Creepy crawlies were once nothing more than things that stomped over your pub lunch and got in your beer. In the future though, they’re pretty damn crazy, and look set to revive the fly swatter industry… cos’ they’re off their heads! Great big multi-eyed beasties from outer space, crawl about in the futuristic world in which you live and it’s your job as either a male or female space marine to sort them out, and send ‘em back to the allotment. Wearing either pink or blue body armour, depending on who you are (Major Kelly Doyle or Sgt Reno J Washington) you are then dropped down on the infested area and expected to sort it out. These people obviously don’t have any families because the place is riddled with bugs, and only the truly stupid gung-ho meat-heads would dare something like this.
Assault is based on some of the classic arcade games that once graced the end of the pier, like Side Arms and Turrican only with an up-to-date 3-D twist. The wonderful thing about it is that it doesn’t try to be anything other than that. Assault is all about blasting, blasting and blasting a bit more – in places in makes Rambo look like The Teletubbies. The action on screen is so intense, with body parts redecorating the walls, it is hard to see what you are shooting at. The only way to sort this out? Easy, just hit the fire button harder. The smile will soon be smacked off those munching mandibles. Of course, it is slightly more complicated than that, but only slightly. There are power ups to be had, but these aren’t just found in your usual crates and what not. No! They’re tucked away in massive space vehicles which you have to blow apart to get your sticky mitts on. Each marine has their own different weapon selection starting with standard blasters then progressing to goodies like homing missiles and wall deflecting rotating razor blades. When both marines are on screen with fully powered up weapons the RSPCA should be notified. The carnage is awesome.
The land of Arcadia (a coin-op influence perhaps?) and the following terrain again hails back to the games of long ago, and gives them a rather large knowing wink. There is the lava level where you jump from rock to rock. Crumbling platforms and bottomless pits are all here. The customary lift fight has even been thrown in. The detail of the marines and enemies is fairly ropy though, with no smooth edges, just angular, lurchy polygons jumping and shooting their ways forwards. Assault also suffers from pop-up in some areas, though Telstar would probably like us to think this was intentional and in keeping with the theme they are aiming for.
During development it would have been nice if a little more time was spent focusing on sharpening up the graphics than trying to recreate the feel of gaming days long gone. Saying that though, the alien-shaped polygons don’t last long enough to notice their primitive form because the moment they appear than no sooner are they off to arachnid heaven.
In a kind of Werthers Originals™way Assault is packed with elements of the good ol’ days of gaming and in doing so it has placed a bit too much emphasis on what games used to be like, relying on the nostalgia market and forgetting to add any other new elements to the style of game, link-up for multiplayer, free-roaming gameplay etc. This may appeal to some of us older gamesters, but much of the appeal will be lost on those younger gamers who were still being spoon fed when we were chucking our pocket money away in the arcades. Standing on its own merit though, Assault does serve up enough naplamrelated nonsense to please every age and proves to be a decent enough twoplayer piece of B-Movie gaming to keep on coming back to. This blood bath is a perfectly tastleless entry into the blast-’em-up genre.