First off, an admission: I never realized that the first part of the title was word play. Rush’N = Russian. I get it now!
This upcoming XBLA and PSN release is a remake of a 1980’s arcade game where you’d…well, rush and attack, armed only with a knife. I met with Konami to play the latest build of the Vatra-developed game, where I knifed throats and crawled in air ducts, thinking all the while about how stupid I am to have never realized that the game’s title was wordplay.
Rush’N Attack: Ex-Patriot was built with the Unreal Engine, and is a 2.5D game set in Russian in the Cold War era. In it you play as an American that was part of an elite military group. But not elite enough. He was out to rescue a prisoner but was caught and thrown in jail. You break out of jail armed only with a knife and some serious neck slitting skill.
When I met with Konami, they told me to Google “systema.” It turns out that systema is a Russian martial art that can utilize weapons like knives. The guys at Vatra worked to incorporate actual systema moves into the animations and attacks, and they look pretty cool.
Everything looks really nice, come to think of it. The dark look reminds me of Shadow Complex a bit, and I consider that a compliment. That makes sense, as both were built with the Unreal Engine. The visuals play with light and shadow as you creep into a dark doorway or behind a wall to let guards pass by. You’ll then pop out into the light to kill them from behind. Some areas like ducts and shafts are so dark that you’ll have to use night vision goggles to see.
What you’re doing is a lot like platforming, with some puzzle-ish encounters mixed in with combat. It’s up to you on how you attack — fast and direct, or quiet and stealthy. Both attack types switch things up on you contextually, so you only need to worry about getting and and attacking in time. You do get points for style, though. Sneaking up on a guard, hiding, and then popping out from behind nets you 800 points a kill, but running up and stabbing only gets you 100 points. But, to keep things fair for both types of players, know that you can get your stabby on with multiple enemies, chaining attacks to get a high score in another way.
In fighting you’ll mostly use your trusty knife, but you can find temporary use weapons like machine guns and grenades. Note that once you get hooked on the knife play, you’ll kind of frown on using guns to make your way through. There’s something that’s just really cool about hiding in a dark doorway as an enemy passes, and then killing him. Things become even more fun when you unlock button-based combos, which make your knife work look even fancier.
There’s three levels, but I won’t use the word “only,” as Konami says that they’re each huge, with a lot of layout to explore. I’m told that there will be six or more hours of play from these three levels. We’re looking forward to seeing more of Rush’N Attack: Ex-Patriot before its Fall release.