I'd definitely advise giving the game a go for free before dropping £2.99 on this.
peej about Painkiller: Purgatory
You should never ask a Lady her age, or for that matter a games reviewer, but what I will admit to is this: Yars' Revenge was my all time favourite Atari VCS game. I loved it like my first born child. I can even remember lying on my bedroom floor copying the drawings from the included comic, and making my own stories to go along with them.
So, fast forward a few (cough) years, and here we have the all-new, super-duper HDLOL version. But how will it stand up to classic original as viewed through my rose tinted glasses?
First things first, Yars' Revenge includes the original comic for you to read as an extra, and while the pages are a bit small to read comfortably, it's all present and correct. Kudos points ding.
Things kick off in the single player game with your main character, a female Yar, brainwashed into working for your dreaded enemy, the Qotile Empire. This is all elaborated upon in Anime-style static cut-scenes, which are nicely presented but limited due to their lack of a voice over. And while it's pretty easy to put up with the lack of a voice-over while watching static cut-scenes, when you're being fired upon from all angles in the main game itself, trying to read a tiny bit of text in one corner of the screen is not high on your list of priorities. It really is too frantic to follow, which is a shame because I quite enjoyed the backstory.
In terms of describing the gameplay itself, imagine if Space Harrier had a baby with Rez, and it popped out looking a bit like Super Metroid. This is a properly hard-core shooter like Mummy used to make. Use the left stick to move your nameless Yar around the screen avoiding scenery and the absolute shit-ton of bullets that are constantly fired at you, and the right stick to control your aiming reticule. With this you can target-lock up to five enemies at a time with the left trigger, then unleash a salvo of missiles, or, you can use the right trigger to unleash your faster stream of default fire. The right bumper is used for the powerful rail gun, which is especially useful for despatching the tank-like bugs. Pickups are also occasionally dropped as you mow your way through the Qotile army - one doubles your fire-rate, and in a rather nice touch another gives you a health replenishing shield that looks a lot like the safe zone strip that ran down the middle of the screen in the original Yar's Revenge.
There are six on-rails levels for you to murder your way through, and I must say they all look rather beautiful, with the camera taking you through them in a breath-taking fashion. The cannon fodder is really well modelled too, though I'd have liked a bit more variety in the enemy types to be honest. They stay pretty much the same throughout all of the levels. You also have the mandatory boss battle at the end of each level, and believe me when I say, these can be uber tough.
The six levels can be blasted through in a couple of hours, this being an arcade shooter and all, but the potential for multiple replays for higher scores using the neat multiplier system is there, and if that gets its hooks into you, you'll be there a long time. There are also six challenge modes which task you with playing the game as normal but with various handicaps including half of your standard life bar but infinite ammo, while another tasks you with completing the game with no shields. Good luck with that one nut job, but adding in another player to help out in the decent co-op mode may help considerably
I can see people criticising Yars' revenge for brevity, but in my view this is a perfect demonstration of the quintessential Xbox Live Arcade experience. It'd be a true money gobbler in a real life arcade, and at 800 points it's a fair price for a very good shooter.
It's a shame that the developer didn't also include the original title as an unlockable bonus extra.