Format- Master System
Genre- Lightgun shooter
You may remember my dismissal of Knife Edge on N64 as a pointless exercise without having an actual light-gun to play it with. Well, Assault City has a gun, but it’s still not much cop. But what do you expect when you play it with Sega’s rather naff Light Phaser?
The game starts with an odd shooting range thing, with both human and robot faces popping up to fire at. You’re not supposed to shoot the humans apparently – it took me a little while to realise this. No instructions you see. You’re just supposed to already know the robots are your enemies. That’s robo-racism if I ever saw it.
The weird faces the humans pull when you blast them with lead are amusing though. (the robot’s death animations are boring in comparison). It’s almost like the designers wanted you to shoot the wrong targets…
You’re then given a ranking for how well you did (I performed badly, predictably), and whisked into the first stage proper. Things get ugly quickly.
Enemies fly around in the air, and a robot (which the game has taught me is certainly an enemy) walks along the bottom. All of them are rather uninspired and blandly designed. I shoot away at them, and their death explosions are as equally dour.
Eventually I die, despite not really knowing when I took a hit. Enemies are so badly designed it’s not clear when they’re shooting at you.
I’m treated with a cartoon panel style rendering of my death (which is nice), but it doesn’t paticularly inspire me to attempt to progress any further.
Light-gun games don’t usually age that badly. They have a simple charm that is purely down to the way they are played – with a chunky plastic gun.
Assault City definitely does suffer from the weedy Light Phaser you have to play it with, but it has other, deeper, problems. It’s designed without any real style, and it also lacks any solidity of heft in its gunplay. These are two areas which really work against it.
In the end, it’s a game where you shoot at things on a screen, and Assault City does a half-decent job. But it had to doa lot better than half-decent job if it wanted to be remembered with any fondness.