Saturday, 14 July 2018

War: The Final Assault (Arcade)

I'll start this post with a disclaimer: this game isn't emulated perfectly in MAME by a long shot, and while the original cabinet uses some buttons and a big gun handle-shaped analogue stick for controls, I had to make do with a Dual Shock 4 and jimmying together some controls that were pretty close to a modern first person shooter through trial and error. Since it would be unfair to comment on the quality of the game under these circumstances, consider this post as being for informational purposes only.

As far as I can tell, though, it's a pretty good attempt at bringing contemporary console first person shooters (circa 1999, when the game was released) to the arcade! I only played the single player mode, though it seems that it has both co-op and versus multiplayer modes, judging by the attract mode demos and the high score tables. Single player mode has you going through stages killing lots of enemy soldiers and robots. Sometimes you'll get to pick up a more powerful weapon, which is nice, too, and there's a fair few different kinds. Also, when you kill human enemies with an explosive weapon, they burst into chunks of meat, which is also nice.

The game's set in futuristic Siberia, and your enemies are a kind of generic bad guy army that takes vidual cues from both the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, though judging by some of the names of later stages seen on the highscore tables, it looks like aliens get involved later on, too. Visually, the game looks great: everything's huge and colourful and chunky, and there's cool propaganda posters on the walls too. The robot enemies are a bit boring, though, which is a shame as the human enemies look alright, despite being a bit generic. Though there was apparently a scrapped N64 port in the works, the whole time I was playing, the thought that ran through my mind was that it looked like a lot of western-developed Dreamcast games. Of course, it didn't get ported there, either.

As for how it plays, it's a mixed bag. I do like the linearity of the stages, and the fact that there's big red arrows telling you where to go, as something that's always frustrated me in single player FPSes is getting lost in the stages. I don't know why, but it always seems to happen! One thing I really didn't like though, is that there's quite a few bullet sponge enemies, and they only get more frequent as the stages go on. I only played until the fourth boss, and by then, just getting through each room was becoming laborious.

Though I was essentially playing it at half speed, thanks to a combination of the emulation being in its early days, and my laptop not particularly being a powerhouse (though I don't know if it runs faster on more powerful computers, or if we will just have to wait for the emulation to get slowly closer to perfection), I mostly enjoyed War: The Final Assault. It's colourful, there's explosions and stuff, and there aren't many arcade games like it. (Off the top of my head, I can think of Last Survivor, Outtrigger, and that Counterstrike arcade game?) Try it, I guess, see how you get on.

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