Twin-stick shooters have been around for ages in some form or another, and Narco Terror is the latest game to try and mix co-op action with insane shooting and explosions. With a gritty appearance I had pretty high hopes for this one, but a few hours later and I was left feeling underwhelmed despite having had some fun times through the campaign.
The idea behind the game is pretty simple – you play as Rick Quinn whose daughter has been kidnapped and needs rescuing. There could be more to it than that, and there’s some sort of drug theme running through things, but when the game itself doesn’t seem to give a stuff about the story it’s hard to tag along. Instead it relies on you killing whatever comes your way, with the general idea of shooting anything that moves, shooting most things that don’t move and lob as many grenades around as you can. There are exploding barrels (red ones, obviously), vehicles to blow up and turrets to hop into for more spray and pray action, and amongst all of this you’ll get nearly endless hoards of bad guys trying to stop you in your tracks.
This has two outcomes. Some of the time you can go minutes without blinking as you pump your unlimited ammo into everything within range, cause chains of huge explosions and love every moment in a slightly-crazy-madman kind of way. But then seconds after this it all comes crashing down as an overly massive swarm of enemies gun you down, or some other excessive spike in difficulty rears its ugly head. The difficulty through the game is so up and down it’s impossible to guess just how much fun the next section will offer up.
The game’s overall presentation is touch and go as well, and although the visuals themselves aren’t terrible for a downloadable title they’re hardly going to win any awards. Dialogue is often balancing carefully on the line between so-bad-it’s-good and just plain cheesy, but again it takes a backseat when you’re spending your time trying to jump and roll away from dozens of trigger happy shooty dudes.
One thing going in Narco Terror’s favour is the co-op option. Allowing a second player to jump in and join the chaos not only makes it more enjoyable but also less frustrating in terms of getting killed. Providing the other player can stay alive for a few seconds after you die you’ll respawn into the same area, eliminating the issue of having to restart a nightmarish section from the start just because the final guy out of a swarm of 4000 sneezed in your eye and took that final drop of your health. There are annoyances with this mode as well though, with the often-problematic issue of two players on one screen meaning you occasionally fight for where to go next, or get caught out behind some scenery that you can’t get past without backtracking together.
It’s definitely the way to play the game though, and with the game only a handful of hours in length it’s worth enjoying it while it lasts, because chances are you won’t be too fussed about playing it through a second time. Once you’ve had a play with the weapons on offer and had fun with the different ammo types (incendiary ammo turns up quite early for more fire based enjoyment) the constant samey action just wears a bit thin, especially on your own.
So Narco Terror is a tricky game to sum up really. There’s nothing new here, and not a lot to keep you coming back for more when everything’s finished with, but it certainly has its moments of fun. Moreover, hook in a second player and your enjoyment will multiply significantly. It’s on that basis that I’ve awarded the score I have, but if you know for a fact you’ll be facing this alone you can safely knock a point off. Nothing amazing, but a safe option if you like your twin stick shooters.
Reviewed on PS3