Rush’N Attack is a 2D side scrolling classic for the original Nintendo. Its bare bones compared to its contemporaries and I relegate it more of a kin to the Kung Fu game with platforms than I do to a run and gun. You begin the game by parachuting down into hostile territory with only a knife, because you must like challenge. The entirety of the game is moving right like the original Super Mario Bros without the exploration or discovery.
The game is simple, you rush and attack. In fact you can jump over enemies because stabbing them only takes time. If you do that then there’s a risk of dying, because like a lot of games of this era one hit is death. You can always jump stab enemies to keep your pace.
Unlike most games of the era, the up is jump while the B is for stabbing and A is to shoot any gun you may have. With the up as the jump, that’s what makes the game challenging. There are a lot of accidental leaps. It would be even tougher on modern directional pads than the stiff NES cross pad.
Each level has several platforms so you can take a few meager routes if you climb a ladder, but again it only takes time. There no time limit, but after playing this brief game so many times, I have gotten efficient at it. Soldiers keep spawning, so you need to keep up your pace and push ahead.
The graphics are nice and clean. Everything looks like what it should. Tanks sit in the background, you stand out, the enemies stand out. Bridges look like bridges and shipping containers are an easy way to make a level feel different. There are missile carriers and the game definitely has a cool factor going for it in the first level.
You’ll fight a few types of foes. Standard soldiers that just run at you rather than firing the gun they have slung on your back. They must want you alive or something. Karate soldiers will jump kick you for the same reason. You can run right underneath their kicks. There are land mines to jump over. The game does have a few pistol packing men that use them, assuming you let them live long enough to do so.
Even soldiers lying down, I’d say to get a better position, but no they’re trying to play dead at the fierce madman running toward them with a knife murdering their comrades. Someone needs to shoot this guy! Even if you need him alive, there were tranquilizer darts in the 80s, that stuff works! The soldiers that start in the prawn position give you weapons to use, but only when you stab them.
There are weapons here and there to pick up, the first of which is a rocket launcher that can plow through enemies. If you’re looking for points this is the way to go, but its a backup for when your knife just can’t cut it. The pistol lets you shoot a single enemy per bullet. You can find and throw a single grenade to take out a few enemies, but when your knife can kill a few at a time, why bother?
The boss battles are more like gauntlets of enemies. The first floods the area with karate soldiers. The second has men with jet packs that throw grenades and lower themselves for you to jump stab them. You’ll fight dogs at the end of the third who do little more than run at you. After each pathetic boss battle, you’re treated with a cut scene of jumping a fence that leads to the next area. Gyro-copters greet you at the end of the fourth. They throw grenades and slowly lower themselves so you can jump stab them down.
As for the music, its a high point of Rush’N Attack. The music keeps you going even if some of it sounds like sirens and rightfully so when you’ve breached an enemy compound. The sounds of stabs litter the game and there’s nothing wrong with the sound. It sounds like a lot of other stabbing sounds from the system.
The second stage has you fighting pilot versions of enemies, because they can get the job done! Its a let down to go from a first stage with ladders and missile launchers to a dull, flat area with the exception of a few dump trucks toward the end. There is still an airfield to look at just beyond a chain link fence with barbed wire at the top, but from a gameplay standpoint this is limiting. The game makes use of watch towers with snipers that fire guns at you. It would have been cool to jump off a fuel truck and stab them in mid air before they shoot you, but no you’re stuck on the ground.
The next level is similar to the first, but with different graphics. Ladders to climb with three floors to get to. Its a nice change of pace after the previous level. Now all of the enemies are dressed like pirates as best they can be for this era of graphics. I do appreciate the pallet swaps. It shows they tried, but different enemies would have been nice instead of reskins.
In the fourth, the army is out to get you, but for real this time. They send in paratroopers to shoot at you from the air and mortar men that hide behind barrels. These two factors make it interesting, because you still need to contend with the same soldiers that run at you. This time there are ladders to get to the top of walls and tall fences.
Next up, you’ll face actual soldiers that fire their machine guns in the fifth level. These machine guns fire a spray of one bullet at a time, even if the audio effect sounds like it shoots more. Its proof that each new level does bring out a new common enemy or two before the boss. This level has plenty of barns and ladders overlooking snowy mountains. The warriors here are decked out in fur parkas.
With the final stage, you’re coped up in a warehouse full of boxes and two floors. It looks dull and the challenge here is all of the soldiers you need to slaughter. The game kicks it up a notch and for this boss battle, you need to rocket launcher a rocket to death all while fighting enemies that give you rocket launchers. The perfect ending and you save the world after six grueling levels.
Rush’N Attack is just a bit mundane. Its a fair game, its just less than other games. Using the up as the jump does feel dangerous when your movement is so close you could jump by accident. Its an overrated game for what it boils down to, but still a classic.