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Published on April 17th, 2011 | by Gabriel

3

Review: Yar’s Revenge (XBLA)

Release Date: April 13, 2011 Genre(s): Action Developer: Killspace Entertainment Publisher: Atari Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+), 12+

[Rating: 5/10](5)

Back in 1981, Yars’ Revenge was developed for the the Atari 2600. It was Atari’s best selling original title for the 2600. It was created by Howard Scott Warshaw, who also hada hand in the 2600 titles Raiders of the Lost Ark and the very hated E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Recently, we’ve seen many remakes and reboots of several franchises and Atari decided it was their turn to join in. So they took Yar’s Revenge and gave it a complete new look and gameplay and released it on XBLA.

While the original didn’t have much in the way of story, this new one tries to create one from what it can. You control Yar, a insect-like human girl, who is enslaved by a race of aliens called de Qotile, After a while under their command, Yar breaks away from them and turns against them. It’s more of a re-imagining than an actual remake actually.

But now to the important part: is this game worth your 800 MSP ($10) or should you let it pass by? The answer is a bit more complicated than that and you’ll see why.

Yar, anime style

First, you know that little tidbit of the story I gave you above? Well, that’s all you get, or at least all you’ll understand. The game tries to convey its story through anime-styled cutscenes but fails to do so. It hardly makes any sense and does little to keep the player invested in the cutscenes. I found myself mostly bored every time one came up. Also, during gameplay, story bits are handed to you through conversations between Yar and the person commanding her. This also fails, mostly because of the game’s genre. This is an on-rails action shooter and you always have something coming at you and shooting you, so it makes it incredibly hard to try to focus and the text at the bottom right of the screen while also trying to stay alive. Voice acting would have gone a long way to make this aspect of the game better.

And believe me, staying alive is not such an easy task. Even on normal, Yar’s Revenge proves to be very challenging, which is actually a good thing, given the easy nature of many games today. Hardcore fans might find a good time here.

You take Yar through 6 stages filled to the brim with bad guys. You move her around the screen with the right analogue stick and aim with the left. The right trigger shoots her primary weapon, the pulse laser, while the right bumper shoots the more powerful rail gun. The left trigger allows you to lock onto enemies and fire rockets at them, although these are limited and must be collected throughout the stage to keep your supply up. By pressing L3+R3 at the same time, you unleash the Zorlon Cannon, which obliterates everything on screen.

While taking out enemies, some of them might drop power ups. There are 4: the defender (destroys enemy projectiles), the annihilator (lets you deal extra damage), the seeker ( seeks out and destroys enemies) and the shield (which will protect you and replenish your health). Even with all these powers, the game will still prove challenging, so prepare yourself for a fight. If things get to hectic and you find yourself overwhelmed, you can bring a buddy into the game. Sadly, it only supports local co-op, which is disappointing, considering online co-op seems to be the norm these days, and having it could have greatly improved the games re-playability.

Time to shoot some bugs in the face!

Graphically, the game is a mixed bag. While Yar and he enemies have a cell shaded look and are very detailed, the environments which you fly through feel very bland, which makes the graphics seem inconsistent, basically like all the other aspects of the game. It also doesn’t help that you face the same 3 types of enemies the whole game: the little easy to kill bug, the bigger one that dies with rockets and the tank-like ones which are better killed with the ray gun.

Despite all these flaws, the game can be fun, especially if you’re looking for a basic on-rails shooter that challenges you. Nonetheless, there are two big flaws I found in this game. First, is the game’s length. I must’ve played this game for 2-3 hours before reaching the end. Incredibly short even by XBLA standards. Second, is the multiplier system in the game. While playing, the more enemies you kill in succesion, the higher your multiplier goes. What ruins it is that it’s almost impossible to keep it up because many times during the game you’re left slowly flying through an area with no enemies at all, whom decide to reappear just as your multiplier goes back to zero. It defeats the purpose of having a multiplier in the first place.

All in all, Yar’s Revenge is a sub-par game. While it may prove fun in some instances, the whole game feels half baked and inconsistent. It’s as if when developing the various ideas for this game, no one thought to check how well they worked when combined together. The story becomes almost non-existent because of the fast paced nature of the game and lack of voice acting, the graphics seem half done, and the multiplier doesn’t work well because of the lulls in actions. This game had the potential to be good, but it seems rushed. For 800 MSP, I can’t recommend this game

The Good

  • Very challenging
  • Good variety of power-ups
  • Yar and enemies are very detailed

The Bad

  • Non-existent story
  • Very short
  • No online co-op
  • Badly implemented multiplier
  • Bland environment graphics
  • No voice acting
  • No variety in enemies
  • Pricey
[Rating: 5/10](5)

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  • So basically the game is shit?

    • Gabriel

      It’s not shit, it’s just feels rushed. It has some good things, like the challenge and the many powerups, but the lack of enemies, the flawed multiplier and how short it is keep it from being a game that can be recommended. At 800 msp, I’d say it should be ignored. Maybe if someday it lowers to 400msp, then it might be worth it to people looking for a chellenge.

  • Matt

    if you cant keep the multiplier going, its because you havent mastered the game yet. the scoring mechanic is quite deep, and it require a degree of experimenting to get the most out of it. thats where the replay value come from.

    IMO stage 3/4 are the best looking areas of any xbla game so far. it reminds me of Panzer Dragoon and Nausicaa.

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