G.I. JOE: THE ATLANTIS FACTOR / Capcom / NES
 
 
Taxan pulled out a very decent G.I. Joe game, but unfortunately they went out of business shortly afterward. Apparently Capcom not only managed to get the rights to a sequel, they purchased the existing assets so that they could use the same engine. So ... a post-Street Fighter II Capcom budget with elements of Bionic Commando added to the very solid engine of the original game? WOAH! How could this possibly go wrong?

Welp. They managed it. Instead of simply making small tweaks and improvements to the first game, it looks like some doofus designer at Capcom decided to "re-imagine" everything in their own vision, and they had no idea what they were doing. I'm guessing they also probably decided to allocate less time/manpower to this than their other projects since it came with a prepackaged engine and a G.I. Joe license that was likely to sell well on name alone.
 


The game re-uses or slightly modifies a lot of art assets from the prequel, so it looks extremely similar, and initially even has a similar gameplay feel. You don't get to pick your team anymore, though, at least not initially; you're stuck with General Hawk (sans jetpack) and will have to rustle up all the Joes from the various levels. That's where the Bionic Commando element comes in, as there's a samey-looking world map that allows you to take a few different routes through the game. There's no doubling back to old areas, though; this one is entirely linear.

The levels are also flat and linear now, setting you up against the same incompetent enemy mooks over and over. In the first game, there was impetus to explore to improve the stats of your characters, and some of the levels were more labyrinthine and packed with neat secrets like Cobra vehicles you could commandeer and go on a rampage with. Here, there's no point. The other Joes are usually dropped directly in your path, and upgrades are dropped randomly by enemies.

There's also virtually no point in using any of the other Joes because there's virtually no challenge. There's only three aspects of the game that make it at all difficult:

1) Somebody thoughtlessly put a lot of background art elements in the FOREGROUND layer, so you can't tell what enemies behind them are doing.

2) You have to get adjusted to doing a goofy short hop to pick up stuff the opponents drop or it will go flying wildly over your head never to be seen again. This "bouncy items" style was a thing in the first game too but it's way more obnoxious here.

3) Every boss battle is literally THE SAME SHIT. It's always a hulking dood about 3x your size. For the first half of the game, they don't have guns so they rush you with a melee weapon, and these ones are actually the hardest because they are so fast and aggro and don't stun-lock at all. The only real solution here is to exploit glitching in your own knock-back invincibility to get inside their sprite and turbo-punch them to death. Once they start getting guns, they usually take long pauses to fire so you can jump over them and hit them in the butt a bunch of times reliably. Literally every single boss in the game is the same, though, up until Cobra Commander at the end who just sits up on a pillar like a coward throwing big fireballs at you. And look at that cheesy "explosion" when they die, that shit isn't even worthy of the Atari 2600.

The boss battles are particularly disappointing as that was one of the high points of the original game, it had a variety of different bosses that could sometimes be Ninja Gaiden-esque. If you want to get a quick overview of how poorly designed and sloppy this game is, just look up a 10 min. speedrun on Youtube (one is linked below) where the guy basically just jump-kicks through the entire game and glitches out the early bosses by standing inside their sprites. Only real redeeming factor here is a decent soundtrack; Capcom didn't seem to care to invest the time in any other aspect.
 
 
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