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Super Trench Attack

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By Bobfish03-10-2013
StuntmanLT (editor)
Super Trench Attack

The Defence

Developer:
Retro Army
Publisher:
Retro Army
Genre:
Indie
Release Date:
06-09-2013

The Prosecution

CPU:
Intel Pentium 4 1 GHz
AMD equivalent
VGA:
Nvidia OpenGL card
AMD equivalent
RAM:
512 MB
HDD:
200 MB
DirectX:
OpenGL

The Case

Wait, this looks familiar. Didn't I do this already? You could be forgiven for thinking that, since this is effectively the same game as Medal Wars. So then, why should you give it any consideration at all? Well, lend me your ear (or eye in this case) for a few minutes and let me explain.

The Trial

You're right, it is Medal Wars, more or less. Not just in the sense of being a remake, but the same actual game. However, a great deal of new content and some significant changes set it apart enough that, whilst being the same game, it's also almost completely different. Think of it like a Director's Cut of a particularly large film. Of the Ridley Scott variety perhaps. Since his recruits are always so radically different they make the old new again.

Well hey there sailors.

Well hey there sailors.

Gameplay remains completely unchanged, with WASD movement, isometric viewpoint and the mouse for aiming. Headshots, footshots (still hilarious) and all the rest are equally unaffected. The control scheme itself...is still rather odd, but it works. It does take a little adjustment, but for anyone familiar with the free Steam title Alien Swarm, it's not all that different. Thankfully, the issue with controls being oddly reversed when your reticule is too close to the centre of the screen has been fixed though, so up will always be up.

Beyond that, the world has been greatly expanded. Not in size, as the environments are still exactly the same as they were before, but they are now a lot more lived in. Whilst the number of enemies has (thankfully) been reduced, and their infinite respawn habit has been nerfed quite heavily, there are now a number of allied soldiers scattered around that make everything feel much more authentically world war-y.

There is also a new companion NPC, called Buddie, who you find early on digging in an attic for some, ahem, adult literature. He speaks only in gibberish and has an extremely disturbing gleam in his eyes, hidden behind the gasmask he never removes. But it adds a new dynamic that makes Super Trench a much more enjoyable experience. He even, shockingly, has extremely effective AI to boot. Being a fairly accurate shot, pro-active in his approach to enemies and aware enough of his own mortality not to walk headfirst into a grenade to the face.

Go forth my minions!

Go forth my minions!

With a levelling system for both you and Buddie, which grants a myriad of things ranging from more health, to health regeneration to fire bullets and gas filed shotgun shells...yeah, calling the game batshit insane is an understatement. Coupled with the greatly reduced enemy count and spawn rate, these extra tweaks also make it far more forgiving than its predecessor.

Music, sound and so on are completely unchanged from the original game. But they had no need for changes. The music is solid, fitting, and most importantly, in the background. Which is a good thing not because it's bad music, but because it never dominates the scene. It's designed to be background noise, and it stays there. Doing its job rather than trying to grab your attention. Whilst incidental sound effects, such as weapon fire do precisely what they set out to do.

The plot, on the other hand, has seen some notable enhancements. The basic story remains entirely unchanged. The Black Army has invaded, and you're playing Audi Murphy to go fight them off singlehanded. Meanwhile, a scientist has defected to their side and is helping them build weapons of mass plot convenience. But the nitty gritty particulars of how it's all implemented have been expanded and reworked. This adds a refreshing amount of depth, which was not exactly lacking to begin with.

Like a boss!

Like a boss!

Everything is still very firmly written with tongue planted very firmly in cheek. But there's an extra layer of care woven in underneath, just to remind people that parody is no excuse for being insensitive. Though the game itself is a fictional story, its origins as a commentary on the First World War are neither forgotten nor trivialised.

The Verdict

All in all, there's a lot to like. All of the complaints from Medal Wars have been addressed, leaving behind a game that is a lot more fun. The challenge is still there, but it's now the good, rewarding kind of challenge instead of rage inducing. Though it remains something of a niche experience, those within the niche will have many hours of enjoyment ahead of them. There's even multiplayer now, though I can't help but feel that was added mostly because, well, everything has multiplayer.

Case Review

  • Art Style: Retro through and through, with a lot of visual gags.
  • Difficulty: A very well crafted balance between challenging and forgiving.
  • Humour: British. Oh so very dry and British.
  • Multiplayer: It would be unfair to call it tacked on, but the game does not truly benefit from its inclusion.
  • Length: Well, there has to be one negative, but for such a cheap game this is a very minor one.
4
Score: 4/5
Footshoots, headshots and dirty mags - everything a growing boy needs.
Comments (2)
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Posts: 2748

It won't be much longer I expect. It has come a really long way since we first stumbled across it

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Posts: 1502

When it comes on Steam I'm getting it.