Friday, April 23, 2010

VGR Elevator Action2 Returns

Talk about a classic arcade game.
This time a Sega Saturn game that is actually 2 classic arcade games in one!

I was going to upload some brand new reviews, not old deviantArt stuff anymore, but since it was the last one I think...

After this one, coming up next (this weekend or early next week), a movie review (clue: SW) and a comic review (clue: Frank Miller).

Edit29/12/2010: Edited this old review with my current template, instead of the huge jpg picture I previously had...

VGR: Elevator Action² -Returns-
From Taito
Played on Sega Saturn
Elevator Action 1 also available on Arcade, Nes, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Sega SG-1000, etc..  
Elevator Action 2 also available on Arcade, Xbox and PS2.

Type Arcade action sidescroller.
Year 1997

"Elevator Action Square" on the Sega Saturn is a compilation of two very unique Taito arcade games: Elevator Action released in 1983 in the arcades and its 1994 sequel Elevator Action Returns.
Let's start with the first one!...

On this disc, the original arcade Elevator Action game is actually a sort of secret, unlockable.
But in the pre-modern 128-bits or next gen systems, games had almost always passwords.

This way it's quickly accessible from the main menu for a quick play! (the code is even shown in the insert!)

You play as a secret agent, Agent 17.

The objective is to steal secret documents hidden behind red doors in a building.
Now, the gimmick here is the use of elevators for, well, the action!

Action! Bullets! And catchy tune!

The game is pretty addictive and very difficult. It's your typcial good arcade game from the 80s, simple visuals and gameplay and well crafted idea. You can shoot to kill your enemies or kick them while jumping. They can be squashed with the elevators but be careful, you can too!

The main idea is to avoid bullets from enemies, locate quickly all red doors across the floors and then rush to the bottom were a car is waiting to exit the level.

You only have three lives and then it's game  over!
No continues in this port (without the use of a code), but I personally really like this idea of difficulty, the challenge is pretty fun!
Most gamers born in the Playstation & memory card days aren't used to that but I love it!

Now some trivia about the Nintendo port:

I also have it.

The game was ported to various Nintendo systems under the same name but was in fact upgraded quite a bit.

I have it on the original Game Boy but it's basically the same as the Nes port minus color.
The game was made easier (anyone can easily rush through it in a sitting, though as the original you'll need to get used to it the first time you play it).
The game lost his "Pacman" kind of level progression with expanding difficulty to a more classic "Mario Bros" standard level-based progression. (like level 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 2-1, etc..).
The levels layout aren't randomised anymore so you can learn your best paths to better succeed for example. On the plus side there are now many different sort of enemies while you progress and you can even change weapons!

That's for the Nintendo ports.
The game kinda lost his original arcade appeal but it's still a solid experience!

Now, on to Elevator Action 2:

Elevator Action Returns is a more modern approach around the same use of elevators.

It kept all of the upgrades of the Nes and Game Boy ports: there are special doors to change weapons around, all levels have unique layouts...but where the game truly shine is in its presentation.

Beautiful 2D at its best!

The game kinda looks and feels like a good mix between the first Elevator Action & a Metal Slug for exemple.
Yep! You read that right.

All the animations, character models, weapons, damages, effects look very SNK-ysh.
Taito did a really good job on upgrading Elevator Action to a new generation in terms of quality and graphics.

This time you can select between 3 different looking characters (which alters the gameplay and aren't mere skins).
They have to defeat terrorists who want to destroy the world/conquer it with nuclear weapons....
Sure, it's an "over the top" cliché story that gets the job done. The goal is, like the original, to find doors - the hidden bombs - and go to the end of the level. This time you need to check them in the correct order and are under a time limit for each door.

It's very stressful in the later levels and also pretty damn' fun.
The game is sadly a lot easier than the first one (kinda like the Game Boy port of the original game in terms of difficulty).
But easier doesn't mean you'll finish it in your first playthroughs!

You have some continues and it can be played on co-op by 2 players! Very cool way to spend an afternoon, believe you me!

Overall, this Sega Saturn compilation is a must have for any game collector, Saturn owner and arcade fan.

For all you non-Saturners find arcades to play one of those 2 games or wait for a eventual Virtual console/Xbox live port (not released as I write these words)!

Also available are the fun Nes and
Game Boy ports, who are pretty decent but were edited. (music, "levels", weapons/upgrades)
The Nes version is available on Wiiware (eyznote-they should have released the arcade original instead!!). There are also Game Boy Color and Advance ports based on the Nes version -which are ok if not a bit better than the actual Nes/Game Boy versions!

But for me, only the arcade version of the first game is the true and better classic. In the same fashion as Pacman, Galaga and Dig Dug arcade versions are the best...
The second game is also available on the Taito Legends 2 compilation (Xbox/PS2).
Both these games make quite a fantastic, excellent, addictive, fun and difficult arcade series, available on a great Sega Saturn disc!

The gameplay is unique and the music's catchy. No bonus around on this disc other than the games themselves sadly, but with the quality of these perfect arcade ports, it's ok. Specially when you think it's basically almost impossible to ever beat them completly :P

I give it:

 3 / 3 Invaders!


  1. His boots were made for mocking. XD
    (Sorry, this was a line from a book I got reviewing old school games. It said the game was cool, but made fun of the hero's red shoes.)

  2. Hey!! I have red baskets myself!

    (how did I miss your comment until now?!)