Title: Final Command: Akai Yousai
   Released by: Konami
   Release Date: May 2, 1988
   Japanese level: 1
   MSRP: 3300 yen
   Current Price: 1000-1500 yen
Although Japan got quite a lot of neat Disk System releases that never made it to the US, Japanese gamers sometimes got the short end of the stick compared to elsewhere. Such is the case with Akai Yousai (Red Fortress), the FDS version of the famous army jeep combat sim (?) Jackal.

Like on the NES you drive a jeep around a set of army installations, ruins, and finally that fortress in the title. Fortunately for you, this jeep isn't your mother's Cherokee - it's got a machine gun in front and a pile of grenades in the back, upgradeable to a short range missile. While running over people and shooting gun turrets, you have to free the POWs by blowing open their barracks.

However, due to memory limitations the NES version is the far better game. A little explanation: The NES itself has only 2k of RAM, but can access up to 32k of the cart's data at once. Using bankswitching, though, it can switch which 32k bit of the cart it can access very quickly, so that the player wouldn't notice. The FDS, though, can't do that because of the disk media. As a result, the FDS has 32k of RAM in addition to the NES's 2k, and this FDS RAM is used to store the loaded-in data.

To cut it short, Konami has only 32k of space to make up one level of Akai Yousai (unless they want to force the player to wait for more data to load in the middle of a level, which is dumb), while in Jackal it can switch banks quickly in mid-level. How did Konami cram levels into 32k? Simple: the levels are shorter and are only one screen in width, as opposed to the Jackal levels which scroll in all 4 directions. The end of level screens are mostly gone as well, too. Oh well - at least the great Lieutenant Bob still figures in the intro...