There are few things more disappointing than suffering through a game only to realize youâ€™ve been here and done that so many times before, only better — much, much, better. Thatâ€™s the case with Inscapeâ€™s Assassin 2015, another in a long line of first-person shooters. But instead of the wealth of control options youâ€™d find in Terminator: Future Shock, Duke Nukem 3D, or Quake, you wonâ€™t be able to look up or down, crouch, or jump in Assassin. As you explore the drab environments, there are no goodies to pick up, no secret areas to explore, and basically zero tension.
The game begins the basic way: Youâ€™re at a starting point, you have a weapon, and you must get to the end level. But instead of a thrilling array of weapons to deal death on your enemies, the only weapon you have is a machine gun equipped with a rocket launcher. You donâ€™t need ammo, you donâ€™t need to aim (targeting is handled for you), and the gun will always fire unless it gets too hot from over-use — it just needs to cool down for a few seconds.
During your mission you receive radio messages from your partner, Jett Jones, whoâ€™s waiting for you at the end point in a helicopter. Adrienne Barbeau, veteran actress of such films as Swamp Thing and Escape from New York, provides Jettâ€™s voice. She guides you through your mission, telling you which direction to turn and what to look out for. Even if you donâ€™t need to know where youâ€™ve been, or where youâ€™re going, or how to get there, youâ€™re led by the nose from the start of the game to the end level.
Instead of picking up armor bonuses or health kits, you have a shield that depletes when youâ€™re being hit and regenerates when youâ€™re not. If you take enough hits to wear down the shield, you have a main health meter that begins to chip away but doesnâ€™t regenerate. I thought this was a decent way of handling health without the need to scavenge armor and health kits. The odd thing about it was, you donâ€™t really have much fear of getting killed. If you die, you can hit a continue button and start off at (or close to) your last location, with full health and shields.
Throughout the mission, youâ€™re faced with enemy units that come in the form of armor-clad warriors, hovering drones, or mechanized robots. The most pesky unit is the hovering drone, which seems to pop out of nowhere at times. The other units are pretty easy to avoid if your shields get depleted and need time to recharge. While the regular cast of bad-guys is a breeze to blow through, the most infuriating portion is during the final confrontation with the end-level boss, where you can shoot all you want but you canâ€™t inflict any damage. That’s because it’s not really a fight, but a switch puzzle.
But the most troubling aspect of the entire game is how quickly itâ€™s over. A couple of straight hours of should see you through it. Maybe itâ€™s because of the ability to continue the game right around the point where you die. Maybe itâ€™s the not-so-tough enemies. Maybe itâ€™s because you donâ€™t have to spend time pushing walls in search of secret places, or maybe itâ€™s because the game really isnâ€™t fun, so you rush through it. Maybe itâ€™s because Adrienne Barbeau guides you so well. Whatever it is, itâ€™s not much of a game.
System Requirements: 80486/33 MHz, 128 MB RAM, Win95
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