SUPER ARMY WAR / Atlus / Gameboy Advance

Atlus is known for releasing oddball GBA games, but these usually consist of oddball Japanese RPGs that are at least debatably good, and not oddball indie games made in the West. Yet, here they are with Super Army War, basically a Choplifter clone by some random guy.

The concept is actually pretty good - picture Choplifter, except you have a range of different vehicles you use over the course of multiple levels. You are on a horizontal playfield where the enemy has a main base on the far left, your main base is on the far right, and both continually pump out both tanks and ground troops that run toward the enemy side. Along the way, there are bunkers that pump out additional troops and tanks when captured. Your doods are usually outnumbered, so you have to even the odds by flying ahead and bombing and machine-gunning the hapless enemy ranks.

It would be a pretty fun little game if the control and layout weren't so godawful. It is extremely hard to make the chopper get a good angle on the ground troops you are targeting, meaning multiple clumsy passes in the hopes of maybe hitting a few. The game gets even worse when you take control of a plane, which has to do the same thing while dealing with the harassment of multiple (and more manueverable) enemy choppers.

In the end it ends up just being too hard and clunky to be enjoyable. The graphics, music and overall polish of the game also don't seem to be much above the usual freeware level; it looks almost like Atlus just ported this onto a cart direct from somebody's Digipen project or something.

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Gameplay Video