Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Assault Heroes

The best stuff to write about is the information that is still fresh. This arcade game is far from it and has probably been out since the launch of Xbox 360. Three years later, as I overcome procrastination, this game finally gives me the bittersweet satisfaction of another game completion. This excuse of, "I can always do it later" is going to stop sooner or later, otherwise the backlog may as well turn into a collection of wasted potential, digital or otherwise.

Game speed completion: Realistically, 8-10 hours. For the dedicated person who did their homework and also has a skilled co-op partner? 2-3 hours. A player can finish a full game in an 1 to 1.5 hours, and the difficulty can be further handicapped by playing on easy with a co-op partner. If was was more motivated, I could have gotten 150 points in one playthrough, but for the sake of focusing on certain achievements, slow is fast is the best advice for this game and it would be wise to simply complete the game to unlock everything in stage select, then cherry pick the remaining achievements. Survivor, Peace Maker and Sharpshooter requires you to play under unusual circumstances, but only under one zone so it might be more efficient to run Zone 2 a few times, focusing on the requirements of one particular achievement at a time.

GSL Potential: Despite my own personal experiences with the game, it has fairly high point-to-time-ratio. Play with a decent partner for potentially 130-140 points for one playthrough. If both players are fairly cautious and skilled, The, "Lair Slayer" achievement, which is the most difficult (i.e. controller throwing) achievement of the game, can also be taken cared of as well. After the fast points, It would be up the the player's discretion if they really want to top of the 200. Assault Heroes does have the potential of being fast, but the game does have that "unfun" vibe that would make going for the final few achievements a chore. (especially if the sole reason you're playing this game was for points.) It may become detrimental if time is a concern. Game visibility is also low, since there is no way to stack points in this game, so it can remain hidden away in your game library until needed.

What the guides don't tell you: The guides and achievements say "Zones", but the game chapter select says "Areas". It may have been common sense and I may have missed it, but the two are not the same thing. Zones are divided into several Areas and Zone Two does not actually start until AREA 5. If you read around, there are tons of people still having issues telling the difference.

This is why this information is important. The, "Survivor" achievement has ongoing issues being unlocked in Zone 1. I was one of them, and despite reading and re-reading all available guides, the achievement did not properly unlock until I took some other advice and earned it in Zone 2 instead of Zone 1. Popping that one was three years in the making, since I started the game in July of 2008.

Lair Slayer can be done solo, but it is not recommended at all. Things to know about this achievement is that all four underground lairs must be done in one game. If one of you dies, you must restart the game. You can start in Area 3 and you both can die all you want when you're not in the underground lairs. The game always starts both of you with 10 grenades and 3 nukes every zone so just use em if you got em. The camera will move but you can move at your own pace to recover health whenever you get damaged, and the players shouldn't take chances with their health when you only got one shot at it. Have the more confident player take lead while the second player focuses from behind. Blow up all barrels from a distance. Save yourself some grief on Lair 3 and sparingly use your nukes in the open circular arenas.

Two things will catch you off guard when you're going for this achievement. The camera WILL get you killed by the lasers if the angle changes. I was standing a fair distance away from one recovering my health when the camera moved forward and caused me to die, despite not changing my own position. Give the laser its due respect and give it some real space.

At the end of the final lair, there will be two turrets. You and your partner will most likely retreat back a little to avoid being hit, but the game spawns enemies from the hidden lower doors when you do, putting you in a great position to die, fail and restart the entire process. Whenever you come across an reverse L shaped intersection in Lair 4, have your backup watch the lower wall for incoming enemies. Failure this far along would be a waste of the other 30 minutes you spent doing the other three lairs.

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