STEEL STORM / Creative Artel / PC
 
 
Steel Storm seems to be trying to evoke the '90s at every turn. Everything from DOS directory listings being displayed as things load, to questioning your manhood when you go to quit the game.

The game initially appears to be a top-down shooter, but you control a rather slow hovertank, and you move methodically (and often non-linearly) through enemy bases in a style more comparable to '90s FPS games like DOOM. Lots of strafing and using cover required to deal with hordes of enemies, many of whom spawn in from out of nowhere when you pick up a power-up in the classic Romero School of Level Design style. Also somehow you end up finding keycards to unlock doors, even though you are in a tank the entire time.

The opening episode 1 missions in single player are a little slow, samey and easy, but hang in there for a few missions and you're rewarded with more open-ended and challenging levels, as well as some boss secondary weapons. Seriously, the Beam Cannon is so satisfying.

The game is just solid in all phases, a simple but smooth and enjoyable shooter harkening back to the old-school PC style. If it were just the single-player experience it might be a little lacking, but there's also a pretty good online component (and Steam support) for up to 16 people to deathmatch or play the game's levels cooperatively. I've also seen screenshots indicating you can switch from the top-down view to a behind-the-back view for even more old-school FPS-style action, but it doesn't seem to work for me in single-player at least (the "toggle camera" button does nothing.)

For a few bucks this is a pleasant trip back to the day for PC action gaming vets. And the kids might even like it too, who knows. Also works excellently with a Xbox 360 controller.
 
 
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