All that glitters is not gold. That's the first thing I thought when I finished Steel Assault. The trailers and demo foreshadowed some very impressive scenery, awesome action and generally a RAD title sent from the past in a time machine to blow our minds. Not that the above dont't apply to a sufficient degree, but for a game to be truly memorable, there has to be something more than. So let's see what it's all about.

As expected, the story serves as garnish in Steel Assault (and besides, who really needs it in games of this category). Our hero, Taro Takahashi, seeks revenge against the man who harmed him in the past and turned the world into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Standing in the way of his path to the coveted revenge will be several high-ranking people from that dictator's army, who are also the game's bosses. It is quite fitting that the gist of the story is given through a scene of a few seconds during the introduction. We won't distract ourselves any further with the story, so let's move on to more substantial aspects.

And what could be more essential than the gameplay!

The gameplay follows a fairly conventional approach. We move from left to right and with our electric whip, as another Whiplash, we take out any opponent that comes our way. The title is influenced by classic side-scrolling titles of the past such as Gunstar Heroes, Metal Slug, Castlevania, Ghosts 'n Goblins, etc. Compared to the aforementioned titles the power-ups are minimal - specifically there is a shield that absorbs all the incoming damage and electrical blasts that essentially increase the range of our attack. Aside from those, we have a couple of usefuls moves in our disposal. There's a slide-dodge that makes us invulnerable for a while and a double jump that helps platforming significantly. Most important of all though is the zipline that the protagonist has and can be launched either straight or at an angle. On the plus side, it's used a lot in the level design and in some boss encounters and it's not some gimmick that was introduced in the game and forgotten along the way. On easy and normal difficulty (personally I wouldn't recommend anything more than that as the fun-to-challenge ratio starts to drop) we have infinite attempts and the checkpoints in each level are relatively frequent, while very conveniently we replenish our energy once we reach one of them.

The showdowns with the bosses are well designed and absolutely impressive.

Unfortunately, Steel Assault has a really short duration. And I say that without exaggeration as your first attempt will take no more than an hour and a bit, including failed attempts! Apart from the separate difficulties, where new patterns are added to the bosses with each increasing level (as expected. our opponents become slightly more numerous), there aren't enough modes to keep our interest. The replay value is practically non-existent, while the arcade mode offered here is probably some bad joke of the creators at our expense, as we have to make it to the finale in just one try. Some people probably took the term "arcade" too literally, forgetting that the games Steel Assault draws its influences from (yes, even those that debuted on coin-ops), provided us with a few lives to spare before we saw the game over screen...

It's nice while it lasts and unfortunately it doesn't incentivize us to come back.

Steel Assault's is one of the most beautiful pixel art games in recent memory. The sprite design on environments and characters is detailed (the design of the bosses should be especially commended), with very warm colors. I don't know how else to define it, but their style is quite reminiscent of a Gameboy Advance game, so anyone who has played on that console will understand what I mean. Also, there's no hint of slowdown even when on the screen there is a hubbub of effects and enemies and generally the overall display is characterized by very vivid backgrounds and smooth animations. The highly positive impression one gets from the picture is ideally complemented by the sound. The soundtrack doesn't consist of many tracks but they are quite eclectic and catchy, while the sound effects are of good quality and contribute to a solid sound package.

We also have the necessary effects that create the illusion of playing on a CRT TV.

Steel Assault is one of the cases that I would compare to a good coffee. Enjoyable while it lasts but something you will probably have forgotten in a couple of days. While this is a well made title, it lacks lasting appeal. More variety in set pieces and at least one or two more levels (or at least larger) were needed to result in a more satisfying experience. The wide gap between difficulties and the lack of surprises in the execution of its action, detract from the allure of revisiting it otherwise. As it is, it can hardly justify its price, but at a discount it's worth investing your time in.



Εκρηκτική δράση, άψογη παρουσίαση αλλά διάρκεια-σφηνάκι και περιορισμένα αξιομνημόνευτα σκηνικά, που μας αφήνουν με την όρεξη...

Panagiotis Mitrakis

A child of the 80's, he started his gaming career with coin ops and Game Boy Classic. He went on to explore various other platforms during the 90's (SNES holds a special place in his heart) and was introduced to PC gaming in 1998, with games like Half-Life and System Shock 2. He doesn't say no to (almost) any genre but shows a predilection for RPGs and survival horror and tries to introduce others to the religion of Silent Hill, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and the creations of Looking Glass and Obsidian.


Ancient Red Dragon
Nov 26, 2012
Για το εικαστικό και μόνο θα τιμηθεί τα δέοντα σε προσεχή βαθιά έκπτωση μιας και τέτοιου είδους gameplay είναι σχεδόν πια απαγορευτικό για τα τσακισμένα μου -χαχά- αντανακλαστικά.

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