Dead Angle (SMS)

Dead Angle Box Art

Dead Angle

System: SMS

Release Date: September 1989

Developer: Sega

Publisher: Sega

Genre: First Person Shooter

I’m going to go out on a limb and call Dead Angle a first person shooter even if it is hybrid with a third person shooter. You’re George Phenix, a criminal investigator in Depression era New York City that just put away Robert King, the biggest crime boss there is. But it isn’t all roses, as before going to the slammer, he vowed revenge. Your girl is kidnapped by the escaped King and it’s up to you to ice dozens of mobsters over six rounds of action.

You can see the yellow silhouette of Phenix and cross hairs on screen. You move the cross hairs around with the d-pad and if you stop pressing, the screen centers on that spot. Mobsters run, roll, or pop up on screen and start shooting. If the silhouette turns red, you’re in danger of being shot. You can avoid enemy bullets by pressing Button 2.

The meat of the action is firing back with Button 1. It’s probably best to continuously fire, because the hit detection isn’t as smooth as you’d like it to be. In fact, smooth isn’t a word that can be used to describe Dead Angle at all. The frame rate is in the low single digits. Everything chugs so slowly, it’s amazing this arcade port was released at all. You’re going to get hit even when it doesn’t look like you should be.

Luckily, after killing enough enemies, a first aid kit can drop. If you shoot that, you gain one of your three hit points back. There’s also a Tommy Gun power up that gives you a burst shot for 200 bullets. Each level tasks you with killing a certain number of mobsters before a boss appears. The bosses take multiple hits and have their own patterns of movement and shooting. Cotton Hill is the biggest pain, as he throws grenades, which must either be avoided or shot.

The final level tasks you with taking out a bunch of mobsters and killing all of the bosses again. If you can take them all out, it’s one on one with King himself. He holds Jane in front of him, but if you line up your shot and blast away, you can destroy his glass shield and take him out before he can even open fire.

Graphics: 1.0

The design of the graphics are pretty good, but the frame rate is atrocious.

Sound: 1.0

The gun firing effect isn’t very good and the music is pretty bad.

Gameplay: 1.0

The frame rate really makes the game not work well.

Difficulty: 1.5

Once you figure out how the controls work, it’s not that bad. Try getting through the final level on your last life though… took me a dozen tries, at least.

Fun Factor: 0.5

I can’t say this is a fun game. I bet the arcade version was better, but the limitations of the Master System is really showing itself.

Overall Grade: 1.0

Dead Angle earns a D. It’s a novelty for being a proto-FPS, but it’s something that can be avoided and should be.

Dead Angle Video Review on YouTube