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Title: Rush n' Attack (2nd Review)
Rom Player: Jnes
Reviewer: Rick Wickenhofer

Synopsis: Rush 'N' Attack begins interestingly enough, with you parachuting out of a helicopter under the cover of night to stop the development of a new secret weapon by the Russians. Unfortunately, you are not told what the hell it is, since you're apparently on a need-to-know basis, and your only equipment is a plastic butter knife of the same color as your uniform. So obviously, stealth is an absolute necessity.

As it turns out, though, your character has already fucked everything up, because he overslept until daytime and the enemy alarms are all going off. Men rush at you with rifles strapped to their backs, but fortunately the Russian military has cut back on their budget. Forced to defend their base without ammo or weapons training, the soldiers are instead trained to run at full speed across the base until they collide with an intruder, are stabbed by said intruder, or pass out from exhaustion.

There are soldiers with some martial-arts skills, or more accurately, a martial-arts skill. These world champions will attempt to jump-kick you, but you can easily run underneath the kick and the enemy will keep running in the same direction, saying "Fuck it, the next guy will handle it. They don't PAY me enough for this nonsense." There are some guys in yellow who carry loaded bazookas, but again, budget constraints. They don't know how to fire their weapons, and must compensate by charging very slowly at you in a feeble attempt to discourage further invasion.
This makes it a simple matter to insert your knife into the most convenient spot in his sternum and take his rocket launcher from his cold, dead, pixilated hand.

One might think while playing through the first level that the huge missiles in the background are the secret weapon, since they're much bigger than the actual secret weapon and are suspiciously aimed right at Washington, but that would be too easy. You must hack your way through five more levels full of enemy soldiers over a course of six days, because at the end of each level you'll notice that day has again given way to night. It's almost like "Castlevania II: Simon's Quest," only this time with Russians.

Things start to look pretty bad after Day 1, because unfortunately you have brought nothing to eat or drink with you, and as each level progresses you will notice the desperate look of hunger and thirst on your character's face, or you could if the characters in Konami games actually had faces. Also, from Day 2 of the invasion to Day 6, the Kremlin has apparently solved some of its budgeting problems, because it can now afford new clothing for its soldiers, enabling them to wear a different outfit each day. After all, who wants to be dead AND unfashionable? Plus, here and there you'll run across guys who actually know how to fire a gun. Some are perched up in guard towers with rifles; others crouched in barrels armed with mortar cannons. You'll also run into armed foot soldiers. These enemy agents are unlike their allies in that they are actually hell-bent on killing you. They will chase you around, up and down ladders, and have been genetically altered so that they are able to move both left AND right. Beware these men. They are determined to stop the embarrassment caused by the successful campaign of a malnourished, dehydrated, knife-wielding maniac going around stabbing their soldiers by the dozens and bogarting all their rockets and grenades.

On level, or Day, 3, there are two new types of weaponry for you to use. One is the invincibility-endowing Starman, suggesting that the Russians have sent their KGB agents on covert missions to the Mushroom Kingdom to abduct the hapless creature. They have also subjected Starman to unspeakable torture, removing his eyes and crippling his lower points so that he cannot hop away without experiencing extreme agony. Now it begins to become apparent that the Russians must be stopped. The other weapon on level 3 is a pistol that will disintegrate after a few seconds. This makes it an effective murder weapon, for it leaves no evidence.

The Russians continue to make technological advances as the days go by, because on Day 5 they have machine guns, or at least rifles that sound like machine guns. They actually fire only one very slow moving bullet designed to hypnotize the victim, making him stand still for the seven hours it takes for the projectile to actually reach him. By day 6, the Russians have made one hell of a technological leap, because now they have laser cannons mounted to the ceiling. These protect their secret weapon, which is a big, glowing missile which is not quite as huge as the ones from the first level, but what the hell. Hordes of unarmed soldiers rush to defend the missile, including the slow men with rocket launchers they don't know how to use. To complete your mission, you must steal the bazookas and blow the missile to hell, although I question the wisdom of firing a series of rockets at a huge nuclear device from twenty feet away. Luckily, the missile winds up not killing you in the resulting explosion, and it seems the damage is only limited to levels 4 to 6. This makes it obvious that the missile was not really much of a threat to begin with, and the whole mission was just a wager two of your superiors made as to whether or not you were really stupid enough to jump into the middle of Russia waving a fucking butter knife at your foes.

