Assault Heroes impressions: shoot it all!

We hooked up with Gamertag Radio's Godfree to play some co-op Assault Heroes earlier, and except for some connection problems, we enjoyed the game quite a bit. Assault Heroes is a top-down shooter akin to many shooters of the nineties. The only direct comparison we can thing of would be Jackal, which also involved a jeep. Assault Heroes finds players driving and shooting in multiple directions, à la Geometry Wars. You start the game driving a heavily armed jeep, not unlike Halo's Warthog. There are three selectable weapons: the minigun, flamethrower, and flak cannon. The minigun is your all around weapon; it's medium range, rapid fire, and effective against most targets. The flamethrower is powerful but has very limited range. The flak cannon acts like a gauss rifle: it's long range and causes heavy damage, but it has a slow reload time. Players also have access to limited grenades that are great for causing heavy damage to structures and bosses. Finally, there is, of course, a screen-clearing nuke.

The game formula is tried and true: just shoot everything and avoid getting shot yourself. There are plenty of enemies and weapon power-ups, the bosses are huge, and the graphics are sharp. At times there is an insane number of enemies on the screen, and it can get pretty tough. If your vehicle is destroyed, your character will bail out and can keep on shooting, though he's not very powerful and his movement is slow. If you survive long enough, your vehicle will respawn and you can get back into it. The upshot of this is that you won't actually lose a life. Should he die before the vehicle respawns, then you life count will decrease. There are also a few Contra-esque tunnel missions that have you play as the human character. You'll find them at certain points within the normal levels. If you get killed in one of these missions, you're automatically booted back to the surface. Unfortunately, we never made it all the way through one of these, so we don't know what happens if you complete one.

Driving around and shooting things is definitely fun, and it's even better with a friend. The co-op is rock solid, but we did suffer some connection issues at the beginning of the game. Four separate times the game failed to start and was left hanging on a loading screen. The game wasn't actually frozen -- gameplay tips were still cycling at the top of the screen -- but it refused to actually begin. Once you're in a game though, it's great fun. In co-op, you also have access to special team attacks that are unavailable in the main game. The team attacks are especially neat, as the attack you do is relative to what weapon you're using. A flamethrower will create a bridge of fire between both vehicles for example.

Is it worth 800 points? So far, we'd say so, but if the game ends up being short we might have to take that back. Of course, if this were a real arcade game, you'd probably spend $10 in quarters on it anyway.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.