Rush'N Attack ReviewJoe Shaffer
Calling all masochists: grab your commando knife and hop on the nearest plane. We're taking a trip to the old USSR for a suicide mission from hell. Using only said knife, it's your duty to stab every man in uniform to death until the pile of bodies reaches the sky. While you're at it, the US government would like you to rescue POWs pronto and double your hide back to base.
Rush'N Attack is not a game for faint hearts or weak knees. It's Contra without a gun, a relentless side-scroller with straightforward levels and frustration galore. Those who aren't fond of constantly dying, getting stomped into the mud, or tossing their controller across the room should take warning. This experience will give you an aneurysm, and it will not care in the slightest. You get a few lives, no health bar, no continues, no passwords. Now's not too late to back out and fire up Mickey Mousecapade if you're too frightened.
The first stage seems easy enough. Most enemies don the mysterious 'touch of death' power that many videogame nemeses possess, but are otherwise unarmed. These old boys are easy to deal with, as just a well-timed stab to the chest will dispatch them. Like any game worth its salt, it becomes trickier as you advance. Other murderous men will appear, from both the right and the left, bringing with them grenades and RPGs. They obviously thought that only someone completely daft would bring a knife to a rocket launcher fight. Little do they realize you are completely daft. With a well-placed slice, that RPG becomes yours to fire upon legions of warriors. Rockets also fly through those they kill, easily ending the lives of a single line of baddies.
They'll send more troops in greater multitude. Some climb up and down ladders, weaving around platforms to confuse you. Others execute fatal flying kicks aimed for your cranium. Times like those call for you to reciprocate with a mid-air face-stab and a mad cackle.
I like to think of Rush'N Attack as a rhythm game. Enemies come at you in a specified pattern each level, and surviving a level is all about having a rhythm. You'll learn when exactly to stab, shoot, jump, or even jump-stab. It's knowing when to perform these actions that's the challenge, with fiercer scenarios popping up with every inch you travel. Sometimes a jumper will accompany a foot soldier, while an RPG trooper appears from behind. You'll have to figure out through trial and error whether to jump, stab, or collect the RPG first.
Therein lies one of Rush'N Attack's biggest problems: in order to become any good at the levels, you need to practice. However, practice is difficult to accomplish on later stages because of the no-continue policy. Rush'N Attack is unforgiving, but just a tiny bit of forgiveness--say, two continues--would have been nice, and it would not have demeaned the challenge factor much. Something like that will ask gamers to play longer, increasing the game's worth.
Practice will be hard to come by, but once you have it down--if you ever have it down--then Russia will become your personal dance club. You'll tear up the enemy compound, serving suckas with skill and style and leaving a trail of broken soldiers in your wake. Either that or you'll rage quit. Enemies will eventually pour in in such multitude that dealing with any of them becomes a task worthy of only the most patient and talented side-scroller runners alive. (Protip: use Game Genie).
Rush'N Attack is definitely not an amazing title. It's rough, flawed, and downright mean, and yet it's addictive. There aren't many straightforward side-scrollers that engage your logical circuit and force you to problem solve quite like this one. If you like to sweeten your bran cereal with iron filings in the morning, then you'll love this game. It's not for everyone, as the hefty frustration factor can be a major turn-off. However, for those in the intended audience who like a stiff jab in the cheekbone with their welcome-home hug, Rush'N Attack is a nice slice of heaven.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.