Rush'N Attack Ex-patriot hands-on

In yet another attempt in a long line of retro HD-‘em-ups, dusty old and goofily-named Rush’N Attack is finally getting its due. And frankly, we’re not tired of these HD updates to old fashioned gameplay, especially when they bring modern sensibilities to old-fashioned basics. We recall, however vaguely, the original Rush’N Attack, and it seemed like it really was about rushing… and then attacking. With a giant-ass knife.

Above: Or sometimes a sniper rifle? That's what this looks like

Ex-patriot keeps the giant knife, but instead focuses on stealth gameplay. Yet in keeping with the “rush” aspect, it’s extremely fast and brave in its approach. You don’t slink around hoping to never get seen by guards, moving at a snail’s crawl. Instead, your slinking is in short bursts between plenty of bouts of running. This is mostly due to the thankfully (and not remotely realistic) short sight ranges of the guards. When we played, we were able to sprint through the 2D levels while watching the radar to see if enemies were coming up, and only entered crouched stealthiness for the last few yards before slicing throats.

It’s even possible to ignore stealth, at least in the early stage we played, for much of the time. You can just run right up to guys and start stabbing away. They’re not helpless, though: they can block attacks and swipe back at you, but your melee skills improve over time, unlocking bigger combo attacks to help you slug it out face-to-face when you need to. If you do choose stealth, there are wonderful ways to bring ninja death under the cloak of darkness. You can simply grab dudes from behind and slice/snap necks, you can hide in doorways by pressing up on the stick and then waiting in ambush, you can hide in holes in the floor and ceiling (getting very Batman with the grabbing), and you can hang from catwalks and yank fools off the ledge.

Above: "HI-YAAAAH!"

All of the kills are nice and brutal, and the animations are short enough that they don’t slow the pace. The levels are spread out over a 2D space where you’ll be climbing ladders, riding elevators, and creeping through ventilation shafts. Even the first level is big enough to warrant a map, so the game is sprawling and, dare we say it, Medtroidvania-ish, although more compartmentalized with individual levels to explore rather than one huge base – at least that’s what it looked like from what we played.

You’ll be able to pick up guns temporarily, although we didn’t see any during our play time. We did get some night vision goggles, which felt special in a 2D scrolling game even if they’re played out in FPS games. We got a hold of a grenade but that was it for non-knife weapons. Luckily, that early on none of the guards were much interested in shooting.

Above: Well hello there, Mr. Flamethrower

We could say that the game felt slightly one-note during the first mission, but we didn’t get tired of that one note’s nuances, and we got the feeling there would be much crazier stuff later on, once more abilities and items were unlocked. We’re pretty excited for this humble little XBLA and PSN title, which will be releasing this fall.

Aug 31, 2010

Matthew Keast
My new approach to play all games on Hard mode straight off the bat has proven satisfying. Sure there is some frustration, but I've decided it's the lesser of two evils when weighed against the boredom of easiness that Normal difficulty has become in the era of casual gaming.