This robot is worthy of your scorn.
GENRE: Shooter – Light Phaser/Control Pad
RELEASE DATE: 05/90 – (US), 1990 – (EU)
Assault City brings the Light Phaser out of retirement for “one more mission.” Rather than craft a magnum opus of carnage for the peripheral’s farewell – something akin to the epic action and creativity of Gangster Town or Rescue Mission – Sanritsu delivered a sci-fi snoozer with a derivative story and repetitive shooting.
Not the trigger on some other trigger-filled device.
The future is here and robots are our masters. You play as Joe, a Ziggy Stardust look-a-like who must destroy every robot with a Light Phaser he inherited from a dead guy (this is the story, take it or leave it). With this product placement by his side, Joe’s one-man disabling spree rages on through fashionable areas like: The Robot Scrapyard, The Sewers, and the Security Guard System.
The current regime really has a thing for lime green.
Before you can assault your way to a promotion, you take a shooting exam to prove you’re worthy of adopting David Bowie’s persona. The exam consists of tiles that flip over to reveal either a robot face or a human face. The more robots you shoot successfully, the harder the game will be (and don’t shoot the human faces or you’ll be penalized). What does harder difficulty entail? More enemies that shoot at you faster. Bosses that annihilate you with their attacks. Given the latter (and your one life/limited continues), I recommend you only shoot a handful of robots to keep the game at a manageable difficulty. Life’s too short to get arthritis from Assault City.
The enemy: a genial looking robot with red pupils.
Each stage consists solely of on-rails robot shooting, with vague apocalyptic landscapes looming ominously in the background. The robots either have generic designs or they’re out right stolen from 80s action films; Robocop and the Terminator make considerable cameos in the Sewer stage, for example. Once the stage decides you’ve shot enough of them, you’re ushered away to equally generic cybernetic bosses that pose no threat if you’re able to shoot their weaknesses fast enough. If I was Joe, discovering the power of the Light Phaser for the first time, I’d be disappointed that the world was taken over by these metallic lightweights.
Robocop’s locker room is OFF LIMITS.
Given how heavily the Light Phaser plays into Assault City‘s story, one might think that the sleek plastic piece would be the only way to play. Actually, Sanritsu made two versions of Assault City, one that uses the Control Pad, and the other that uses the Light Phaser. Even stranger: the Control Pad version is thought to have been released first, though I couldn’t find any hard evidence of this. Besides the large cursor that guides your shooting in the latter, both versions are exactly the same.
My response to playing through Assault City.
Who’s really being assaulted here? The neverending parade of robots, our sensitive savior Joey Stardust, or the consumer who hoped Assault City would help them believe in the power of gaming? This is the type of soulless outing that killed any remaining potential for the lightgun peripheral. Unless you’re able to insert some “Mystery Science Theater 3000”-esque commentary during the overwrought cutscenes, Assault City is a complete waste of everyone’s time.