Monday 12 September 2016

Vice: Project Doom (NES review)

Developer: Aicom
Publisher: Sammy
Released: 1991

Vice: Project Doom is an action-platformer that blends elements from other genres into its gameplay. 

As Quinn Hart, your mission is to investigate the source of a neon gel that's being used by an alien race for nourishment. Although most of the game is an action-platformer, the opening stage sees you driving a car as you shoot enemy vehicles. These stages are fast and frantic, and play more like a vertically scrolling shooter as you blast everything in your way. They could easily be an entire game in their own right and it's fun causing mayhem on the road! The action-platform stages make up the bulk of the levels and at your disposal is a Whip, a .44 Magnum and Grenades. They're a joy to play due to the interesting level design and great controls that compliment the twitch style gameplay. There's tons of enemy types, and each attack in different ways to keep things fresh. Ammo is in limited supply but you never have to worry about using weapons liberally as lots of pick-ups are available. The action is challenging but never punishing, and there's unlimited continues to encourage you to keep playing. The bosses are innovative and each has a distinct, intriguing pattern. Finally, there's the first-person, auto-scrolling stages where you need to defeat enemies as they pop-up. It's similar to the FPS sections in Alien Storm (1991, Mega Drive) with destructible scenery and layers of enemies to create perspective. It plays nicely with a fair difficulty, but the crosshair is a touch too slow and there's no Zapper support. Overall, I wish there were more FPS and driving stages as there's only two each in the entire game! There's also some beautiful cut-scenes that perfectly set the premise for upcoming levels.
Vice: Project Doom is a clever mixture of Ninja Gaiden (1989, NES) due to its relentless enemy waves and precision platforming, and Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode (1988, NES) for its diverse gameplay styles and storytelling. It's an ambitious title that succeeds at every turn and manages to pull off the tricky multi-genre approach with ease.
Random trivia: The game featured on the cover of Issue 24 of Nintendo Power magazine.

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