Reviews

Rush’N Attack: Ex-Patriot

Xbox Live Arcade Title
Price: 800MSP
Singleplayer: Yes
Multiplayer: No
Co-op: No

Side-scrolling games have been making somewhat of a comeback on XBLA of late, which goes to show there is always room for some good old-fashioned scrolling gameplay.

With this return to glory for side-scrollers we’ve seen the likes of Contra get a spiritual sequel, and now Konami’s Rush’N Attack from 1985 has gotten the same treatment with the release of Ex-Patriot which uses the same knife focused gameplay, but with the emphasis on being a stealthy ninja. Nice.

The concept is a fine one: you’ll play as Sergent Sid Morrow who’s tasked with infiltrating a Russian base to break out some POW’s using stealth and your trusty knife to take down guards and escape, however in exacution that concept isn’t so great.

Using your trusty knife you can dispatch foes by sneaking up behind them, lurking in dark doorways and luring them in with a whistle, or hiding in other specific area’s. Combined with the platforming it’s a pretty fun, if fairly simply, system. Carefully timing your movements to get a guard is satisfying, and the kills are brutal to witness. It’s good fun for the first hour or two. However, no new stealth elements are introduced throughout the game so I found myself getting a little tired of repeating the same tactics over and over on the same types of enemies, and the fun I had from stealth kills slowly melted away to something resembling only mild enjoyment.

Get spotted during your stealth escapades results in things going downhill fast, as the combat system is a clunky thing indeed. While there are knife combos to unlock and a block button, combat feels unresponsive and enemies can usually be beaten by simply crouching down and spamming the X button, to which they seem to have no defence. 
Worse comes when spotted by a security camera as you’ll get mobbed by enemies, and the combat system makes getting out of it a nightmare. It could be argued that this encourages stealth, and it does, but it will still be nice to have a fighting chance at times.

Killing enemies also nets you points to help you get to the top of the leaderboards, and stealth kills get you the most so their incentive to play stealthily throughout the game, though the clunky combat will ensure you try to stay sneaky anyway.

You will get access to other toys apart from your knife such as guns and night vision goggles, and each new item does help add a little variety to a game that certainly needs it. Thankfully the gun combat is far more entertaining that the poor knife combat and using your limited bullet supply on a killing rampage is good fun, though the enemies won’t really put up much of  a fight.

The graphics don’t do the game any favors either with poor animations, boring backgrounds and a general rough look throughout the entire package. It’s a little odd to see Marrows arm hanging so loosely it barely even looks to be attached to his body, though I guess that could be useful in a fight; you could use it like a whip or something.

Rush’N Attack: Ex-Patriot is by no means a bad game, it’s just not a good one either. It’s a fun experience and I do recommend that you pick up the trial and check it out, but there are just too many faults here in graphics and gameplay to warrant a high score, and the fun factor isn’t enough to overlook them entirely.

The Good:
+ Nailing a good stealth kill
+ Jumping into a dark door and leaping back out to knife a guard.
+ Slinking past camera’s like a true ninja.

The Bad:
– Irritating platform sections. Thankfully not many of those.
– Combat just doesn’t work.
– Whats with his arm!?

Scores:

Graphics: 6
Bland, repetitive environments and clunky animations.

Sound: 6
Forgettable music and no voice acting. But the sound effects are all right.

Story: 5
There  little plot here, and the characters are simply people with names and nothing else.

Gameplay: 6
Fun for a while, but there are plenty of flaws here.

Lifespan: 7
You’ll get around 3-5 hours of it, plus collectibles to help flesh it out.

Overall: 6
It’s not a bad game, and there is fun to be had, but the flaws cannot be overlooked which results in this score. However, if you can look past the flaws and little niggles you’ll most likely enjoy your time with Ex-Patriot.

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