Publisher: Mommy’s Best Games
Developer: Mommy’s Best Games
Genre: Side Scrolling Shooter
Release date: Available now
Review by: Christopher J. Troilo
The age of home gaming was revolutionized by the NES, and most owners had a few staple titles in their collection. If the mood struck you to run-and-gun your way through endless bad guys and aliens, then most likely you were popping in the all-time classic, Contra. While the age of shoot-em-up 8-bit games is long gone, there are still some trying to improve upon their designs and introduce their brand of fun to a new generation of players, which is where Weapon of Choice comes in.
Available online through the Xbox 360 Community Games section, Weapon of Choice brings new energy to the side-scroller genre. The plot, as it should be, is simple and over-the-top. General Grier has ordered his top super-soldiers to stop a group of aliens from achieving world domination. Armed with the latest in crazy technology and weapons with infinite ammo, you set off into the wild terrain, exploding and annihilating anything that moves that isn’t you. Along the way, there are several paths you can choose that can change the game’s storyline and outcome.
The controls are a little funky compared to what most gamers might recognize. One control stick is used to move, while the other both aims and shoots (an action you would be wise to never stop doing). As you move through the game, you find unique ways to use your weapons to cover terrain and take down your alien foes. One of the characters uses a flame thrower, but when using the alternate fire, the burst becomes extra large and can double as an engine to boost you higher when jumping.
Weapon of Choice developer Mommy’s Best Games has done a pretty good job of upgrading a nostalgic game design. The graphics are reminiscent of old-school titles, but still feel fresh, with bright, vibrant colors, and the lives system has been replaced with the “Brush with Death” component. When your character is about to die, the game is slowed down and you have the chance to evade or destroy whatever is threatening you before it claims you. The soundtrack is hilariously over-the-top, with heavy-metal guitar riffs written specifically for the game.
While I most certainly applaud Weapon of Choice and acknowledge the amount of thought that went into doing something creative while paying homage to an older generation of games, I felt there were a few misfires. To start, I personally found the controls to be a little cumbersome; they just didn’t feel natural. Next, while the “Brush with Death” feature is much better than having lives; in many instances I didn’t really have enough of a chance to save myself, which was frustrating. As far as character designs are concerned, they are creative, but I still found many of the oozing aliens with pulsating features a bit disgusting. Finally, I simply can’t believe there is no multiplayer.
This game comes down to what you like. If you loved Contra and all of its sequels, there’s no question this is a title you should definitely check out. If you require something with a little more depth and thought, I still think you should give it a try, but that’s probably all you’ll need to satisfy your curiosity. Weapon of Choice has accomplished its goal of making a fun and innovative side-scrolling shooter, and for that I give it credit.