicle
The HRSV/M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System is the most armored vehicle and is able to fire at land or air units as long as they are not too close. It is the slowest moving vehicle, but has the ability to lay mines which can instantly destroy any land vehicle.
The HRSV can carry up to 64 rockets and ten mines. Mines are the only non-restockable ammo, and once placed can only be safely detonated by a rocket from a helicopter. Three HRSV rockets are required to neutralize a tower.
The Jeep/Buggy is the fastest land vehicle and solely possesses the strategic ability to pick, move, and drop flags. Jeeps have the ability to over-inflate their tires and travel across deep water. They are the weakest vehicles, requiring only one hit to destroy. If a Jeep is facing in the direction of the discovered opposing flag, a red light on the dash board will light up and a bell is heard.
The Jeep can carry up to 16 grenades, which have the same strength as a tank shell. Grenades have a more limited range than other ammo. Five grenades are required to neutralize a tower.
As the game is focused on the two player, split-screen mode, the game lacks real AI opponents. Only rotating missile turrets and drones are a regular threat to the player in the single player mode, except if he exceeds the boundaries of the map, where a submarine emerges and fires a heat-seeking missile against the player. Of least danger are infantry troops.
Turret Towers belong to either to green or brown team. They are capable of firing missiles at land or air units in any direction. Missiles are as equally powerful as tank shells. Turrets will fire automatically in the direction of an enemy vehicle, sometimes regardless if another structure is in the line of sight. They are usually positioned close to flag positions or on peninsulas connecting walls to slow enemy advancement. The main weakness of a tower is its speed in reloading and rotating, both of which can be taken advantage of by the faster vehicles.
These machinegun-wielding Unmanned combat air vehicles arrive on the map if a players vehicle stops moving for too long. It will continue to hail the player with sweeps of bullets until it is destroyed. More drones will arrive if the player persists to remain stationary.
If a player takes a vehicle out of the map into the sea (only possible with the helicopter or jeep), a submarine will surface and launch a single heat-seeking missile towards that players vehicle. However, if the missile finds another target (a drone or the other player helicopter) between him and the player, it will start chasing the closer target instead.
Troops escape from critically damaged buildings and belong to either the brown or green team. Armed only with grenades, they flee from player-controlled vehicles even if it means swimming out to sea. They throw grenades in the same fashion as the jeep, at hostile vehicles. They can be killed by helicopter fire, by being run over by a vehicle or by tank shells as they swim for safety.
Also notable was the game soundtrack, composed exclusively by classical pieces such as Richard Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries when using the helicopter (in homage to Apocalypse Now), Flight of the Bumblebee when driving the jeep, Holst's Mars from The Planets when driving the tank or the William Tell Overture by Gioacchino Rossini when riding with the flag. When driving in the Armored Support Vehicle, Edvard Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King plays. During the opening title screen Verdi's "Dies Irae" plays as the "Return Fire" logo appears, engulfed in flame. At the completion of each level, a sequence of unrelated vintage black and white short clips greets the player.
A massive explosion occurs when both players' HRSVs sit alongside each other and place all their mines on that spot then moving simultaneously.
When a land vehicle runs out of fuel, it becomes invincible and as long as it remains in sight of one player, may sit on that spot until the end of the game.
If a vehicle obstructs the path of a helicopter attempting to land or trying to take off, the helicopter will be suspended in midair and uncontrollable.
When a level is completed in the PC or PlayStation version a short video clip is shown. One of these is a clip featuring Lou Gehrig's famous Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth speech.