Rush’N Attack: Ex-Patriot is a bad 80’s action movie; the dialogue isn’t great, the story is thin and feeble, and you’re fighting Russians (see what they did there with the game title?). You are part of an elite knife-fighting assassin unit for the U.S. military. You are to infiltrate a Russian base and rescue the long-suffering American prisoner who failed in his (similar) mission years past. Of course, you’re captured and thrown in prison before you even begin playing the game, so you begin with escape! Along the way, you learn about what the Russians are doing, and if you’re lucky, you learn a little about yourself, and life (not really).
The story is nothing worth talking much about. Story progression happens through static dialogue boxes that come up over the screen. The writing isn’t great, and doesn’t do much to get you really interested in the character or the events. There’s not really anything special about the story. At all. The best thing about it is that, at least, it wasn’t so badly done or obtrusive that it negatively affected the gameplay. There: it was bad, but at least it wasn’t so bad the rest of the game sucked because of it.
There are times as you’re watching non-gameplay scenes that the character models seem like they were created by people who skipped their anatomy classes; disproportionately long arms, wrists bending beyond human capacity, and so much more. This was a bigger deal for me than it may be for many people. Bad character modeling just rubs me the wrong way. Fortunately, during gameplay, you don’t really notice this kind of problem. The game’s style and animations during gameplay are fine. They’re not bad, but they’re not spectacular.
This game is and isn’t a stealth based game. The on-screen mini-map shows enemies as they come within your range, and it shows the enemy’s range of vision, similarly to the police car range of vision in Driver. You can use this to play the game as a stealth action game for the most part, but it’s not perfect. There are many stealth locations (dark doorways, overhead compartments, and holes in the ground) that you can hide in. Once an enemy comes directly in front of/under/above you, you can instant-kill them with a stealth assassination. As enemies are walking away, you can crouch-walk to them and assassinate them from behind. You can avoid security sensors using the stealth locations and timing. Eventually, you will get to places where stealth is just not possible, but for the most part, you have options. Of course, if that seems too slow paced and boring for you, you can just go straight through the game, throwing stealth to the wind, slicing and dicing enemies as they come. Unfortunately, it seems that the amount of damage you take at any given moment is completely arbitrary, and not exactly based on any kind of mathematical system. At times, you can take a small barrage of bullets, while at other times a single shot may do you in. This is, by far, the more dangerous way to play, but at times it can be very effective and efficient.
Most of the combat focuses on knife attacks. Enemies will, now and again, drop their weapons, but the ammunition is limited, and it should be entirely possible to play through the game without needing to pick up a weapon to supplement your knife. As you progress, you unlock new knife combos that improve the variety of shanking options. That being said, the weapons can come in very useful at times, especially when you start picking up the turret. The turret drop makes short work of the final boss, which leads me to difficulty.
The game isn’t really hard. There is a checkpoint system that functions well enough, and most enemies go down fairly easily. The bosses have fairly easy-to-discover patterns, and for the most part, somewhat obvious defeat mechanisms. The platforming aspects are generally well implemented, except for a bit of an issue with the jump mechanic becoming, at times, a little frustrating. Overall, though, the platforming is well done. Slipping in and out of cover is easy and fast. Wall-climing, wall-jumping, ladder-climbing, etc. are all handled smoothly and well. The ledge system could use a bit of work, making it more intelligent perhaps, but it functions well enough to not break the game. You might spend a couple of hours playing if you’re rush’n (yes, I went there), or you might spend a few hours playing if you use the stealth gameplay mechanics and explore the map beyond the basic progression areas.
Developed by Vatra Games and published by Konami, Rush’N Attack: Ex-Patriot is available on both XBL and PSN for 800MSP and $9.99, respectively. It’s not a terribly long game, nor is it a terribly difficult game. The dialogue animations can be boring and badly done, the character animations can be sloppy, the story is a barely-there knock-off of any action movie from the 80’s, and there are some wonky gameplay mechanics. On the plus side, it was actually pretty fun to play in spite of all of those problems.
Not too much story taking away from gameplay.
Character design/animation issues
Gameplay mechanic issues
Not too much story to get you invested in gameplay.