* Originally authored by maybehere *
Euphoria [yoo-fawr-ee-uh, -fohr] a feeling of happiness, confidence, or well-being sometimes exaggerated in pathological states as mania. Or, more clinically correct, the feeling I had while playing Assault Heroes. I can’t imagine many people are hearing about this small little Xbox 360 Marketplace Arcade title, which is exactly why I am writing about it. At first glance this game doesn’t seem to offer much and in truth, the first time I ever tried playing it I was so disgustingly frustrated that I promptly snubbed my nose at it while throwing it into the decayed and lonely ruins of games I plan not to finish. However, being the sucker for co-op oriented games that I am, I revisited the game while online with my favorite playmate only to find that after a breather, I became joyfully addicted.
it was easy for me to fall in love with this little Xbox Arcade pearl after I invested just a small portion of patienceTruthfully, the graphics are a little Nintendo DCS, which is hard to settle for when you are used to the big boy console graphics of Ubisoft, Epic and Bungi. However, with the nostalgia reflecting old school antics of high school arcade experiences meshed with some memories of the Sega Genesis generation, it was easy for me to fall in love with this little Xbox Arcade pearl after I invested just a small portion of patience. The graphics actually have a very admirable quality. There are a good amount of smart game physics such as running over light poles and setting odd things on fire. It’s a nice feeling when there is an acceptable amount of causality in your sci-fi adventures and Assault Heroes does placate that need admirably.
The theme of this game is simple: you are a surviving member of an elite Special Forces unit, and it’s up to you to find an underground lab in order to reveal the secret classified weapons program. You can venture on this quest in solitude, or as I opted, with a good friend that shared the same original frustration for the game as I. You start out on a not so secluded beach in your ATV (I was the red one!) which wields a chain gun, flak-cannon, and my personal favorite, a flamethrower. These weapons are upgradeable, though the upgrades are not permanent and disappear when your vehicle dies and re-spawns. There are also a few extra tidbits such as grenades, special nukes and even some heat-seeking missiles to add to your general fire power. There is even a special co-op upgrade that allows for a limited, special attack sequence when combining the two ATV’s by way of the “X” button. Your ATV is fast moving and is maneuvered with the left thumb stick while you target your weapons simultaneously with the right thumb stick. However, destroying your ride isn’t a monumental delay as you are able to hoof it on foot with a b-b gun, I mean, pea shooter, I mean small arms one mode assault rifle in slow motion waiting for your ATV to re-spawn a million miles away from where you are standing. Don’t worry, you’ll get to it eventually while running languorously away from suicide bombers, tanks and associated infantry.
An adorable alternate vehicle is made available in the water segmentAn adorable alternate vehicle is made available in the water segment. At the beginning of said act you are dropped off from a Pelican-esque transport into a sea on your new speed boats equipped with the same weaponry as your ATV’s. As you may wonder, instead of swimming slowly, your secondary option is a jet-ski that enables you to venture off to your side quests and vehicle upgrades. This water world motif is an admirable quality and I dare say is an option that makes this game a bit more versatile than even some more high-dollar games that keep you solely on terra firma.
Now for the complaints, which aren’t many and given the platform, are perfectly acceptable. The game is incredibly short, too short. I know this is a major complaint that I make for many games but this is intensely abbreviated, even in comparison to my usual gripes. While I imagine one cannot expect a huge time-line with most Arcade narratives, if played straight through on an advanced difficulty the game can be finished start to end in less than 60 minutes. This applies to finishing each act, every boss, and every small side adventure into the underground lab. By far, the compressed denouement is the colossal let down of this game.
The bosses are not always user friendly, even when they tell you exactly where to hit in order to cause them to fall down and go boom. It gets very frustrating trying to hit the weak spots when the vehicle weapon is a strange aim and simultaneous fire that can be confusing when meshing your thumb stick options. However, this is not a huge downfall and is one of the very things that make this little game unique.
The only other event worth mentioning, though I strain to call it an actual complaint, is the way the environment appears. I am not calling parody, but many of the graphics, equipment and action sequences reminded me of Halo. The end escape sequence was so similar in my opinion that as my character made a mad, timed-dash out of the underground lab I almost expected to land myself into a Pelican as opposed to making that similar ATV leap through the air to tropical beach.
All in all Assault Heroes is captivating and I cannot express my glee that I gave it a second chanceAll in all Assault Heroes is captivating and I cannot express my glee that I gave it a second chance. The cost of Assault Heroes is 800 Microsoft Points, or in non-Xbox Marketplace analog terminology, around $10 US. It is definitely worth the cost with its appealing kid and adult friendly plot, along with its fast-paced fun. The game does have some re-play appeal as you have three difficulty settings, but if you are an experienced gamer you may be disappointed at how soon the game finishes. But if you are truly concerned about that think of the last two movies you downloaded from Xbox Marketplace and how disappointing they were and you should find the cost for play more palatable. I give this game 4.1 out of 5, docking points mostly for length and some difficulty and agitation of controls. Nevertheless, knowing what I know now, if I didn’t have this game I would get it in a heartbeat and hope that this review has urged you to do the same.
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