"One of the best things to come out of the Cold War"

Back in the 1980's, when the Soviet Union and the United States were jabbing each other diplomatically with nuclear tests and military technology upgrades, this arcade game made it's existence known. The tensions between the Western Bloc (led by the USA) and the Iron Curtain (led by the USSR) were critical and easily known by the rest of the world. Rush N' Attack, in a sense, played off of what was happening in the real world; Americans squaring off with Soviets, and Soviets squaring off with Americans. This made the game even more enjoyable. As a child, I felt it to be my duty as an American to play this game and try my hardest to rescue my fellow countrymen from the clutches of their Communist captors!

Story- 9
A number of American POW's are being held deep behind the borders of the Soviet Union. Guide your commando through four Russian bases as you battle guards, attack dogs, and cunning para-troopers. Each stage becomes more difficult as the guards become faster and the traps become more complex. It's a good storyline in my estimation, especially for what was going on in reality at the time.

Music- 9
There wasn't too much music from what I remember. Each stage had the same music, a military style drum solo. It doesn't sound like much but it's very effective considering the situation your commando is in. Other music included the intro and the 'game over' theme. All are very well done for the purpose they serve. The intro music, which sounds like a serious crisis is at hand, plays as the screenshot displays the POW's being closely guarded by Russian sentries carrying machine guns with bayonets. The 'game over theme' is my favorite on the game. After your last life is taken, you are treated to a nice, little tune that sounds like a bit of Russian composition. In all, there isn't much of a variety of music but this made up for as the present music is very effective in pushing the player deeper into the game.

Sounds- 9
Unlike the music, the sounds are more varied. Just starting each stage, you'll hear a siren go off as the guards are now alerted to your presence. The sounds include stabbing, rocket launchers firing, explosions, guns and mortars firing, dogs barking, and moving trucks. All of the sounds, for the most part, are pretty accurate. One sound on the game that I particularly like is when you get equipped with a weapon. I can't describe it but I when I pick up a rocket launcher and that sound hits my ears, I know I'm locked and loaded! The sounds are one the game's best categories. Despite the obvious range and variety of the sounds, all are clear, distinct and recognizable.

Graphics- 10
Ah, yes. The good stuff. REALLY good stuff! Back in the 80's, the graphics of Rush N' Attack were considered to be quite good. Me and a few others who remain to enjoy this game still think the graphics on this game are good. The demo alone was enough to make me want to play. The characters are big and easy to see. Your character (the commando) is clothed in battle dress uniform (green camos and boots), supplied with a knife, and topped with a green and blue beret. Your Russian counterparts wear different uniforms depending of what kind of enemy they are.

1. Standard guards wear gray boots, blue pants and brown knee-length leather jackets with white fur (or wool) collars and brown and white fur caps. The wardrobe is very indicative of the cold temperatures in Siberia. Brrrrr!
2. Jump-kicking guards are very similar to standard guards except their leather coats and fur caps are gray. Everything else is identical. (these guys also come down in parachutes)
3. Gunner guards are the easiest to be recognized. They wear dark blue boots, royal blue pants (with red stripe), orange top, and a blue beret (with red stripe). They always have a machine gun slung over their shoulder using a red strap. (parachuters as well)
4. Officers are similar to the gunner guards but carry no gun. Their uniforms come in two schemes. One being brown boots, dark blue pants (with beige stripe), dark blue top (with beige and red sleeves), and dark blue beret (with gray badge). The other scheme is brown boots, dark blue pants (with red stripe), dark blue top (with red and yellow sleeves), and a dark blue beret (with red badge).

