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Freeware Friday: Gang Garrison 2

Welcome to Freeware Friday, a weekly column showcasing excellent games that you can play free of charge!

Valve's Team Fortress 2, while long in coming, was a masterpiece unlike any other multiplayer game on the market at the time. Its continued success and loyal fanbase have prompted the developers to release a slew of patches adding new content to the game, with the latest being the Scout update. However, what if it was a NES game, not a PC game? Well, the result would be Gang Garrison 2. While we have talked about Gang Garrison 2 before on Big Download, it has been continually worked on. A feature-complete release, version 2.0, was released recently, and any fan of action games or multiplayer shooters has got to give it a try.

Drawing inspiration from the TIGSource Bootleg Demakes Competition, Gang Garrison 2 is a 2D version of Valve's popular shooter. While it didn't win the top prize for best game, it definitely stole our hearts and was easily one of the best games in the competition. It grew in popularity thanks to a mention in the imageboards, and a developer eventually decompiled the code and began updating it faster. Recognizing good talent when they see it, the development team invited him on and they proceeded to churn out the latest feature-packed version.

First things are first, as always: the graphics and sound. Gang Garrison 2 features NES-inspired sprites that, while distinctly retro, are smoothly animated and rendered. There are collision issues occasionally, but they are not constant and game-breaking. The audio follows much the same way, with retro-inspired sounds mixed in a modern way. It's a loving tribute of Team Fortress 2, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Gang Garrison 2, unlike Team Fortress 2, only has one game mode: Capture the Briefcase. It's a simple game of capture the flag, with teams requiring a balanced mix of good offense and good defense to win. There's no arena, control point, or payload game modes like Team Fortress 2, but that is fine. Capture the Flag works really well for Gang Garrison 2, and each map is incredibly different than its peers so that you aren't bothered by the single game mode.

Much like Team Fortress 2, Gang Garrison 2 has nine class types to choose from, each with their own benefits. While they aren't as varied as the Team Fortress 2 classes (mostly due to a lack of different weapons), it feels perfectly fine. It forces teammates to rely more on one another, which is always a good thing in a game like this. See if you can figure out the Team Fortress 2 originals that they came from!

  • The Runner: As you can guess, this class runs really fast. His weapon is the scattergun, which disperses greatly over range. He can double-jump, making him the most agile of all the classes.
  • The Rocketman: A reasonably normal character, his explosives can damage things with a nice blast radious as well as launch them a long ways. He can do this to himself to jump to higher ground, although he is not as good at it as the Runner is.
  • The Firebug: A pyromaniac at heart, the Firebug is good for one thing and one thing only: setting people on fire when he is right next to them. He has no range at all and moderate agility and staying power. Best for ambushes and shock troopers.
  • The Detonator: Wielding a mine launcher, the Detonator excels at mobile explosives, traps, and midair detonations. Unfortunately, he's a little more fragile than his counterpart Rocketman. His special ability is, quite obviously, the ability to detonate his mines anywhere.
  • The Overweight: The Overweight is the biggest and nastiest of the classes, with a powerful minigun and boatloads of health. Unfortunately, his minigun takes a while to spin up and he is abbhorently slow. This can make him easy pickings for the more mobile classes.
  • The Constructor: The Constructor's weapon is relatively useless (being a weak shotgun), but he more than makes up for it with his ability to set up a sentry gun that will attack enemies anywhere he pleases. This requires no special resource, but he can't heal the gun.
  • The Rifleman: The Rifleman can see the farthest out of all the classes, as he must snipe. This translates in-game as an ability to scroll roughly one full game screen in any direction/ His gun has the second-most powerful damage in the game (next to the backstab) but fires extremely slowly.
  • The Healer: The Healer is the one support class. They can alternate between healing a teammate with their gun or shooting syringes at an enemy. There is no invincibility here, but the gun does seem to heal faster than what you would expect.
  • The Infiltrator: You can't spell "Infiltrator" without "Traitor". Well, you can, but not phonetically! The Infiltrator's job is to cloak, run behind enemy lines, and sow havoc. They can cloak for any period of time, but any action will take them out of cloaking. The strongest attack they have is the backstab, which is an instant kill. However, when performing it, the Infiltrator remains stationary and becomes visible, making it a very risky proposition.

As you can see, the classes are different from their inspiration, but not greatly. The biggest change in features from the inspiration is the removal of critical shots. No more will you die to a critical rocket in a single shot! Instead, all players have the chance to exact revenge on an attacker.

Gang Garrison 2 is a superb game that really highlights what makes a demake: a loving attention to detail, an eye for the original inspiring game, and a love for interweaving retro elements. You can download and play the latest version by visiting the official site. Unfortunately, Gang Garrison 2 appears to be PC only. Happy hunting!

For another look at freeware games, take a peek at Joystiq's Free Game Club weekly feature!

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