Assault Suit Leynos (PC) Review

By Gabriel Jones 06.10.2016

Review for Assault Suit Leynos on PC

In the year 1990, Assault Suit Leynos was released. Considered a cult classic on the Mega Drive, this game was infamous for its brutally high level of difficulty. Most gamers never got through the first mission, let alone the seven that followed. The few that persevered were treated to a well done shoot 'em up, with a storyline that evoked popular Mecha space operas. Through the efforts of Dracue Software and the original developer Masaya, a remake has materialised. Now, a new generation of gamers can join the Earth Defence League and fend off a Cyborg invasion. Will they fare any better?

In this game, players take control of the eponymous Assault Suit. This highly-advanced and versatile mobile weapon has everything, including jump jets, customisable loadouts, and even regenerating armour. Still, it's just one suit, and the odds are heavily stacked in the enemy's favour. Not only will players face the cyborg armada, they'll also have other objectives, such as protecting bases or escorting civilians. When a mission is successfully completed, the score can award new equipment. Unlike a number of action games, the points are essential, because better guns can make all the difference in the late missions.

Screenshot for Assault Suit Leynos on PC

The most notable aspect of the Assault Suit is that it's slightly more difficult to control than a human being. This is something that a lot of mech-based games tend to ignore. The Assault Suit is not Bill Rizer or Lance Bean. Players aren't going to run and gun through this game like it was Contra. Piloting a 12-foot tall mech takes a little more nuance. Each step has weight to it, which makes walking pretty slow. Jumping is possible, but players have to consider their surroundings, or else they're going to get caught in mid-air by a flurry of bullets. Becoming an ace pilot requires a methodical approach. Each movement is significant in its own way, but the cyborgs won't provide any quarter. The earliest portions of this game are especially difficult, because enemy Assault Suits will attempt to overrun the player.

The mechanics of Assault Suit Leynos have influenced a number of newer games, such as Gigantic Army and Gunhound EX (also developed by Dracue). There's something to be said about just how remarkable the controls are. It's a feeling that even its contemporaries haven't quite mastered. While the handling does take a while to get used to, eventually it becomes as natural as breathing. Avoiding clusters of bullets is really satisfying, since it requires the Assault Suit's semi-limited movement, and a touch of foresight. It's also nice the controls haven't strayed too far from the Mega Drive original.

Screenshot for Assault Suit Leynos on PC

On the whole, the Arcade mode is far more forgiving than its 16-bit predecessor. The enemy mechs aren't quite as aggressive, there are more checkpoints, and progress is never lost, thanks to frequent checkpoints and unlimited continues. The remake introduces a few new adversaries, as well as some unique mission conditions, which helps to further set it apart from the original. There are difficulty settings, as well, with the hardest one applying limits to just how much armour can be recharged.

For an experience that adheres closer to the original, there's the classic mode. The few new boss fights and expanded mission objectives are excised in favour of tougher regular enemies, more bullets, and a generous helping of pain. It's still not quite as hard as it could be, but ace pilots can always attempt their own "No Continues" playthrough if they really want to. Despite their differences in direction, both versions of this game operate in much the same manner. Weapons unlocked in a completed playthrough don't carry over into the next. It's a fresh start every time. Armour can't recharge if the Assault Suit is taking damage. Discovering all of the ways to receive bonus points during missions will take multiple tries.

Screenshot for Assault Suit Leynos on PC

The level design is, for the most part, rather plain. Portions of some missions take place in underground bunkers. Picture hallways filled with nothing but turrets. They're not terribly exciting, but the rest of the game usually makes up for them. Some of the loadout weapons border on useless. This can be a little annoying, because players don't have an opportunity to change weapons after continuing from Arcade mode or a checkpoint. The updated soundtrack is nice, but the graphics aren't impressive. In the worst instances, they make the game look a little dated. Despite these issues, the game design and mechanics hold up very well.

There are numerous extras to help round out the replay value. This is welcome considering that winning the war probably won't take more than two hours. There are several achievements tied to difficult objectives, dozens of unlockables that add slight changes, as well as new features. There are also the challenges players might impose upon themselves, like completing missions without getting hit, or going without the most powerful weapons.

Screenshot for Assault Suit Leynos on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

The oft-overused phrase "It's not for everyone" can be applied to Assault Suit Leynos. While this game has been made more accessible, it hasn't been given a massive re-envisioning. Aside from some relatively minor tweaks and additions, this is still the same game as it was back in 1990. Some people might be put off by its "bland" mission structure, the lack of a complex scoring system, and controls that simply aren't designed for "Kickin' Rad!" combos. It's an ugly game in more ways than one, but its unique and well-constructed qualities have helped it endure all these years.

Developer

Dracue

Publisher

Rising Star Games

Genre

Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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