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Video Game / Maximum Force

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Maximum Force is a 1997 Light Gun Game developed by Atari and Midway Games, released immediately after their previous arcade shooter, Area 51, where it's considered a Spiritual Successor.

Players assume the role of a Counter-Terrorist Agent sent to take on a terrorist organization, who had hijacked a cargo ship and infiltrated the city. After thwarting the terrorist's plot (by recapturing the ship and preventing the terrorists from escaping with its contents, and later foiling their attempted bank robbery) the player then infiltrates the terrorists' jungle hideout and uncovers their leader's secret mansion hideout.

It's worth noting that the game is literally crammed with bonus stages and mini-games in various intervals, unlockable by shooting enough onscreen targets. From shooting galleries, to hunting sharks in underwater stages, popping balloons and hunting cockroaches... in-between battling enemy mooks.

Not to be confused with the 1992 movie of the same name.

Maximum Force contain examples of:

  • Advertising by Association: Various flyers for the game (including the one pictured above) will proudly advertise Maximum Force as "from the creators behind Area 51".
  • Bank Robbery: The stage in the city have terrorists raiding a bank until you interrupt them, leading to a shootout that spills to the streets.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: The first level's shootout is in a burning chemicals plant, while there's another area near a helipad which is set alight.
  • Bonus Stage: By completing certain set conditions (such as shooting enough barrels onscreen, break every single crate, clearing the underwater area of mines, or shooting out every button on an elevator's keypad) you can access a quick bonus stage without enemies, where you can shoot everything onscreen for extra points within 30 seconds before going back to regular gameplay.
  • Car Chase Shoot-Out: Like Area 51 before it, the final level has a segment in a forest where you board an ATV and pursues after terrorists on jeeps, swapping bullets along the way.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: There are certain gaming magazines and promotional materials that claims the protagonist of Maximum is the same hero from Area 51, now transferred to a Counter-Terrorist Unit after thwarting an alien invasion, however unlikely it seems given the massive thematic difference between both games (from fighting aliens and zombified soldiers to generic, run-of-the-mill terrorists? Really?).
  • The Faceless / Featureless Protagonist: Subverted; for most of the game your character's face is unseen due to the game's first-person nature. But after completing the final level, you're then treated to a cutscene of your character blowing up the terrorists' jungle hideout, which reveals your player to be... just a random white guy. With a 'stache.
  • Invulnerable Civilians: Shooting bystanders removes a point from your life, but otherwise doesn't harm them.
  • Machete Mayhem: Terrorists armed with machetes will try to hack you from up close.
  • Mood Whiplash: Some of the shooting mini-games hits this territory due to how silly and unexpectedly random they are. In the middle of shooting terrorists in a burning weapons factory, you unlock a mini-gameā€¦ and find yourself shooting rubber duckies and fried chickens. And then goes back to killing terrorists thirty seconds later as if nothing else happened.
  • Mooks, but no Bosses: You kill terrorists by the dozens, and occasionally blows up trucks and helicopters, but you don't fight any bosses in the game. The unnamed terrorist leader is in fact killed in a cutscene at the end of the last stage.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: Rockets, missiles, torpedoes and all non-bullet projectiles, which can be shot before they reach you.
  • Parachute in a Tree: Downplayed, the last stage begins with a cutscene where you paradrop into the terrorists' forest hideout, and gets stuck in a tree on the way down. But then you whip out a knife, cut yourself loose in a few seconds, and lands on your feet - cue gameplay and shootout.
  • The Pig-Pen: Your character seems to be an untidy bachelor living alone; one of the mini-games - "Cockroach Shooting" - is your kitchen whose table is filled with leftover, unfinished food, cockroaches coming out of grocery bags, empty cups, coke cans, Chinese food takeout boxes, and a timer scoring you for the number of roaches you can shoot within 30 seconds.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Occasionally, terrorists will try whacking you from up close with the butts of their assault rifles. Getting hit lose a life point, the same amount as being shot.
  • Sea Mine: Subverted in one underwater area. It's filled with mines, but they're actually harmless and can be shot for points, with the dangerous projectiles being torpedoes fired by terrorists on the surface. If you managed to shoot enough mines though, you can unlock one of the mini-games.
  • Shoot the Bullet: Shooting projectile-based attacks, from missiles to torpedoes, is the only way to avoid getting hit. It gets really terrible during the mall shootout - the terrorists dropped a number of grenades in front of you, and instead of leaping aside over an adjacent railing (with a low drop which probably wouldn't hurt you), you're actually supposed to shoot every grenade within two seconds or lose a life when it explodes on you.
  • Shooting Gallery: Two of the possible bonus stage areas, the first being in a police station where you gun down paper dummies, and another in a funfair where you shoot rubber duckies on a conveyer belt.
  • Shout-Out: The final stage references Licence to Kill, where you take down a drug baron about to escape, with his drugs being mixed with liquid petroleum and is being smuggled out of the country in fuel trucks.
  • Sinister Shades: All the mooks (save for those in welding masks) are always seen wearing shades in order to indicate they're the villains you'll be shooting at. Which crosses into Sunglasses at Night territory in several stages set after dusk.
  • Silliness Switch: One of the optional mini-games have you entering a dungeon and trying to shoot every available bone on a skeleton within the given time limit. After that, the gameplay returns to normal, save for the next area's terrorist foes turning into armed skeletons! It's only momentary however, less than a minute later the game returns to normal flesh-and-blood enemies.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Everything onscreen can be blown to bits by your bullets. There's the usual Exploding Barrels, weapon crates and stray ammunition caches, but then even shelves, furnitures and dustbins are Made of Explodium...
  • Western Terrorists: They are the villains in the game you'll be constantly shooting at left and right.
  • William Telling: One of the bonus stages have you shooting a spinning roulette board filled with balloons, and a woman spread-eagled in the center.