On top of all that detail and color, Rush N' Attack features actual Soviet equipment in the game. Included in the Russian arsenal are SS-18 intercontinental ballistic missiles on their mobile launchers (stage 1), SA-2 surface-to-air missiles (stage 1), T-80 battle tanks (stage 1 & 2), Alfa class attack submarines (stage 2), and you can make out the tail fins of Tu-16 bombers in the hangar behind the wall on stage 3. (I never made it past stage 3). Before I leave this category, I'd also like to point out that the backgrounds are nicely done in conjunction with the Soviet hardware. Metal trusses, aircraft hangars, concrete sheds, water towers, stacked logs, barbed wire fences, and other objects take their part in the backgrounds of forests, mountains, and harbors that all reside under a teal shaded sky. I love the graphics on this game, everything is perfect and the details are fantastic.

Gameplay & Difficulty- 9
The gameplay begins when your commando is parachuted onto Soviet territory. All your hero starts off with is a knife. Not to worry. This knife is very effective against your enemies. It gives you the opportunity to take out guards that come at you, even if they try to come at you from both sides of the screen. The enemies (which I described in the last category) not only come in different uniforms and colors; they also come with different techniques.

1. Standard guards merely try to punch you out. They're easy to defeat with a simple stab. However, they can use rockets launchers and shoot mortars at you. Very dangerous.
2. Jump-kicking guards are a bit tougher. They jump over your outstretched knife and crack your cranium with their boots. They parachute to the ground in some stages. Watch your timing!
3. Gunner guards are strapped. On the first stage, they rarely pull the trigger of their weapon, but on later stages they will shoot to kill. They sometimes parachute to the ground, firing their weapon on the way down. Highly annoying.
4. Officers don't have any clever tricks. In fact, it's good to see them because they carry weapons that you can use! But, they are fast and avoid you by climbing ladders and running off screen. They carry rocket launchers, flame throwers, and grenades. All of which you can use to even the odds.

As expected, the further you advance your commando, the tougher Rush N' Attack gets. I learned (the hard way) that even though enemies are off-screen, they still are the game's memory. Gunner guards are notorious for this seeing as how they like to tail you. I don't know if the computer plans this or what but sometimes it seems that it throws a lethal combination of guards at you. Jump kicking guards sometimes are accompanied by standard guards that carry rocket launchers. One setup I really hate is when a guy manning a mortar is placed behind a mine. Wicked combination! But with weapons (or a quick stab and a jump) you can get out of tight spots like these. The difficulty is very challenging but not impossible, making the gameplay more enjoyable. One thing I like doing is making the computer mad. It's fun and if you have a life to spare, I recommend you try it. Some versions of Rush N' Attack don't come with a time limit. On these versions, I simply clear the stage of all enemies...and wait as I enjoy the background. The computer also waits, but it's not that patient. Angered by the inactivity of my commando, the computer send a pair of gunners and a trio jump-kickers at me. I've yet to survive the computer's wrath!

Replayability-8
I don't have to worry about replayability. I can't get past stage 3, so I need to beat the game first before I worry about replayability. However, I do enjoy this game's degree of difficulty. In my opinion, the computer can be very strict but always fair. There are solutions out of every jam you may find yourself in but at times there is only one solution.

Arcade version -VS- NES version
The arcade version of Rush N' Attack has more detail. Although the NES version is longer and has better music, the graphics are just lacking in area where the coin-op excels. In the NES version, the guards are without their leather jackets, but now look like British soldiers from the 1700's. Also gone are the Red Stars from the equipment. I liked the stars, they provided me fantasy that I was battling Russians (not that I'm against Russians, I just like the fantasy part of it). Point blank; the arcade version is much better than its console spin off.

Overall- 9
This game is one the gems that I remember playing in 80's. I loved it. Every aspect of the game is of the highest scores. Rush N' Attack is quite old. In fact, right now the game is 16 years old. If you happen to come across it an arcade, I urge you to try it. Take a trip back to the 1980's when Capitalism and Communism went head to head. This game is one of Konami's greatest productions. And you all know Konami makes great arcade games (TMNT, and The Simpsons to name a couple). Rush N' Attack is a superior game not only by gameplay but by reflection of the tense times the world experienced when two world superpowers clashed constantly.

So, until my next review... do svidaniya!


Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 09/17/01, Updated 09/17/01

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