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Rush ‘N Attack Ex-Patriot looks eerily familiar

Call it turnabout being fair play: Shadow Complex, great as it was, was a straight-up homage to Super Metroid, lifting numerous ideas and gameplay elements from Nintendo’s classic adventure. And now, Rush ‘N Attack: Ex-Patriot (set in an “enemy complex,” no less) appears to do the same to Shadow Complex, with side-scrolling (and apparently nonlinear) levels, puzzles, secrets and vertical exploration that all look suspiciously similar to last year’s surprise hit. And all that makes it a pretty big step up for a series that was originally just about running to the right and stabbing dudes in the face.

When asked about the similarities between his game (due out this fall on XBLA and PSN) and Shadow Complex, the producer conducting the demo said, “I’ll take that as a compliment.” He went on to say that while the two do have a lot in common, the biggest difference (aside from its brighter, more cartoonish visuals) is that Ex-Patriot focuses more on hand-to-hand combat. More specifically, it focuses on combat with the huge combat knife lugged around by its bandanna-masked protagonist, Sid Morrow.

During our brief look at the game, we saw Morrow stab and slash his way through a small assortment of commie thugs, frequently by yanking them down from ledges, somersaulting over their shoulders in slow motion or delivering a bloody death blow when they were down. Interestingly, it’s also possible to slip into strategically placed closets and hide until an enemy shuffles by, at which point Morrow can leap out and grab them, zombie-style.

Morrow’s knife is his main weapon, but it’s by no means his only one. He’s also able to pick up guns left behind by fallen guards (or just left laying around), although these are meant more as temporary power-ups than long-term possessions. Picking up a rocket launcher, for example, enables Morrow to unleash three shots of pure destruction, while a rifle will only enable four three-shot bursts before Morrow throws it away.

A sequel to the original, Ex-Patriot is set some 15 to 20 years in the future, and follows Morrow as he and his squad infiltrate a Siberian prison to rescue a kidnapped operative. But then –and the producer was specific about this –“something goes wrong,” forcing Morrow to fight on his own against what looks to be a cybernetically enhanced host of Russian guards.

Our demo ended when Morrow encountered a shady-looking cyborg officer named Kamarov. The two seemed to recognize each other, with Kamarov addressing Morrow as “Morrowvitch” and Morrow telling Kamarov to just get out of his way, but for now Konami’s being hushed on what any of that means. Maybe we’ll find out more when we get a chance to play it at E3 in June, but for now Ex-Patriot already looks like another promising old-school revival.

Apr 9, 2010

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.