As Someone Once Said (Probably), PC I games are a bit like women. Leaving aside ' the obvious comparison that like games, all most blokes want to do is get the fairer sex home and into their bedroom and spend hours trying to work them out as plain sexism, maybe the statement should be explained further. What I mean to say is that they fall (very) broadly into two categories: the first type are the ones who take a long time to get to know. The ones who you have to spend a lot of time with and who eventually, when you've taken the time, turn out to either have been worth the effort or such a phenomenal waste of time you feel like slapping yourself every time they come to mind. The female equivalent to your average propeller head flight sim perhaps, or maybe something like X-COM or Heroes Of Might Et Magic.
The second kind let you know a great deal about themselves very quickly. You've got a pretty good idea of what you've let yourself in for after the first couple of drinks or date, which can be good in itself and at the end of the day saves a lot of frustration. These are the PC equivalent of Quake, Cormageddon and Command Et Conquer. And Extreme Assault, a horny-looking wench if ever there was one, that not only lays her cards squarely on the table, but you as well! In the first five minutes. And keeps you hanging around for more. The PC equivalent of the women who, let's face it, you only ever meet on holiday in Greece or Ibiza. Bless 'em.
Sexy Mo Fo
Take a look at the screenshots. Do they look the business, or what? Do they have you simultaneously clapping with boundless joy at such flawless beauty while crying into your beer at the thought of another bloody upgrade to get the thing running smoothly?
Weep not! This game runs at 640x480 resolution, in high colour and smoother than a Teflon-coated baby's bum on a PT33. Sans MMX, 3Dfx, PowerVR or anything else released by the vowel-hating hardware gurus of this world. Of course, there will be enhanced versions available to take advantage of the hardware if you've got it, but take my word for it, you won't have to rely on 3D accelerator cards to get slicklooking visuals and a decent frame rate on your Pentium.
Multiple key controls? Hah! Keep 'em. Manuals so thick you could cull seals with them? There's just no reason to worry with such tosh. This is in yer face, high speed, kick buttock action from the word go. Just load her up, get your briefing and start blasting. Short on ammo? Blast the crap out of some sap and see what they drop. Need new weapons? Look around, you'll find missiles, razor guns, lasers, lightning bolts, thunderbolts and smart bombs just lying around waiting to be picked up and used as instruments of destruction. In an effort to keep things as simple as possible, the developers have kept the cockpit layout as user-friendly as possible so you can concentrate on killing rather than staring goggle-eyed at your instruments. You've got weapons and ammo to the left and right, shields above, radar bottom right and target in front. Find a victim, lock on and make your very own victim pate.
Extreme Assault is amazingly quick and easy to get into, and this is why it's such fun. I've spent a good few hours just learning to keep Comanches and Hinds in the air when all I've wanted to do is shoot something. This game lets me get straight in there and get on with playing it.
In this respect, Extreme Assault is a game with no pretensions. It does what it says on the box - good, fast, playable action that you can pick up and play any old time. Forget thinking too hard, just kill, kill and then kill some more, oh and occasionally rescue people, but mostly kill.
That's not to say that the game itself is simple. The levels are quite varied and as well put together as they are slobberingly good-looking. Similarly, there are plenty of them, with loads of little nooks and crannies to delve into and explore. This game oozes playability from every pore and drips fun in little puddles onto the carpet, er... maybe I'd better stop there.
Of course, there is the option to go head-to-head in one of four arenas in either the tank or the chopper. This can be played as a full-on Deathmatch style shoot-a-thon or you can take your time, look around, be a bit strategic and set about hunting down your prey before you let 'em feel the full power of your armoury. Just like the single-player game, you can apply as much tactical thought as you like; the important thing is, you can steam on in there, guns blazing, or come in through the back door, and both are ultimately satisfying.
And now for the bad news
Is there bad news? Well, yes, a bit. Little things. For starters there's no on-line facility, so it's network or nothing. Don't have a network at home in your bedroom? Me neither. When I wanted to show off my combat skills I had to persuade everyone in the office to down tools and join me (which admittedly, wasn't exactly a hard task). Second, every network player must have a copy of the game as there's no second disk to allow multi-player gaming with a chum a la X-Wing Vs TIE Fighter. And let's face it, four players is a bit minimalist by today's standards. Also, to be a true giant, a game needs to either create a new type of playing experience or at least put an original spin on an established genre. Extreme Assault doesn't do this. It takes a well-worn genre and does it extremely well, which is impressive enough, almost, but it isn't exactly bursting with originality.
With this in mind, Extreme Assault's a good game and, without a doubt, it's a worthy addition to any arcade action lover's collection. Do I recommend it? Heartily old chum. It's not a classic, but it's bloody good fun to play and is ideal for a quick hit, though the overall nature of the game means that your interest will no doubt wane after a few weeks of constant blasting and strafing about. At the end of the day, it's that girl you will get to know well enough to know you don't want to marry her, but you had a damn good time finding this out.
