Man oh man, where to begin talking about Konami’s newest release Rush N’ Attack: Ex-Patriot. It’s a 2D platforming follow up to the classic game Rush N’ Attack that was initially released on the NES, and was subsequently one of my favorite NES titles. The original was also given the HD treatment and released on XBLA. Needless to say, I was very excited to see that a new HD sequel was being released on XBLA. That didn’t last long after pressing the start button. The entire game feels rushed and thrown together, and here’s why…

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The game starts with you in the role of Morrow, a member of an elite team of knife assassins. Yep, I said it. The elite part of the equation is severely overstated since your entire team is captured before the gameplay even begins, and are systematically picked apart throughout the game. You spend time finding hidden collectibles of Ulyssium, which gives you a small health boost every time you find one. You’ll probably have the most fun searching for the hidden collectibles, however your main objective is to stop the Russian General Valkrov from launching a missile at the US. That’s all well and good, but when you finally confront General Valkrov in the final showdown it’s about as anti-climactic as it gets, which sums up the game in a nutshell.

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The game has three main levels: the Prison, the Nuclear Plant, and the Russian Base. There is nothing particularly original about each individual level, and if you wish, you can run past almost every enemy. Especially on a lower difficulty. Either way it doesn’t really matter, a running X/Y combo will take out any enemy, bosses excluded. You can stealth attack enemies if you sneak up behind them. Good luck with that, seeing as how most enemies turn around right when you get ready to deliver the final blow. In the Base level there are enemies on floating motorcycle things that start shooting at you before you even get close to them. If the cliched bad guys surround you it’s game over, as you get stuck in a cheap death dance. There are three bosses at the end of each of the three chapters. They’re not excited, and for the most part extremely easy, but they too will catch you in the cheap death dance if you’re not careful. You periodically will find ranged weapons that defeated enemies have dropped. This helps a lot in the long run, when the game registers contact with an enemy. More than once there was a shot from the flame thrower that went straight through the enemy, which gives him more than enough time to run up and take you out in two hits.

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The platforming in Ex-Patriot is equally infuriating. The attacks are extremely unresponsive, and the jumping is just outright terrible. A lot of times you will try to navigate a tricky jumping sequence and will just die because pressing the A button does absolutely nothing. The checkpoint system is very generous, which is both good and bad. It’s bad because if you are running to the right and you reach a checkpoint the game freezes, but it maintains your holding right so when it catches up from the save you will keep running, usually to your death. You have to let go of the controls at a checkpoint, that’s the only way to keep from getting frustrated at something that should be so simple. On the bright side there’s a lot of checkpoints, because you’ll die many cheap horrible deaths.

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Rush N’ Attack: Ex-Patriot is just an outright bad game. One of the only pluses to the game is the length, its no more than 3 hours long, and that’s with searching for collectibles. This is so disappointing seeing as how Castlevania: Harmony of Despair is my personal favorite XBLA release in the past year. Konami hit a homerun with HoD, and whiffed with Ex-Patriot. The game looks okay, but there’s C4 the size of your on screen character. Take that for what you will. Either way you’re probably better off just watching a couple of Youtube.com videos and watching other people play.

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Title : Rush’N Attack: Ex-Patriot
Format : XBLA (Also on PSN)
Developer : Vatra
Publisher : Konami
Release Date : 03/30/11

[starreviewmulti id=1 tpl=20]

*Konami provided SlimGamer.com with a promo code for a review copy.