Oh, and by the way, nobody's going to convince me that this is anywhere but Russia, because the title of the game is clearly an attempt to establish the setting without pissing off any Russian people living in this country. In fact, the original title of the game was supposed to be "Russian Bastards," but Konami realized that it wasn't very PC, plus you can't sell a product to a kid with the word "bastard" printed on it. I know this because they were selling Austin Powers action figures at a toy store I passed one day, and I saw that instead of the name "Fat Bastard," they had replaced it with "Fat Man." I god damn near puked. If Konami can release a game whose point it is to stab people, they should damn sure be allowed to say "bastard" during the stabbing process.

No side-scroller is complete without end-level bosses, and Rush 'N' Attack gives you plenty of those. In most games, it's one huge creature you have to fight, like the steroid-enhanced turtle from the Mario Bros. games who wears a dog collar and belches fire at you, or the big vampire bat from Castlevania that also belches fire. Apparently the hero characters of most games normally catch their fiercest foes right after Mexican night. In Rush 'N' Attack, though, the bosses are numerous, and thankfully, they display none of their bodily functions.

In Level One, three squads of guys charge at you, but they are easily defeated by standing still and swinging your knife frantically. Even the jump-kickers will succumb to this, although it appears that their foot has entered your mouth and gone halfway down your esophagus. Or you can blast each squad with a rocket, your choice.

At the end of Level Two, you'll run afoul of three guys with experimental jetpacks. They will toss grenades at you, but budget constraints have kept the Russian military from including shrapnel in the grenades, so unless you come into contact with the smoking clouds caused by the explosives, they will will not harm you. Also, the jetpack soldiers will frequently swoop down in an unequalled display of honor towards an enemy, allowing you a chance to stab them. Admire these men, but do not hesitate. With tears in your eyes, do what must be done, and jam your knife deep into their groin or asscrack, as they are the only vital spots you can reach.

You must face 30 vicious dogs at the end of Level Three. The first six will come from the right, the next half-dozen from the left, but always one at a time. This will happen again, and then the final six will alternate from right to left. You can lie down and stab them, or you can jump over them, and they will happily run away, indicating that it isn't really you they are after, but a plate full of biscuits that somebody is eating somewhere offscreen.

Level Four brings you the Autogyros, which is Russian for "guys in helicopters." Like the jetpack soldiers, they will hurl grenades at you, and will eventually fly low enough to be vulnerable. The small helicopters prove extremely brittle, as a single stab with the lethal butter knife will cause each to explode.

Level 5 has the first, and the only, challenging boss, the Paratroopers. They will float in, firing their rifles at odd angles, the bullets traveling at diagonal trajectories. This is difficult to dodge since the hero character has only two positions; standing and lying down. Both are unsuitable for avoiding the attack, and the surest way to survive is to jump in the air before a shot is fired. This should draw enemy fire away from the ground and increase the small likelihood that you will not meet Christ himself that very second.

I've already mentioned the Level 6 Boss, which is squads and squads of guys. The only difference is, they will keep coming until the missile is destroyed, and there are the goofy ass yellow guys among their ranks, whom the others brought along to ensure that more of them will die in the ensuing conflict.

Rush 'N' Attack's best feature is its 2-player game, because unlike most NES games that I played back in the eighties, two players can go at the same time. The only problem with this mode is, if one player gets too far ahead of his buddy, the guy in back will get creamed by a fast-moving soldier from offscreen. The graphics of the game are quite good, and the sound is decent for an 8-bit system. It's a nice little detail that you will hear different anthems at the conclusion of each level. As far as originality goes, I don't know of any other games where you can stab a guy with a jetpack in the penis. Overall, this is a good game, and I recommend playing it with a friend, because you know how the saying goes, two scalpel-wielding psychotic commandos can kill a hell of a lot more people than one. Or something of that sort.

Best Cheats: For a milder difficulty setting, pick "2 players" from the intro, and let the second guy get killed. That way, if you're killed later on, you will reappear in the same place you died. This is especially useful for those damn paratrooper bosses from level 5.

Here's some fun with the smarter, gun-toting enemies: find a spot with a long ladder, and wait until the gunman starts to climb it. Most of the time, he will use only one side of the ladder, and will leave room enough for you to climb in the opposite direction. This will make the enemy look and feel like a dumbass, and will keep you amused for up to 0.4 seconds.

Game Play: 7
Graphics: 9
Music/Sound: 8
Originality: 8
Overall Rating: 8

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