Guerilla War (NES) review
"I won't pretend Guerrilla War is a very innovative game, because it's pretty much as derivative as it gets. There are no fancy gameplay mechanics on display here; this is the epitome of grab-a-weapon-shoot-some-baddies game design. But it's well-executed, it gets your adrenaline pumping, and that's enough to recommend the game. As far as run 'n' guns go, and especially as overhead ones go, Guerrilla War has no real competition on the NES. This is the best the system has to offer for pure twitch ..."
I won't pretend Guerrilla War is a very innovative game, because it's pretty much as derivative as it gets. There are no fancy gameplay mechanics on display here; this is the epitome of grab-a-weapon-shoot-some-baddies game design. But it's well-executed, it gets your adrenaline pumping, and that's enough to recommend the game. As far as run 'n' guns go, and especially as overhead ones go, Guerrilla War has no real competition on the NES. This is the best the system has to offer for pure twitch gameplay.
From the moment you pass the title screen, the action in Guerrilla War is nonstop. There are absolutely no dull moments here; bullets fly at you from every direction, bad guys leave powerups in the wake of their deaths, and tanks rush onscreen with no warning and waste no time firing artillery shells at you. Guerrilla War isn't a game you can really scrutinize, because its design is so simple: you run, you gun, you dodge bullets. That's it. And most of all, the game feels dense. Sure, on more powerful systems, much faster games are available, with even more projectiles littering the screen, but Guerrilla War uses clever design strategies that make it feel as if it contains two hours' worth of gameplay compressed into a 45-minute game. Perhaps it's the way that every level has you literally running in a straight line, with no real obstacles in the environment--it's all enemies out there. Perhaps it's the way that the biggest gunfights in each level are always followed up immediately by the stage boss, with no dramatic entrances or breather cutscenes in between. Perhaps it's the way you can hijack an enemy tank and kick some ass...until said tank starts blinking, forcing you to bail, followed by the explosion of said tank. There is always something going on in this game.
Yet Guerrilla War is not perfect; the limitations of the NES hardware make themselves apparent in the game early and often. Sprite flicker is abundant throughout, and slowdown is frequent. None of the characters would look out-of-place in an Atari 2600 game. The music is forgettable background noise, usually drowned out by the endless sounds of gunfire. The bosses, while embracing the same waste-no-time philosophy as the rest of the game, feel uninspired, with boring tanks and recolored enemy soldiers being your only real foes. Level design is nothing special; generic jungle landscapes and the occasional city are the only locales you'll be seeing on this coup, and tilesets are recycled liberally.
But does any of this really matter? You won't be noticing the graphical deficiencies or the level design in this game, because your brain won't have time to think about anything other than the flurry of bullets coming your way. The game is fun, it's fast, and--to invoke the grandest of shooter review cliches--intense. This is what the developers were clearly aiming for, and they succeeded. Chances are you've played a game just like Guerrilla War before. But if you just want a good 12 stages of mayhem to fill the better part of an hour, it should fit the bill nicely, and is certainly recommended among NES games. It's so simple, it's hard not to like.
Community review by phediuk (September 26, 2006)
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