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EndGame (PS2)

Ikari Warrior

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So, walking through my local EB, I say "I have five dollars in my pocket, what can I get?" So, I find two games in my hand. Alter Echo, a subpar, cheesy, yet surprisingly fun platformer, and Endgame. I say to myself, "Hey, I just bought Time Crisis 3, and I have two guncons that only work with one game, I could always use another Lightgun game." Not all Lightgun games, unfortunately, are created equal.

Gameplay: This game is an outright clone of Time Crisis. You have a time limit imposed upon you, and you have to press a button to take cover, release the button, and continue firing. If time runs out, it's game over (or End Game [ha]). You have to shoot the baddies as they appear, by shooting your plastic lightgun at the appropriate area of the screen where the bad guy is standing/shooting/whatever. The back of the game box boasts six playable game modes, including a dual-weilding shooting mode. I found this to be absent, so I assume it is unlockable. On the subject of unlockables, this game won't take much. On my first playthrough, I got to the second area of the fourth stage. The only thing holding me back from completing the game was the desire to do so. I was bored and yeared for termination in the mediocrity of this title. I was actually more interested in playing the "Joe Jupiter" mini game, which is a cheesy, hoaky scifi game using the same mechanics of the standard game. While a great deal "cuter", it was blatantly cheesy, which made the hoakiness factor okay with me.

Graphics: In the game's defense, it was released in 2002, so one could say the graphics are "understandably" dated. However, Devil May Cry and Onimusha Warlords were released in 2001, and both look spectacular to this day. The game boasts "anti-aliasing, motion blur, soft shadows, particle systems, and positional sound" as features of its graphical engine. I will give the game credit where it's due: the backgrounds look very well-done. However, when you're being shot at, you're not usually looking at the pretty trees.

The character models are very "blah." There's no detail in the faces, and a lot of them look like they were all born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. I'll be the last person to announce that he has a fashion sense, but I have to know who dressed these people. I felt like I was shooting businessmen and rent-a-cops.

Sound: The music is decent. It had an odd techno beat, but nothing that would grate upon the ears (of course if you really hate it, you can alter the volume in the options menu). One thing I liked about the music was that it was not uniform for the entire stage. It changed pace (often got faster) at certain parts of certain levels. While it was not riveting, at least there was some effort in the sound department to keep the player energized, even though the rest of the game did not really try so hard.

AI: Your standard fare of lightgun shooter AI is "pop on screen, shoot randomly, get shot". The AI in this game is laughable. You will have up to six opponents on screen simultaneously, and none of them will even shoot that specially animated bullet that actually hurts you. The back of the box boasts "Unsurpassed enemy AI -- enemies react to how you are playing with exclusive Hypermode technology." I hate to use profanity in my reviews, but that my friends is bullshit. Every stupid bad guy has the same stupid animation. I have not in my life seen more bad guys roll on screen to be shot (they're clearly easy targets because they roll very slowly, and cannot shoot while doing their "acrobatics"). I felt like I was shooting clowns or a band of tumblers. The most advanced the AI gets is to shoot out one side of a pillar, take cover, then shoot from the other side of the pillar. The majority of enemies will stand in the open, and at times reload in the open (no cover AT ALL). I understand the game should be made beatable, but if you're going to boast unsurpassed AI, you better make the game challenging, which this one isn't by a long shot.

Other: The story is outright laughable. It makes no sense, the dialogue is stereotypical, and the voice acting is mediocre at best. The animations for the cutscenes between levels are awkward, and have that "jello-leg" look of not-using motion capture. Now, for a bit of fun, I thought I'd go down the back of the box, and tell you how true each statement is:

"Loaded with awesome special effects..." -- half-truth. They may be there, but they're barely noticable because of the horrid character models.

"Over 20 locations based on painstakingly detalied settings spanning the globe" -- truth. The backgrounds are pretty.

"Fully interactive and destructible environments with dynamic explosion effects" -- half-truth. A few things are destructable, the majority of objects (such as pillows in the first level of the game) get generic bullet holes, which might as well have been painted on (and probably are).

"Over 6 different modes of play -- including training mode and a double-gun mode" -- half-truth. The double-gun mode may be there, but you have to unlock it first. I don't consider "training" a mode.

"Unsurpassed enemy AI..." -- I went over this, it's a total lie.

"Supports Light Gun Peripherals" -- half-truth. My guncon 2 did work with this game, but even after calibration, I couldn't be nearly as accurate as I was in Time Crisis 3. Probably because this game wasn't made by Namco.

"1-2 Players" -- but ya hafta unlock it first.

Score: 5/10, mediocre at best, barely worth the five bucks I paid.

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This game is a hilarious riot. Almost every single bad guy rolls. Everyone else just pops up or side-steps into your line of sight.

It's not fair to this game, because I played Time Crisis 3 before I played it. So, since TC3 is arguably one of the best light gun shooters on the PS2, this one is SO mediocre by comparison. It isn't really a bad game, but the hit detection and calibration are off. I have shot guys in the shoulder and not have them react. I don't have this problem with Time Crisis 3. Funny thing is, the Mighty Joe Jupiter game that comes with Endgame is more fun than Endgame itself.

I will admit, there's a bit of enjoyment to having two machine guns (after beating the game twice), but it does make a too-easy game that much easier. I beat it on my second playthrough, and there are no continues. I was down to my 0th life bar (they start you at 3, and include 0), so, they made it reasonably challenging by the end, but not too the exent that Time Crisis 3 does. This genre of game does get tiresome after a while, though.

On further playing, I did notice more of the blur, lighting, and particle effects. They just had such weak character models. Also, there wasn't much to break up the tedium of the regular gameplay. All the levels play basically the same. Time Crisis 3 had Jeep Chases, shooting enemies on motorcycles, and destroying ships jumping out of the water. This game just had the same retarded enemies jumping in front of your gun over and over again.

I'm tempted to bump the game's rating up a point or half a point because it's much more fun with the dual-gun mode. There's a couple of unlockables, but considering all the unlockables means running through the lame-ass story mode over and over again, it just adds to the tedium.

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