Remember those wondrous days of yesteryear where nothing excited us more than a couple of colored blocks on screen, and a little bleep and bloop? There was a console, arguably the first successful one for the home called the Atari VCS more commonly known as the Atari 2600? You do? Well do you remember one of the big launch titles for the 2600? Yep Combat, and a variation within combat? Common now, don’t tell me you’ve forgotten good ol’ Tank? Okay admittedly I thought I remembered the game being only Tank, which is based on the arcade version of Tank by Kee and Atari games. However Tank and it’s variations were added into the Combat cartridge with various other battle type games. Anyways, it was always fun playing Tank and it’s various variations, and nailing the other guy. Especially Tank Pong, where you could bounce shots off the walls. Nothing like reliving the good ol’ days. Well what this has to do with our next game is that it, also is a tank game. It’s called Last Man Standing, by IronCode Software. Let’s figure out if it’s something worth buying or not.
The object of Last Man Standing is to destroy all tanks on a given level. You move your tank with the arrow keys, but you can only move in 4 directions, even the tanks in Combat could rotate, but this doesn’t. Space bar fires your primary weapon, the left Alt key fires your secondary weapon. And there is a “special” weapon (I have yet to come across) if you hit ‘C’. You can hit the ESC (escape) key to pause your game and go back to the main menu, and resume by hitting the resume option to go back into a game you’re already playing. You get different weapons based on which vehicle you’re using. One is a straight up Tank that fires bullets, and the secondary weapon on that is a missile. Secondly is sort of this buggy like vehicle that has a “flame thrower” (essentially bullets that look like a flame), and secondary missiles as well. I was surprised there was no windowed option to the game as it would have made it easier to review this game. Also you can’t reconfigure the controls, which for me isn’t such a big deal, but others seem to like it.
There are two game modes, or levels, I can’t decide which is which really, one is the Skullnet Campaign, the other is desert arena. I would have thought the arena would have been non-stop, but there are a certain amount of tanks you must destroy before progressing, so I guess these are two levels or something. Skullnet seems more like a story mode. You supposedly get 60 levels in the full version, however I could barely get past the first level in either mode. Here’s the interesting thing about this. When playing the game gets sluggish with all the things on screen at once. It starts out slow then more and more tanks spawn and soon you’d be hard pressed not to get hit by a bullet. But the thing is, even though the controls were simple and there wasn’t much to it, I kept playing and playing and playing. There’s a certain addictive quality to it. I kept looking and saying, gosh they only move in four directions, and they don’t do much other than shoot, I should be able to beat this. Try as I might I couldn’t seem to beat anything. It starts out with about 55 give or take a few, and the lowest I could get was to 26 left. So I was able to kill around 30 before being destroyed. There are two basic types of tanks in arena, the light kind of greenish colored ones, which you can hit with one shot, and the darker gray ones which you have to hit twice. You can fire your secondary missile to hit the gray tank once though, and there’s a power up which turns your bullets blue, which also does one-hit damage. There’s also a shield powerup. Because I could only move in four directions and the collision seemed basic, I would get stuck at times, and the only way to get out of it was to destroy the Tank that was blocking me.
The interface wasn’t that difficult. simply move and shoot basically, everything else was on a menu. Also there’s a strange thing, the mouse cursor seems sluggish on the main menu. It’s like they didn’t make a very optimized program. It is on the bottom of their page, and it wasn’t even mentioned on the IndieGamer forums, so my thought is that it was their first outing. Gotta commend them for finishing a game (not to mention 3 more, however this is not the intent of this review so I will move on). As I said above, there is no fullscreen options, there’s only a few sound options, sound, music, and reverse stereo (who would really need a reverse stereo option). The in-game hud is adequate, a heart for your health, and a shield for your, uhh, shields. And then how many enemies are left in the level. Doesn’t get much simpler than that. Well that’s about it for the interface, next I’ll talk some about the graphics, sound, and music, and give you my final analysis.
The graphics for the most part are adequate, but only just. The “flame thrower” isn’t a flame thrower at all, but rather a bullet shaped like a flame. The explosions seem like they were ripped somewhere and don’t really integrate into the game that well. Smoke trails on the missiles are kind of neat though. There’s just nothing to spectacular about the graphics. The sounds are ok, and the music tries to sound like demoscene music, not quite as good but not terrible.
Final Analysis: While it does have an addictive quality, there’s nothing special about this one, but I’ll go ahead and say I don’t recommend it, but I don’t NOT recommend it. The price is low at $5.99 for having “60 levels” or whatever, but I’ve seen better games on Xbox live community games at cheaper prices. (200 MSP or $2.50 games).
Name: Last Man Standing
Where you can get it: Here on the Last Man Standing page.