Review: Assault Heroes 2

Sierra Online last year released an Xbox Live Arcade game that took the Arcade by storm. The game was Assault Heroes, a scrolling shooter that was fresh, enjoyable, and a blast to play. Many, including myself, thought Assault Heroes was one of the best games the Xbox Live Arcade had to offer, so it wasn’t a surprise when Sierra Online announced that it would be making a sequel, Assault Heroes 2. Sierra Online promised it would be faster, better, and more entertaining than ever and I’m happy to say they were right.

Assault Heroes 2 follows the classic top-down shooter formula but puts its own spin on things. Fans of the original will feel right at home as it uses the same controls that made the first one so easy to play. The first thing you will notice is the fact that there are now more enemies on the screen to kill, coming at you from all angles; you’ll know from the get off that Assault Heroes 2 means business and that it will be no easy ride.

The HUD this time around is a lot easier to look at and understand: you can now see all the weapons at your disposal down the left-hand screen and it will glow on which weapon you are currently using, and by pressing the shoulder buttons, you can easily toggle through which weapon you want to use. Among the usual weapons that have carried over from the last game, Minigun, Missiles, and Flame Thrower, comes a new weapon, the Freeze Thrower. It works the same as the Flame Thrower, but freezes the enemies which then enables you to smash them to pieces using the Minigun. The grenades and nukes all make a return with the same controls as the orignal. As you progress through the levels, you will collect power-ups to upgrade your weapons, which you will need if you want progress through the game.

Gameplay-wise, they have kept it to the winning formula that they created in the first one. Everything seems faster: you move faster, but so does the enemy. While on foot, you now have the ability to roll dodge either incoming fire or those suicide bombers, which is a welcome touch. There is a lot more emphasis on “on foot” this time around, with the underground dungeons taking more of an important role with the occasional walk about on land. A new feature for the sequel is the ability to hijack other vehicles with helicopters and tanks ready for your disposal on your way through the levels. This time around, you will be fighting the likes of giant bugs (think Starship Troopers and you will get the point), Giant Apes (that look like King Kong), the usual enemies from the last game, plus Dinosaurs; expect the unexpected when you play through this game.

The graphics have been enhanced and look better than the original. It just shows what developers can do with so little space for Arcade games. The vehicles have been given a makeover, looking better than ever, and a lot more detail has been giving to the foot soldiers and other enemies. Scenery is modeled well and reacts to the firepower that you are unleashing at your enemies: trees go on fire if your using the flamethrower or chop in half if blasting your Minigun around.

Overall, this game is a must for all the fans of the original game. If you haven’t tried the original, pick this up anyway as you will be hard pressed to find a better shooter on the Live Arcade. It’s not common to find a game that you can just pick up and play and have fun with straight away, but this game allows you to do just that. With two player online co-op throughout the campaign, there are endless hours of fun that can be had with a friend. Buy it and have fun, that’s an order.

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