Heavy Weapon

Xbox 360

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 9


Beginning life as a Flash game, PopCap’s addictive formula arrives in shooter form as Heavy Weapon. Harkening back to the classic one man vs. everyone genre, Heavy Weapon is one shot shy of being considered brilliant. It’s a wonderful homage, original, and impossible to stop playing.

heavyweapon1360.jpg (16716 bytes)Controlling a souped up, world saving tank, players roll automatically to the right as various planes and helicopters look to end your heroics. They’ll attack relentlessly with a wide variety of weaponry, doing all they can to overwhelm a player who thinks blinking is a smart move. Levels continually bring with them new threats to keep things fresh.

Likewise, the player’s tank can fire back with an equal level of explosive shots. As missions are completed and classic boss patterns are countered, you’ll earn points. Each one can be used to purchase higher level offensive powers. How you choose to power up is critical to your progress, and this fun addition is the hook that keeps you coming back.

To add an additional layer of strategy, those points can be swapped out should you find a weapon not to your tastes. Also, if you are defeated while in a stage, you can always make adjustments before heading back in thanks to the game’s forgiving continue system. A friendly helicopter will pop in from time to time to replenish shields or offer a speed boost.

Controls are spot on and simple. While the glut of right analog stick shooters on the Live Arcade has created their own sub-genre, Heavy Weapon receives a pass for how satisfying they are. Enemies explode with alarming frequency, giving the player a false sense of being more powerful than they are. Right at the moment you feel safe and sure of your weapon selection, a new foe pops in to let you know how vulnerable you can be.

Nine levels make up the campaign initially, until a rather weak plot twists bumps that up to eighteen. If these were new adventures, the extended length would be welcome. Sadly, more than likely due to the title’s flash roots, this simply starts the game over from level one with a tougher set of enemies. Heavy Weapon already suffers from a typical repetition issue for a shooter. This only extends that problem, along with only one music track.

If that’s not enough, it should be known that this is a tremendous value. The original on the PC retailed for $20. This Xbox Live Arcade port is half that price and includes four player co-op play in two modes online that are brand new. For those without Xbox Live Gold, you can still play a co-op game with one friend locally and push through the story.

However, if you’re not playing online, you’re missing one of the best things to happen to Xbox Live since Gears of War. War Zone gives all players unlimited lives as long as one of them stays alive. To be in the position of the sole player waiting a few hectic seconds for a friend to respawn with the entire game on your shoulders is as intense as it can be.

Heavy Weapon flings itself into the position as one of the top Live Arcade releases to date. While it may not have the longevity of something like Zuma or Hexic, you’ll still come back to Heavy Weapon from time to time when you have that urge to jump in and blow things up. PopCap’s latest has that in spades.


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Last updated: Thursday, February 15, 2007 09:18 PM