Not much point in beating around the bush here, the game gets straight into the action so this review shall likewise do the same.
It seems a coalition of alien insects decided to invade the galaxy and generally make a right nuisance of themselves in the process. Needless to say, things got messy and the invaders were repelled or were they? One victim of the aforementioned confrontation was Yar. The poor lass was shot down and left for dead. However it takes a lot to keep our heroine down, yes siree!
Seemingly rescued, she wakes up to find herself being rescued by some strange and hooded types who have given her the chance for revenge. Now given a battle suit that enables her to fly and deal destruction, she's given the mission to get retribution for her mistreatment and more importantly, hunt down and find the brood queen and give her a right royal beating, therefore saving the day for the sake of the Universe! Say huzzah and punch the air!
But don't get too carried away as we now start delving into the game proper.
Graphics are fine, nice, bright and colourful and more than sufficient. The player has a head on perspective with Yar being presented in a third person perspective as she soars, dives and swoops dealing destruction too her foes. You will guide her through forests, canyons and jungle on her quest for victory.
Nothing outstanding here it has to be said. The usual electronically produced laser blast sound effects you'd expect. Game music is OK but nothing special and lacks atmosphere in some way. There's no real build up of suspense in the soundtrack alas. Occasionally it will get dramatic but when it does it means either you are on the verge of getting shot down or facing a boss monster.
Well I must be lacking the necessary hand and eye coordination for this one, as I find it hard to control and shoot at the same time. Why I hear you ask? Well you control Yar with the left stick but the aiming reticule is controlled with the right. So you have to learn the art of flying Yar and shooting which sounds simple but it's not.
It happens more often than not, that your targeting device will be up in the right or left corner or down at the bottom of the screen, whilst Yar will be way over in the opposite direction getting damaged as you try and reunite the two, or get them close enough to be an effective partnership; easier said than done for me.
On the plus side there are some nice weapons at her disposal. The standard laser is backed up with a plasma blast that needs recharging before it can be fired again. Move the reticule over a target, wait for the icon to turn red and let it rip. The beauty of this is that it can be fired in more or less any direction including too the rear as the enemies swarm from behind sometime so you can nail them before they turn and attack from the front. Even more fun is the annihilator, a device that let's rip with a huge blast of energy blasting all before it, rather like Doom's good old B.F.G.
This is not available right from the start however, it has to be earned and that's no easy task. Another handy device is the multiple rocket launcher. A press on the left trigger turns the aiming reticule into a large square and anything that flies into it, gets tagged with a red marker. A simple press of the X button and half a dozen rockets scream towards their targets and annihilate them with a gratifying boom. For extra defence there is a shield and like the plasma cannon this takes time to recharge. A tap of the A button activates it but be advised, although it protects you and replenishes some lost health, you cannot fire through it.
As enemies are destroyed, look out for the hexagonal icons representing missiles, shields etc. Shooting these spinning signs replenishes your supplies, and energy. Tiny green spheres also replenish health to a small degree, or am I flying into incoming enemy bullets there? I ask because the screen can get crowded, and if like me, you are struggling to unite targeting device and Yar, then you could be unwittingly be committing suicide whilst trying to replace health!
It's a tricky juggling act to be sure, and with a sky full of foes it isn't always easy to figure out what's what so be warned. The action comes thick and fast and even on easy you'll be cursing the enemy through gritted teeth.
On the whole Yar is responsive to commands and she's fairly manoeuvrable, with a tap of the left bumper you can slow her down for more precise shooting, but be warned, this can and does leave you open to incoming attacks and if your shield is not ready to go again... I think you get the picture!
The single player campaign is what I've mostly been playing. There is a challenge mode which I have as of yet, not delved into too deeply. Don't want to give too much away here as I don't like giving spoilers but suffice to say you will either find them fun or a right royal pain in the neck. (The coin is in the air in this house over that).
Again this is not a very long review, and I apologise for that. The main game is fairly short to be honest, with just 6 levels of arcade action. True they are fairly lengthy but I get the feeling that a little more could have perhaps been on offer here and a few more power ups and weapons too or am I being greedy? It's OK but more variety would have been welcome.
There is no cooperative play mode on offer here either on line or on the same console, a coop mode would have added some much needed spice I feel and besides that, would have perhaps overcome the trickiness of the single player mode. There is however, a digital comic that's rather nice, and that tells the back story of the game world. This is a nice little added item that fills in some background for Yar's character. There are other things too in the extras section but I don't want to give anything away here either. Go check for yourself.
Yar's revenge does not really have to rely or worry about game physics to be honest. There's no real problems with graphic pop up in the distance or drop for that matter. Loading times between levels is nice and swift and although not animated, the cut scenes do provide a welcome break for the trigger finger. If you die in game and you have marked a checkpoint, then resuming let's you carry on from where you left off. Completing a level means that in campaign mode you can either crack on with the next chapter or if you are a glutton for punishment, or a perfectionist, you can replay the previous chapter.
To some up, Yar's Revenge does evoke memories of days gone by, standing in a noisy arcade somewhere, feeding a hungry cabinet machine, whilst mashing buttons and manipulating joysticks with enough enthusiasm to risk ripping them out of the mounting! This is no bad thing I suppose, at least you don't have to pay a pound every time you want to have another go, but it also disappoints.
Action is a little too repetitive for my liking and the noble art of positioning Yar and the targeting device as I said before gets annoying and a little irksome to say the least. To be fair, it's not an awful game but it's not the best I've ever played either. Now if only somebody would do a 3D rendered version of Phoenix...sorry I digress.
It has a damn it, I'll give it another go aspect, but its frustration levels tend to rise as you play it as well. For me this mars what could have been an absolutely top rated arcade action shooter and does not quite deliver the goods for this reviewer. I feel that this game is going to be the arcade version of Marmite, you'll either love it or hate it. Me I don't hate it as such, but I'm not in love with it either.
If I have nothing better to do, it'll keep me moderately amused for half an hour perhaps but then the urge to play something bigger and better kicks in. It's a shame because I feel this title could have had potential but for me it does not deliver on that score and I feel an opportunity was missed in some way.