This game got me thinking. As I've mentioned already, the graphical detail in the game is phenomenal and doesn't require any 3D accelerator. This, of course, begs the question - if BlueByte can do it, then what the smeg is stopping other software houses? I don't mean everyone, just the ones who think that it is somehow our responsibility to buy the gear to make their games run. I know the relentless march of technology and the quest for the more realistic game experience means that you have to expect to upgrade your kit, but there are some firms that don't bother even trying to get the most out of existing technology, preferring to use new kit as a crutch for flabby routines. Food for thought or just sad repetition of a tired point? Okay, I'll shut up then.
Download Extreme Assault
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Extreme Assault's whirling toward the PC with a healthy dose of arcade-style chopper action. This 3D shooter challenges you to fend off the advancing aliens that want to transform Earth's atmosphere into something that they can breathe--and we can t. Not for the flight-sim crowd, the combat-heavy missions task you with releasing imprisoned scientists and trashing atmospheric converters from the controls of a futuristic chopper and (occasionally) a tank. With MMX-tuned graphics, Extreme's headed for an impressive visual showing.
If PC flight sims put you to sleep, Blue Byte has the answer to your air combat prayers with this raucous, arcade-style he-licopter/tank shooter. Alongside tremendous graphics and awesome sounds, Extreme Assault packs in great variety in its maps, weapons, missions, and enemies, making for an adrenaline-filled fight that doesn't require a pilot's license.
An Up And Down Game
Alien forces have taken up residence on Earth, bombarding its inhabitants with advanced weaponry. All hope seems lost until you unveil the next generation of defense vehicles: the Sioux AH-23 attack helicopter and the T1 tank. With the fate of the world in your hands, you have only one strategy: Extreme Assault.
But unlike most PC combat games, Extreme Assault tilts toward the console tradition, focusing more on hot-n-heavy action than the mechanics of handling your craft. With the right equipment (add a joystick to the minimum specs we listed), you can pump power into the helicopter's throttle and skim the treetops, easily turning a full circle to rout enemy ships with state-of-the-art weaponry. Controlling the tank, you can pound out and stomp down enemies with an unrelenting barrage of attacks.
Either way, your motive is the same in air or on land: Kill 'em all. Throughout the game, power-ups secreted in hidden areas help you achieve that goal. Of particular note, the well-done cockpit displays come in handy when you're attempting to take out a certain opponent or trying to recover your attack position.
Extreme Sensory Assault
The stellar graphics capture an impressive realtime 3D world, and the special effects, such as explosions and holograms, are without fault. Tremendous perspectives when diving, banking, or climbing add more thrills during combat. The sounc matches the graphics, intensifying the heart-pounding experience of all-out warfare with clear special effects, exceptional audio tracks, and your choice of MIDI or CD audio music.
While it may be a little short on plot, Extreme Assault has something for every gamer, whether it's graphics, gameplay, features, or even -sound. Blue Byte tried to appeal to everybody with this title. They did a hell of a job.
- In the chopper, the best strategy to use to take out opponents without taking too much damage is to come in low and hit 'em hard.
- If you're close to enemies, lay off the missiles and use your razor guns to bring them to their knees.
- Search each room thoroughly. More supplies and power-ups are just waiting to be found.
- In the tank, you can't out-maneu-ver opponents like you can in the chopper. Use guided missiles to ferret out faster enemies or to break down larger, impos-
- Always shoot the enemy heading your way. Afterwards, hit the brakes to let adjacent enemies cruise by, then slam a few rounds in them.
Every once in a while game reviewers encounter games they love so much that they just cannot stop playing them, no matter what their other responsibilities are. For me, Extreme Assault is such a game, with video, audio, and design features that seem absolutely ideal. While Blue Byte -- the German company responsible for developing this game -- is known for quality software (I gave its Archimedean Dynasty high marks earlier this year), this game takes the company to a new level. The action shooter genre is my favorite, and I have played a ton of games in this category, but when I opened the box and installed this game I was quite simply blown away.
The basic storyline in Extreme Assault is pretty standard: you are responsible for freeing the world from an alien race that has secretly set up operations on our planet and has sinister plans for all of us humans. To accomplish this objective, you control a high-tech combat helicopter and a futuristic tank at different points in the game, both of which have capabilities well beyond any weapons system that exists today. You attempt along the way to rescue kidnapped scientists and to destroy huge atmosphere transformation facilities, while facing a constant barrage from a quite varied assortment of extraterrestrial ground and air units.
It is important to note from the outset that Extreme Assault does not purport in any way to be a realistic combat simulation. Most helicopter and tank games on the market today pride themselves on how the cockpit controls, handling characteristics, outside appearance, and battle limitations of the depicted vehicles exactly replicate actual military units. The aficionados of these games, some of whom I call "simulation snobs," thumb their noses at action shooters because they do not offer comparable realism and instead provide what they call mindless violence. Well, to these condescending players (and to game reviewers who share their attitude) I say wake up! There are many of us who do not enjoy navigating through really complicated controls in order to accomplish mission objectives, who do not care whether the vehicle we command has any relationship to anything that actually exists, and who do not want to be bothered by such practical concerns as a machine overheating or running out of fuel. As to the accusation that action shooters are simply brainless "eye-candy," there are a huge number and variety of tactical decisions that have to be made in Extreme Assault, ranging all the way from (1) deciding where to go to get the best angle for shooting at enemies while at the same time avoiding their counterattacks to (2) choosing which weapon to use in particular situations given limited supply to (3) determining in what sequence to undertake a series of interrelated mission objectives.
