Assault Suit Leynos 2


Review by Rob "Dire 51"



Graphics: 8

Sound: 7

Gameplay: 7

Overall: 8


I recall first playing the original Assault Suit Leynos (under the U.S. name Target Earth) back in 1990. It was one of the first Genesis games in my area to retail at $19.99, and for that price I couldn't pass up grabbing a copy. It turned out to be one of the toughest Genesis games I've ever played. Even the guys that ran EGM at the time rated it as being impossible to finish, but I've seen two people finish it without resorting to the invincibility code. I've only made it halfway through the game without the code, but despite its difficulty, I still like it quite a bit. NCS produced a sequel of sorts for the Super Famicom called Assault Suits Valken (released by Konami as Cybernator here in the U.S.), which cuts back on the difficulty but improves on the graphics. Out of the two, Valken is the one I like more. When I saw that NCS was releasing Assault Suit Leynos 2 for the Japanese Saturn, I knew I would have to pick it up, seeing as how I liked the first two games so much.

On the surface, Assault Suit Leynos 2 (hereby after referred to as ASL2) resembles Assault Suit Valken more than the original Leynos. That, however, is where the similarities end. ASL2 takes the amount of difficulty that ASL had, and jacks it up by at least a factor of ten. I'm serious. If you thought ASL was tough, you'll be absolutely crushed by ASL2. In all the time I've owned the game, I've barely made a dent in it. I've tried using all of the strategies I learned playing the original, and they only work half of the time. More often than not, the first boss wipes me out.

The basics of ASL and ASV remain intact in ASL2. You pilot a mech equipped with various weapons and a jetpack, and the screen usually scrolls from left to right. Wave after wave of enemy mechs attack you and your fellow Assault Suit pilots - that's right, just like in the earlier games you have backup. Ineffective backup sometimes, to be sure, but still backup. Your energy meter can go down pretty quickly - luckily your Assault Suit is equipped with a shield that will deflect most enemy attacks, similar to the one in ASV. Unlike that one, however, this shield has a life span - and once it's gone, it's gone. You do get another one at the beginning of each level, though. Your Assault Suit can fire in any direction, which can be kind of annoying when you're trying to target a specific enemy - however, there's also an auto-aiming mode which makes targeting a lot easier.

As you proceed through the game, you acquire more weapons and new mechs to pilot, which is a first for an Assault Suits game. You'll need them too, as the game just continues to get tougher (how that's possible is beyond me, but it is). The control is pretty good - there are several different configurations you can choose from, which is helpful. Graphically, the game looks like an incredibly souped-up version of ASV. A nice effect is when the screen scales in and out, similar to the Neo Geo game Samurai Shodown. This really lets you take a look at the surrounding area and helps you plot your next move against what's coming up. One thing that falls short when compared to the earlier games in the series is the character artwork. The Assault Suits look fine, but the pilots - blah. The art style used for them isn't manga like earlier games - NCS opted to use an American comic book artist style. While this isn't a completely terrible thing, it just looks completely out of place in ASL2.

The music and sound effects are quite nice as well. The music does sound like the earlier Assault Suit games, and can be played back in a CD player, thanks to NCS recording it in redbook audio format. There's plenty of loud, meaty explosions as well, along with constant machine gun chatter. One thing that was a disappointment was the opening FMV. I found it hard to believe that a Japanese software house made an FMV opening this bad, but there it was. It just looks extremely cheesy, especially when compared to some of the other games that were released at the same time for the Saturn.

Don't get me wrong, though - despite the criticism I've ladled out about the game, ASL2 is quite good. It's definitely challenging, and I commend anyone that can finish the game. Fans of the first two games would probably be the ones most interested in checking it out, as well as gamers that enjoy a good challenge and want another great 2-D game for their Saturn. One other thing of note - NCS did release Assault Suits Valken 2 for the PlayStation, but apparently they turned it into a 3-D strategy game a la Front Mission. What a shame.


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:15 PM