Imagine a time when most of the games you played were side-scrolling platformers with benign names like Dave, Cosmo, Hocus Pocus, Jazz Jackrabbit and Commander Keen. These were good games in their own right but for the most part, they were colourful, simple games that could’ve been rated PG13 or lower, if that’s possible; stuff that your mommy and daddy would approve of as “wholesome fun”. Then along comes a game with a little edge to it – Raptor: Call of the shadows. A game whose opening animation with the bullet riddled alien ship and the almost thumpy midi soundtrack made you sit up and take notice; whose variety in weapons, and upgrade systems made your head spin and most of all, here was a game that made you play almost entirely with your mouse!
For me personally, Raptor: Call of the shadows was an awakening of sorts because this was the first game in which I discovered an exploit all by myself! (High five to 10 year old me! Yay!). Before I explain what the exploit was, let me get into the mechanics of the game a bit.
Like I mentioned before, the weapon system was quite elaborate for a game that was first developed in 1994. You had a primary “always on” main gun in addition to two other slots that could be equipped one at a time. This meant that you could have an air-to-air missile firing all the time by keeping the left button pressed, and by right-clicking, you could swap the AAM for a air-to-ground missile. The primary gun, which was usually a machine gun or a small autocannon would always be on irrespective of what secondary weapon has
With the number of weapons available this led to a whole number of interesting combinations for you to try. Every mission needed you to go to the weapons shop and re-configure your loadout. Some missions were ground target centric and some have bigger waves of air targets.
The weapons upgrades that you got in each mission could be sold in the shop to buy other beefier weapons of your choice. One lazy afternoon, just as I had finished collecting an air to ground missile pack I had to quit the mission for some reason. I left Raptor: Call of the shadows at the inventory screen. When I returned I discovered that the weapon pack I’d collected hadn’t disappeared from my inventory. *hmm interesting*.
I played the mission again up to the same point, quit, came back to the shop and voila! Inventory showed two AGM missiles. Rinse, repeat and in no time I had 10 AGM missiles which I sold for a killing! What I had discovered my friends, would later be known as “farming”.
In what was around the fourth mission of Raptor: Call of the shadows, I had already acquired the Pulse Cannon – the most expensive weapon in the game! I was cutting through enemies literally like a hot knife through butter. Ah… I felt like the biggest hax0r ever.
Apart from the personal nostalgia, Raptor: Call of the shadows is a game worth experiencing. And one that I credit for acquiring whatever little mouse proficiency that’s helped me in other games later in life.