Written by I EcHo 360 I
Gastronaut Studios did everything right with Small Arms’ presentation. The menus are easily accessible, and if you have any questions about the game, head over to the Help and Options Menu. This game feels like Super Smash Bros. Melee back from the N64, but surpasses it greatly. You are able to choose from an array of 12 characters to do your killing and play on 8 different levels. There are six different game modes each with a different set of high-scores. In the single player realm, you can choose either Mission Mode, which will help you understand the history of Small Arms, as well as allowing you to unlock levels and characters, Training Mode to learn the controls and feel of the game, Challenge Mode to see how long you can last against an endless onslaught of enemies, or the Shooting Range to perfect your aiming skills and technique. These game modes are quite fun, and really help you practice your moves and techniques to prepare your for online gameplay. Once you’ve done all you can do there, head over to Battle Mode where the fun really gets started. Here, you can battle up to three others online to see who’s got the most skill. For starters, you have a standard health bar and ammo bar, along with different pick-ups that fall from the sky to replenish these attributes.
The graphics in Small Arms are simply stunning. The lighting, shading, and effects really make this game stand out to me. Everything in this game looks very well done and very polished, from the characters, to the backgrounds, to the levels themselves. Small Arms has close to the best, if not the best graphics for a 360 arcade title to date. The subtle features are what really pushes it farther than any other. When you run, you see dust fly up from under your feet. When you shoot Marky Kat’s machine gun arm, you see smoke file out of the barrel of your gun. When your bullets miss and hit that tree, you’ll see pieces of wood falling. The movement of the wind causes the grass of Outhouse to sway back and forth while you are getting sniped. Excellent is an understatement for the graphics of Small Arms.
The sound of Small Arms is top notch. The techno beats playing in the background will really get your blood pumping and your trigger finger itchy. The sounds become very distinct. You’ll know when someone’s weapon is being shot. Each weapon sound is great, especially the machine gun and the Molotov Cocktail. At times, they may sound a bit fake, but overall they are very nice considering they were imported and not made by the Gastronaut Team. When you hear Pector El Pollo’s flamethrower start-up, you’ll know to run for cover instantly. The character interactions when they are getting hit are superb! It’s almost a warning sign to return fire or run. Again, some things could have been different to make the sound better, but for an arcade game the quality is there.
The gameplay of Small Arms is simply astonishing. The controls are very tight and fine-tuned. With the 360 degree shooting range with the thumbstick, you are in total control. The character movements are very well done. If your character is leaning over an edge, he or she will try to maintain balance. If he or she is on fire, they will run frantically trying to put out the fire. If you slip off an edge, you character will try to hold on to the edge and pull themselves up the ledge. When firing a weapon, the accuracy is spot-on. You can see you enemy taking hits as well as your own character. The game is fast-paced, so standing around doing equates with putting a target on your head. There are various pick-ups in Small Arms to keep your character prepared for the kill. These include: Weapons, Meat, which will give you a health boost, and ammo to keep your weapons full for the next attack. Each character has their own special weapons. It is highly recommended that you pick a few favorites and learn to be very efficient with each of them.
Surprisingly, replay value for Small Arms is somewhat high. Once you beat the single play objectives and bag up those achievements, take your game online where the fun never stops. With leaderboards, stat tracking, and ranked and player matches, you’ll be sure to never have the same turnout twice. Also, you may even pick up that viral achievement. Small Arms is a game you can pick up at any time and have fun playing.
This game is a must-buy. With a price of 800 Microsoft Points, it is well worth a purchase since downloadable content is on the way shortly. Everything in Small Arms just goes well together: the graphics, sound, controls, and other gameplay features. For anyone who played Super Smash Bros. Melee on the N64 and loved it, you will surely love Small Arms.