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Tail Gun Charlie

by Alan German

As the tail gunner in a heavy bomber, you have a clear view to the rear of the aircraft – and of the enemy fighters that are closing rapidly. It’s time to swing those twin .50 cal machine guns into action! This is the scenario for Tail Gun Charlie, a World War II shoot-‘em-up game for an Android smartphone or tablet.



Enemy planes arrive in waves. Your job is to prevent any of the fighters from getting past your aircraft. The good news is that you have unlimited ammunition. The bad news is that if you keep your finger on the trigger, the guns will overheat and you will be unable to fire for a few seconds until they cool down.

I’m not normally a fan of computer arcade games. They usually seem to be designed for young folks, with lightning-quick reactions, and infinite patience to master the fast-paced games. Tail Gun Charlie is a bit of an exception. It provides different levels of action – normal, hard – and insane (!) In fact, these just let you join the action at different stages. The initial attack waves are slower with fewer enemy fighters. The later waves are – well – totally insane!

You start off in “training mode”. Initially, the software provides a double gunsight. The regular aiming sight is accompanied by an additional one indicating the “lead” that should be taken to allow the bullets to hit the moving target. However, this only persists for the first few attack waves and then you are on your own.



The graphics for the game are spectacular. A glint of light in the sky indicates an enemy fighter appearing in the distance. The fighter approaches, banking left and right, as it swoops closer to your location. It’s time to use the touch screen to bring the gunsight onto the enemy and push the firing button. A trail of black smoke indicates a hit. Cause enough damage and the fighter will fall out of the sky, trailing smoke as it descends out of view. However, if you have really good aim and hit an engine, the enemy plane will explode in a ball of flame, with debris being scattered across the sky. Of course, if you miss, and fail to disable an attacker, he will zoom past you. The screen flashes and jitters, as a hail of enemy bullets takes out one of your protective shields. Lose all five shields and it’s game over!

The ever-growing attack waves may include the Messerschmitt Bf 109, Messerschmitt Bf 110, and Focke-Wulf Fw 190. As you progress through the game, gaining points and promotions to your military rank as you do so, the attacks include more fighters and faster speeds. Recently, the program’s developer has added the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter. These guys just scream across the sky towards you, so be ready with that trigger!

But, it’s not a totally one sided battle. The more you play, the more you increase your skills. And, as you amass points, bonus items becomes available for your use. These include things like limited amounts of high-explosive shells, water cooling for the guns, and the opportunity for periods of rapid fire. A novel method of defense, which can be extremely useful when the action gets really hectic, is the Flak Attack tool. Hit this button and a barrage of anti-aircraft shells is released that disables any nearby fighters and temporarily stuns every other plane in the sky.

The game has two primary modes of operation – arcade and campaign. In arcade mode, as you amass bonus items (powerups), these remain available for each subsequent attack wave. In campaign mode, you can use your hard-won points to purchase various defensive tools but, once you use one of these, it is expended and you must re-purchase it in order to use the same tool again.

The basic game is free to download and play. You are offered the opportunity to watch an advertisement after each attack wave in order to restore one of your defensive shields that has been destroyed. There is a pay option (a one-time payment of US $3.99) that allows you to recover one shield per wave without the need to watch any ads. However, clearly, the program’s developer, also has a well-developed sense of humour since one of the other options for selecting ads is “Hell No – And, don’t ask me again!”

So, if you need to kill some time on your ‘phone – and kill some enemy fighters that are, after all, out to destroy you – go for a spin as Tail Gun Charlie!

Bottom Line:

Tail Gun Charlie (Freeware)
Version 1.2.20
Panic Ensues Software

Originally published: November, 2017

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