There aren’t too many games these days that remind us of the “hardcore” days of the Sega Genesis, when titles from Wolfteam (like Gaiares and Sol-Deace) ruled the land, and we couldn’t get enough of the challenge they provided. Mixed in with this was Target Earth, a ridiculously tough mech shooter that had something to offer at every turn – provided that you were a good enough player to make it that far, anyway.
Now, that game has returned – surprisingly – with a new label, its original name: Assault Suit Leynos. I’m sure fans will be thrilled by this, as Target Earth was, well, kinda lame in comparison. But the game itself remains pretty much the same, albeit with a few modern touch-ups and the same meaty challenge that the original game packed. For old-schoolers, it’s heaven – but it may be a bit much for those taking it on for the first time.
The goal is real simple – pilot your mech suit and take out enemies both in the sky and on the ground, using a number of weapons. Now, you’re not invincible – running roughshod into a smorgasbord of enemy bots will pretty much doom you before you’ve even begun. However, if you think tactfully, and approach each battle with some way of thinking – like firing at a distance with an assault rifle or using a shotgun-style blast to carve into a boss enemy – then you just might stand a chance.
For better or worse, the gameplay is unchanged from the original Genesis game. I say that because some players might be expecting to use the right analog stick to aim weapons. Nope. Everything is done with the left analog stick, including movement, and it can take some getting used to for those who’ve played shooters with the twin-stick mentality. That’s not to say it’s impossible, but there’s definitely going to be an adjustment period here. You were warned.
However, once you become accustomed to what Assault Suit Leynos has to offer, you’ll find it’s definitely to a hardcore liking, and you’ll probably be thrilled when you bring down an enemy armada with a well-timed move or two. What’s more, you can unlock customization as you proceed through the game and really set your mech up with a killer loadout, so that you can play your way. In some situations, this really pays off, especially when you plow lead into a tough-as-nails enemy.
While the presentation isn’t leaps and bounds over the original – the designers opted to keep the inspired Genesis design close to the heart with the HD remake – it does maintain the spirit of the original Target Earth, and there’s nothing wrong with that. No, it’s not nearly as detailed as other mech games that have come and gone over the years, but it’s a fun retro throwback to the days of old. The soundtrack is fun to listen to as well.
If you can accept the challenge that Assault Suit Leynos has to offer, you can probably whip through the game in a couple of hours. That’s a bitter pill to swallow considering its $20 price tag (not $10?!), but there are some notable extras, including the high score leaderboards, in which you can continue to push for the number one slot, as well as the original Target Earth, which is included here in spades. Talk about a blast from the past. Like literally.
While Assault Suit Leynos isn’t for everyone – some players will become overwhelmed and simply go “Nope” after just a few plays – it does have something to offer those players that grew up with the classic days of gaming. And any piece of retro goodness we can get from the past is a good one. Now, if the developers would just consider a throwback Wolfteam package for today’s generation…