November 27, 2001
Hidden Invasion - Review
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A typical in-building brawl.
Most gamers will remember gems from over a decade ago such as Final Fight, Double Dragon, and Streets Of Rage. They are all classic side scrolling beat 'em ups, the likes of which aren't seen today. Just try and name one good side scrolling beat 'em up from the last decade and you will be hard pressed to fine one. Even The Bouncer from Square couldn't perfect the gameplay and capture an audience. Toka's Hidden Invasion is trying to rekindle the lost genre, with plenty of fighting, weapons and enemies. Unfortunately, it fails miserably due to one massive flaw in the game.

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Letting loose with the shotgun.
Hidden Invasion sees you playing the leader of a special forces taskforce who has to confront an eerie alien threat. You must uncover a conspiracy like no other, a conspiracy that has not been seen in the world... and try to keep a cool head doing it. In doing this you will once again become familiar with a feeling you thought you had forgotten for a long time: Fear - cold, stark fear...

The storyline is pretty standard fare for a game of this type, and the game is best off considered just a straight forward beat 'em up through a variety of quite varied locations. While playing the game it's possible to pick up weapons such as machine guns and shotguns to take out the within a few seconds, rather then having to fight hand to hand for 30 or more seconds. The variety in the weapons and enemies is quite good the plenty of fast paced action although having to defeat every enemy within a level becomes tiresome after a while. The actual combat is quite good while the controls are responsive enough.

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Locking onto the target.
While the gameplay is solid enough this game is massively let down by some horrific camera angles. These cameras get stuck behind walls, don't follow the character properly, lose enemies behind objects and, well, pretty much anything else you can imagine. It's a shame because if the game had either static camera positions throughout the levels, or always remained behind your player it would have improved the game significantly. This is very shoddy and really destroys what could have been a pretty good-looking game. As for the actual levels, Hidden Invasion looks solid enough with some detailed buildings, adequate design, and meerely average animation on the characters. I must point out that the surrounding screenshots are a lot blurrier then the actual game, but they were the best I could obtain.

The sound in Hidden Invasion is also average, and nothing. The music is a bit on the cheesy side while the sound effects are uninspired. Punching an opponent is accompanied by the same "thud" every time while the sounds from the guns is dull and inadequate compared to most other games today.

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Taking on a big boss.
Were it not for the horrendous camera angles this game could have been quite decent. The controls are adequate, the levels are large and varied and the gameplay is often frantic. But playing a game when looking at a massive wall instead of your own character, or not being able to see who or what you are fighting every few minutes just totally ruins the experience. Surely the developers could have fixed the cameras before release, or was is a case of the silly season sales? I'm sure it was the latter. Also, where is the 2-player support? Almost every beat 'em up since the early 90's has included a multi-player mode to increase the longevity of the title. Obviously Toka didn't have the time to fix the game before Christmas, and nor should you make the time for this game. It's probably only worth a rent at best.

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