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Rush'N Attack Ex-Patriot (Xbox 360) artwork

Rush'N Attack Ex-Patriot (Xbox 360) review


"26 years later..."



If you've never heard of Rush'n Attack, then this is basically what the game is: Contra with a knife. Even though it predates Contra, that's really the best description. You probably think this sounds like crap, but it actually is a pretty challenging title, given the fact you have to get up close and personal due to the limited range of the default weapon. And who do you fight with such a weapon? Russians. Lots and lots of Russian soldiers that want nothing but to punch your face in, fire bullets through your head, parachute in with rifles, and blow your ass away with rockets.

Notice the play on words yet?

In a decade where many releases had a manly slant, Rush'n Attack was the Rocky IV of video games.

26 years later, we would finally receive a sequel to this almost-forgotten title, that is, if you discard M.I.A. as the original follow-up. And, keeping with a recent trend from Konami, it ends up being something completely different from its predecessor, only maintaining bits and pieces to tie the games together. Instead of a manly side-scroller, Ex-Patriot is a linear Castletroid that uses Metal Gear stealth elements. That's one hell of a leap. Okay, forget for a moment these new mechanics pretty much alienate fans of the original's style, and let's ask the 800 MS Points question: is it fun? I'll just say that, in the six-ish hours I've played the game (completed in five), I had nearly zero sense of satisfaction. For me, there were only two memorable moments in the entire product.

Moment one occurs during the opening narrative, when the voice-over says "You are one sneaky bunch of ninja badassess."

Moment two happens when I was told to find a laser. Minutes later, I discovered a switch that, upon flipping, triggered a cutscene in which a ginormous laser cannon pops out of thin air and blows open two locked doors. It was a normal doorway. It was an unnecessary, yet awesome moment.

Ex-Patriot's downfall is that it plays like a beginner's stealth game; you literally repeat the same methods over and over again once you realize what works. At first, it's neat sneaking up on Russian guards and breaking their necks, pulling soldiers off railings and then stabbing their balls, and luring idiots towards doorway hiding spots (a la Rolling Thunder), but once you realize you can get through the entire game using these three tactics, it sucks the fun out of everything. Doesn't help that guards have Genome Soldier Vision, where they'll be standing five feet away and can't even notice another soldier being murdered by a weird guy wearing an X face mask.

I hate having to compare Ex-Patriot to Metal Gear Solid 1, but they have the closest similarities. However, and I can't believe a game is making me say this, MGS1 has better play mechanics and enemy AI. At least in that title, you get actual variations in gameplay, like having to guide missiles and sniping battles. Also, the guards actually investigate strange happenings, like dead bodies lying around. The soldiers in Ex-Patriot probably don't get paid enough to give a damn, and the only "changes" in game flow is having to search for items in order to progress, which happens a lot. Another goof that needs to be brought up about this Rush'n Attack sequel is that it's a MGS-style stealth game with a side viewpoint. That alone makes things amazingly limited. Someone on staff must have thought it would've been a brilliant idea, only to crap himself silly halfway through development when he realized it was really an awful concept.

Hilariously, after completing the game, I replayed it on the hardest difficulty, and guess what? Still easy and boring. Funny thing, in an attempt to make Ex-Patriot interesting, I damned the stealth aspects and rushed enemies most times... and I hardly had any challenge. Oddly, the development team felt the need to add a setlist of combos to perform in combat. I need to stress the fighting in this game isn't difficult at all, so I hardly bothered trying different combos and just stuck with "X, X, Block, X, X, Block" maneuvers. It's such a far cry from the simple, yet chaotic nature of the original title, where, there were times when you would have Russians charging from both sides, a ninja soldier ready to jump kick your ass, and a mortar shell coming in from above. And you would have a great sense of accomplishment escaping this madness without a scratch.

26 years later... we got a sequel that holds your hand and encourages hiding in the dark.

26 years later, we got Rocky V.

Rating: 3/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (April 13, 2011)

Out of context, PickHut admits the cutscene video in his Starship Damrey review looks neat, but within the setting of the game, it's just embarrassing.

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fleinn posted April 13, 2011:

..Rush 'n Attack.. that was "Green Beret" on the c64, no? The thing about the game is that I think it initially had a couple of cutscene segments where you shot russians off a wall with a machine-gun, or something like that. ..Or maybe that was another similar game. Point is that all of these games - Contra as well, even if the first release of it was about shooting aliens - ended up with a justification for being released with that open patriotic slur in one way or another. Rush 'n Attack - Russian Attack. Contra - Shoot commies in Nicaragua. Those were extremely simple and - apart from the outerworld appeal - boring games, but they ended up being pushed very hard at the time.

In a better world, we would have just forgot about it all afterwards. Or at least not made any sequels with the same game-design :D
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pickhut posted April 13, 2011:

I... erm... wait, so you're basically saying you hate those kind of games?

And yeah, Green Beret was its other title some of the versions shared. And from some things I've read, some things added that weren't originally in the arcade version.
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fleinn posted April 13, 2011:

Right. They added some more sellable/awesome outerworld context. Killing aliens, or just freeing prisoners from bad guys wasn't enough :D

You know, honestly, I don't care anymore. But it's the same with a cartoon that doesn't sell itself on artistic merit, or style, or commentary, etc. Like.. "Christian movies" in Hollywood. Or "gay movies". Or, in some unhappy circumstances, "indy film". Pushed for a specific audience that is presumed to gobble it up - which they do.

Anyway. So in this case we had games with pretty weak mechanics, no story, terrible AI, four different enemies, and four different sprites for your character. But it still gets a sequel.. that.. looks and plays almost in the same way as the original.

It's just... I mean, what happened to imagination? Setting in the actual game, rather than the trailer-blurb, etc. It's just annoying that some of these games actually sell, I guess. :p
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JoeTheDestroyer posted April 13, 2011:

Great review, pickhut.

Another goof that needs to be brought up about this Rush'n Attack sequel is that it's a MGS-style stealth game with a side viewpoint. That alone makes things amazingly limited. Someone on staff must have thought it would've been a brilliant idea, only to crap himself silly halfway through development when he realized it was really an awful concept.

I laughed my ass off reading that, especially the imagery of some exec or game developer shitting himself in his office. Great stuff!
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pickhut posted April 13, 2011:

Thanks, Joe. Appreciate the read.
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Masters posted April 16, 2011:

Ha shit, I just read this review now and it's awesome. Rocky V, indeed. You just saved me points, cuz I was considering picking this thing up.
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pickhut posted April 16, 2011:

Hopefully you'll buy a better game with those points! And even though I'm gonna sound like a broken record, thanks for reading.

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