The gameplay in Extreme Assault is incredibly intense and exciting. To complete the game you must successfully complete over 50 missions in six enormous operation zones containing extremely diverse terrain, including bucolic village settings, underground caves, man-made tunnels, narrow canyons, deep volcanoes, tropical jungles, deep ocean, and frozen tundra.
There are two innovative features I really like in playing this game. First, the mission briefings utilize the actual battlefield in "real time 3D" to illustrate your objectives, so instead of trying to decipher a long (and often boring) text description and to figure out what it means by a particular type of target, you actually can visually identify some of the targets and the topography involved in every mission before you start. This feature not only helps you clarify your tactics but also allows the game designers to give you subtle visual hints about how to complete missions successfully. Second, after each mission is completed you are not forced immediately to move on to the next one, but instead can continue exploring the battle area for weapons pickups, additional targets, or even just practice in moving your vehicle around. This ability is so nice because prior to mission completion you really have to focus just on your survival and the enemy's destruction.
The game controls are excellent, more intuitive and easier to master than in many comparable games. There is really extensive and highly customizable support for both keyboard and joystick (including the new force feedback variety); strangely missing, however, is any special game pad support, which fortunately with my Microsoft Sidewinder Game Pad is easily remedied by creating an automatically-loading "game profile" for Extreme Assault.
A wide variety of play options is available. The many choices include that you can play the game yourself or with a total of up to 4 players over a network (even with the fast-paced action, this works quite well); you can play at four different levels of difficulty (although only in the highest two do you have full access to all the operation areas); you can determine how you get the mission briefing (through text or voice); and you can decide whether you want a view from the cockpit or from outside your vehicle (whether it be helicopter or tank). As the game progresses you have a choice of three regular weapons -- a razor gun, a laser cannon, or a "fire flash" -- as well as three special munitions -- guided missiles, smart bombs, and thunderbolts (some of these are only available as pickups during the game).
You do not need to worry about saving the game after successfully completing missions, as that is automatically done for you, and you can start up again later right from the point where you stopped. One nice feature here is that the game menu facilitates the loading of any completed mission, a feature which is really helpful if you want to repeat one you particularly enjoyed. Some might complain that you cannot save games within missions, but to me it seems that they are short enough to make this largely unnecessary; since you can replay a mission an infinite number of times, you can plot your moves in advance as you progress through it.
The graphics are far and away the best I have ever seen in an action shooter. The 16-bit color is used to the fullest, and the artistic ability of the game's graphic designers is truly awe-inspiring. This is an area full of innovation, as in the choice of detail and visual effects one constantly encounters pleasant and stunning surprises. The game claims to have such an advanced 3D engine that it does not need any help from video accelerator cards, and I would have to agree the tight code that must have been used has left all competitors in the dust (of course, when creating an action game for the DOS environment there are still a few speed advantages over the Windows 95 environment, even with DirectX). However, the game does provide support for MMX technology and 3Dfx cards, and when the latter is used the graphic experience can only be described as truly heavenly. With the sole exception of Ubi Soft's POD, I have not seen a 3Dfx implementation of a game remotely compare to Extreme Assault in showing the full potential of the latest graphic advances. The feeling of sensual pleasure when playing a game with this level of visual quality is hard to describe.
The music and sound effects of this game, while not breaking existing standards the way the video does, are nonetheless uniformly excellent. Rather than hearing the usual "thump-thump-thump" tunes that support exciting gameplay but have little intrinsic musical value, one is treated to a beautiful and subtle orchestral score that blends right into the taut pace of the game without being at all intrusive. The title music is so gorgeous that I want to stop at the main menu just to listen to it, and that is highly unusual for me. The sound effects are realistic and varied, but never overwhelming. I am frankly tired of playing shooters where there is so much blasting noise going on that you can not even hear yourself think. The mission briefings are delivered in a clear authoritative voice, albeit with language a bit stronger than I feel is needed in this kind of game.
Unlike its previous action/strategy release Archimedean Dynasty, which had a full-size and full-length manual, Blue Byte has joined the pack in Extreme Assault and provided simply the slim jewel-case manual so common in today's games. However, the manual is better written, more lavishly illustrated with color photographs, and more comprehensive than most.
Required: 90 megahertz Pentium CPU, 16 MB RAM, 40 MB hard disk space, 2X CD-ROM drive, VESA-compatible graphics card, MS-DOS 5.0 or Windows 95 operating system
Extreme Assault is without question the best action shooter game (not to be confused with first-person 3D shooters or strategic war games, which are really quite different) I have ever played. While its basic structure and goals do not in any way represent a major revolutionary leap forward -- indeed, this type of game has been around in one form or another since the very beginning of computer games -- its implementation is so stunningly superior to anything else out there that it clearly merits a high rating. My one warning is that if you buy it you may suffer discontent playing any similar game around today, and you may be hooked for a whole lot longer than you think.