If you’re a late 80’s or 90’s kid, congratulations – you caught the masochistic essence of gaming at it’s prime. While many games did, in fact, torture gamers with artifacts of yesteryear’s un-polished game design there were some games that were just genuinely tough as nails! While this mention encompasses many games of many series (most notably Ninja Gaiden), the two that ate your life (or your quarters) will always be remembered in the forms of Contra and/or Metal Slug.
While it was pretty typical for games to be wussified in their transition overseas, the same cannot be said for these. Contra, in particular, had a release on the Sega Genesis(or Megadrive) where your ability to take a couple hits was stripped away for straight-up one-hit kills. As punishing as that sounds, Metal Slug found a way to one-up Contra by releasing a multi-game series – all of which are nigh impossible unless you’re working with unlimited continues.
One weakness of these games, however, is that their lasting appeal never went beyond replayability. And as nice as it is to have something that fun enough to replay again and again, we have a newcomer that injects a strong dose of everything Contra and Metal Slug lacked; lasting appeal and depth.
Assaulter: War on Terror; upon sight, will instantly strike home with those familiar with Metal Slug’s art style. And as one could expect, it borrows very generously from the foundation Metal Slug’s built upon too. You’ve got your fill of semi-automatics, flame throwers, rocket launchers, and even a knife to violently instruct people in the ways of staying out of your ‘bubble’. You’re a one-man army sent to take out waves of enemies and menacing bosses while you complete loads of missions across many areas.
So what does Assaulter do that our legendary Contras and Metal Slugs haven’t? Step the game up, of course! What once was just a standard and formulaic string of levels and weapon swapping now integrates some very, very welcome role-playing game elements so that you have experience gaining, level ups, weapon upgrades, classes that have their own specialties, extraordinarily dynamic equipment and loads of tweaks you can buy or scavenge from the entrails of bosses you shoved your war-hardy boots in. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can grindfest your way into an easy victory either… those looking for challenge will surely find it in Assaulter.
This turns the same old song and dance we’ve reminisced over dozens of times into something that truly feels robust and long-winded, such that there’s a aspect of true progression in play. Where once the old-school brought something that would be concluded in a single sitting, the new generation breaks the mold with something substantial enough to have saving and continuing. With it’s highly responsive Xperia PLAY controllability, this is definitely something worth checking out. Especially for the low, low cost of nothing.
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