Soviet Strike (Saturn) review
"There's a crisis going on in Eastern Europe. Shadowman, an ex-KGB general, is in the midst of raging war against Russia, and he's got enough firepower to obliterate the entire country. That's where STRIKE comes in. Consisting of a masterful tactician, a highly skilled hacker, a news reporter that covers up STRIKE's tracks, and a number of ace copilots, their job is to stop potential wars before they even begin. And they need to stop Shadowman's cause while it's still just a rumor. Each of these ..."
There's a crisis going on in Eastern Europe. Shadowman, an ex-KGB general, is in the midst of raging war against Russia, and he's got enough firepower to obliterate the entire country. That's where STRIKE comes in. Consisting of a masterful tactician, a highly skilled hacker, a news reporter that covers up STRIKE's tracks, and a number of ace copilots, their job is to stop potential wars before they even begin. And they need to stop Shadowman's cause while it's still just a rumor. Each of these members do their parts to help out, but, it is ultimately up to you, the pilot of STRIKE's Super Apache, to put the plan into motion.
Of course, going up against an entire army with one "puny" helicopter sounds suicidal. Fortunately, your Apache is able to withstand substantial damage and is equipped with a nice array of weapons. Chain gun, hydra rockets, hellfire missiles, sidewinder missiles, and more, each weapon has different levels of strength, so you'll have to use the right weapon against the right enemy. The chain gun works well when taking out soldiers, and the hellfire or sidewinder missiles are an ideal choice for taking out stronger foes, like heavy tanks or hinds. You don't have an unlimited supply of ammo, though, you WILL run out of ammunition during a campaign (many, many times, too). And you'll also have to keep an eye on your fuel: run out of gas and your Apache will crash. There are a limited amount of ammo crates and fuel pods scattered throughout each campaign, though, so you'll have to learn not to get carried away and waste your resources.
Handling your chopper has been greatly improved from the last three Strike games. No longer will you have to carefully navigate around tall ground objects to avoid bumping into them. Instead, your Super Apache will hover over these objects when you approach them, which makes traveling around each map less frustrating. Another improvement is the ability to jink (basically, moving left or right without actually turning the Apache) more fluidly. In previous Strike games, you had to hold the hellfire missile button down in order to jink, stiffly, which does more harm than good. In Soviet Strike, you can jink more smoothly by simply pressing the left and right shoulder pads. This is great during combat, when you'll have to do all kinds of repositioning and dodging to survive.
And believe me, you'll need all the help you can get to survive through all five of SS's chaotic campaigns. You'll be thrown into all kinds of regional settings: from the snowy mountains of Crimea, to the nuclear infected wasteland of Transylvania, and eventually, the battleground infested city of Moscow. There's plenty of missions to take on, some basic, while others are pretty unique. Simple stuff like taking out radars, rescuing prisoners from POW camps, and destroying a terrorist camp, to more risky tasks like strategically stopping over two hundred tanks from destroying a nuclear factory, or safely guiding a nuclear reactor core through radioactive waste. As you go through these campaigns, loud guitar riffs or Arabian-type beats will pound away during intense missions, and a brooding espionage theme will usually play as you roam around, venturing to the next destination. There are over thirty of these types of missions in the game, so there's never a lack of variety.
Add in witty dialogue from both friend and foe, and you'll end up with one lively battlefield. Nick Arnold, one of your copilots, will constantly get himself into trouble and will come whining for you to bail him out, and the Russian president acts like a buffoon as his life hangs in the balance (there's like thirty friggin tanks trying to kill him and he decides to stop at a drive-thru). The enemies are just as humorous: as you shoot this one soldier, he'll scream "I AM INVINCI.. OOH!!" and die, and when you destroy a tent, the soldier inside will yell "WE'RE SAVED!!", right before it blows up. This adds a quirky personality to SS that really makes it stand out from the rest of the military-type games for the system.
Soviet Strike sounds like a pretty fun game, right? Well, yes...only after you master every campaign. One of the biggest problems with the game is its annoyingly tough difficulty as you play through it the first time. The thing is, that, you have to know BEFORE-HAND what to do in each campaign in order to successfully complete them. You wouldn't believe how many times I've failed a mission because of one tiny mistake. Like in the second campaign: there's this mission where a group of tanks make their way into the bay's ports to protect their property. What you may not have known, however, is that there are a couple of friendlies stationed throughout the bay area. If you don't stop certain tanks from killing a number of friendlies, you'll be forced to abort the campaign.
Another thing that contributes to the difficulty, is how the next mission will go into motion once you've completed the current mission. This gives you little time to be prepared, which can screw you over, big time. Like in the third campaign: once you've finished dealing with the army of two-hundred plus tanks, a group of rocket launchers will make their way up to the factory. Shortly afterwards, another group of launchers will also make their journey to the same location. These kinds of nuisances will force you to play through a campaign at least two or three times, so you can learn the order of events, get a good feel of the map, and memorize locations for certain resources and other stuff, just to successfully make it out alive. This type of repetitious learning curve will no doubt annoy the hell out of some gamers.
But, if you're willing to stick with it and get through each campaign, they're actually enjoyable to play through, once you've mastered them. I HATED the third campaign at first, but once I've learned what I was suppose to do, it turned into one of my favorite campaigns in the game. Despite being extremely difficult at times, SS is still a blast to play. Even though it only has five campaigns, the variety of missions for each keeps you coming back for more. So, if you are willing to stomach the steep learning curve, then you'll have a lot of fun with Soviet Strike.
Community review by pickhut (November 04, 2004)
Pick any sci-fi game from the 1980s and you're likely to spot an Alien reference.
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