Konami seems to be doing quite the number of classic reboots as of late, including Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and Harmony of Despair as well as Hard Corps, which is a homage to Contra. Surprisingly, a lesser known title from the 80s is also being given the reboot treatment in the form of Rush n' Attack: Ex-Patriot, a side-scrolling adventure downloadable game for both Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network.
The original Rush n' Attack was an arcade game released way back in 1985. Set in the Cold War era, gamers of old stepped into the shoes of but one soldier armed with a knife and the objective was to rescue several POWs from the firing squad. Fast forward another 25 years and Konami is reheating the Cold War with Rush n' Attack: Ex Patriot. Just as the name implies, you no longer work for the government and the new objective is to escape a military compound.
The demo kicks off with us taking control of Sergeant Sid Morrow in a dark lonely prison. Somehow he's gotten hold of the trusty knife and what happens after that isn't best described in front of kids. Well, that's just an exaggeration, much like most of the kill animations in the game. It's obvious from the outset that the game isn't quite going in the direction of gritty realism. Instead, most of the gameplay is rather cartoony and over-the-top. Equipped with the knife as the primary weapon, there are plenty of ways to dispatch enemies. The game can be played either stealthily or with a foolish display of brute force. Stealth, however, is a bit more ideal as players will be rewarded with some badass knife takedowns. Besides, who doesn't enjoy sneaking through shadows and slitting the throats of helpless guards? The demo featured many hiding spots, including darkened doorways, gaps in the floors and ceilings. Once hidden, Morrow can also whistle to nearby guards in order to grab their attention and draw them in for the kill. He can also jump and hang from catwalks to stay hidden as well as pull guards down to their deaths as they walk past.
When asked about other weapons in the game, it was confirmed that in addition to the knife, secondary weapons can also be picked up, but only used for as long as there is sufficient ammunition. These weapons can be found scattered throughout the levels. Speaking of which, the level on display was quite large, there were a number of times when the mini-map didn't really help and referring to the level map was the only option of finding the way out.
Another core mechanic aside from combat is the platforming, of which there is plenty to enjoy. The demo level on display featured a bit of backtracking, but not exactly in the form of going back from whence you came. Instead, once an objective was completed, players can backtrack to a previous location by taking a different, and in this case shorter, route. In between stabbings and stealth takedowns, the platforming is a nice mix in order to keep things fresh.
What was shown at E3 wasn't very mind-blowing, but this reboot of a game that didn't garner quite the following of Castlevania and Contra certainly felt quite solid. The game mechanics worked and the visual use of light and dark makes sneaking around pretty straight forward. Rush n' Assault: Ex-Patriot is set for release later this year on XBLA and PSN.