If you’re a child of the 80’s, there’s a possibility that you may have played the original Yars’ Revenge, yes, it really is that old, but the main difference with the Xbox Live Arcade version to the original is that it’s not flat, 2D, blocky and limited to eight colours.
Prepare yourself for some frantic third-person shoot-em-up action from a game that could be classed as a ‘Marmite’ game, some will like it and some won’t, but do I like it or not? I’m a little on the fence about it as you will see…
Upon opening the game, you’re treated to a minimal sleek interface menu with all the options, in the options is an Extras section which gives you concept art of the 2011 XBLA version and a comic book from 1981 of which you will need to get up close to your TV to read due to the rather small text (unless you have an 80 inch LCD/OLED/Plasma/3D jobby). Due to the angle of the menu tiles, it’s also a little difficult to read some text from tiles on the right, I’m kinda guessing Atari expects everyone to have 50″ full HD TV’s minimum.
You start on Stage 1, obviously, and after using up or down on the left analogue stick to choose your difficulty, you’re treated to a storyboard that gives you a brief idea of what the game is about, then it’s onto the game itself.
You know when a game has too many controls? Yeah, the idea of having to move Yar and the sight independently makes for some damn confusing gameplay, it might seem easy at first as you casually move each one in unison, then things get a little hectic and you also need to shoot the Rail Gun and you think you can shoot it again but no, you have to wait for it to recharge and before you know it, you’re taking more damage than you would like to…
It’s not for the faint-hearted with the immense gameplay going on with the different enemies needing different shots and tactical shooting needs ultra sharp thinking, this wasn’t the best time to be playing and reviewing this kind of game having a head cold. It takes quite a bit of concentration to manoeuver with one stick while aiming the sight with the other and shoot all at the same time, yeah you can just keep your finger on the trigger, but then there are other aspects.
Boss’s have that lovely big health bar for you to reduce all the way down until they’re defeated and while it only takes a combination constant shooting and the odd Rail Gun blast to take them down, you will have to face a few waves of other enemies just to make it last that bit longer.
The learning curve isn’t that steep, but it’s quite a long upwards slope before you become comfortable with the controls and once you’ve sussed that the shield replenishes a percentage of your health, you’ll find yourself lasting a bit longer and have a bit more life when you encounter the end of level meanie.
The visuals are very nice with nicely detailed scenery and environments for what it’s worth, you don’t really have time to sit back and take it all in or to check out the enemies to that much extent with not much thought except to blast them out-of-the-way.
The audio isn’t that exceptional in the sense of you won’t find anything particularly unique about it and at times, you could be excused for making references to Space Harrier, the one difference is the ability to use a secondary power, one of which is a kind of lightning laser orb which zaps several enemies at once and comes in pretty darn handy when faced with multiple swarms.
Until you get the hang of it, it’s very recommended that you play in Easy mode or for the criminally insane, go for Hard mode and feel your brain melt and drip out of your ears. For pure gameplay, you can’t fault it with it being a fast-paced shooter and all, try the trial before you buy as it may not appeal to most with its acquired taste.