Review by PoPPiP

"If all Xbox Live Arcade games were this fun, I'd buy more of them."

Assault Heroes is an old school top-down shooter that delivers just about exactly what you'd expect from it. Big boss battles, tons of stuff to shoot at, and the kind of addictiveness that has you replaying it over and over. The game's flaws or should I say flaw (without the "s" at the end) is also to be expected from all games of its kind, it isn't very long, and can be fairly easily beaten in under 2 hours.

Gameplay 8/10
This game is just plain old simplistic fun. Use the left stick to move, right stick to shoot, and the triggers to toss grenades or deploy nukes. You can enter and exit your vehicle at any time with the B button, and this allows you to pick up unreachable powerups that are usually behind blocked off barricades. Of course, you move awfully slow on foot, and die awfully fast.

One of the more interesting aspects of the game is how you don't immediately die when your vehicle is destroyed. You are still allowed to run around on foot, but must wait for around 10 seconds for a new vehicle to deploy. Die on foot however, and you'll lose a life and whatever powerups you had collected. Also unique to the game, are the several underground levels scattered around the levels. They pretty much act as bonus levels, where you run around on foot in corridors and arenas that resemble Smash TV by more than just a little bit. You only have one life per bonus level. Die, and you exit the bonus level, and return to the battlefield.

Taking a nod from the Contras on PS2, your vehicle is always equipped with 3 weapons, each of which can be boosted with their respective powerups. Use the bumpers to switch between the weapons, and you got the usual Machine Gun, Flamethrower, and Flak Cannon. The weapons behave just as you'd expect from them, though the flamethrower also has an interesting homing capability when powered up.

To extend the replay value of the game, there are of course the achievements, 3 difficulty levels, coop play (online and offline), and high scores. The difficulty isn't increased when played in cooperative mode, which makes it a bit on the easy side, but it's nevertheless always enjoyable to play with a buddy. If your buddy runs out of lives, he'll begin to steal yours.

As for the high scores, you gain multipliers when you quickly kill a number of enemies, and because each weapon has its own multiplier, you can link up the multipliers for massive points. Also of note, is that you get double the points per kill if you are on foot, so skillful players will likely try to kill as much on foot as possible.

Graphics and Sound 8/10
It should be said that the graphics look great for an Xbox Live Arcade game. Though the game obviously isn't a showcase for the system (what'd you expect at 47 mb!), the graphics still do a very fine job of delivering big-looking explosions, and powerful-looking weaponry.

The audio experience is pretty solid for a game of its kind, and fortunately does not have some annoying tune looping for eternity.

Final Verdict 8/10
At 800 points, Assault Heroes has a very solid price point for what it offers. I highly recommend trying out the trial version first, and if you like what you see, rest assured that there's plenty more to blow up in the full version.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/18/06


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