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April 12, 2006
Exit - PSP Review
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Graphics really are impressive.
The PSP is, without a shadow of a doubt, a wonderful piece of hardware. Technically superior to all other handheld systems including the Nintendo DS it's somewhat bewildering that the system isn't dominating the charts. Still, we figure there are a couple of reasons. Firstly the system is quite a bit dearer then Nintendo's effort. Fair enough. Perhaps more telling though is the range of original games, or lack thereof. While Nintendo owners have been feed both original and exclusive titles, PSP owners have had to put up with numerous ports of PS2 games which either haven't translated well, or simply aren't 'key' titles. Fortunately things are starting to change with more original titles heading to the PSP from Q'2 onwards, and Exit is certainly one of those game.

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The exit is below...
In the game you play Mr ESC, an escapologist who's task is to rescue trapped victims in buildings that are burning down, full of electricity, or laden with traps. As you explore the levels you will have to toggle switches, climb ladders, move boxes, jump over gaps in the ground, hang off railings, extinguish fires and so on. While you are basically fully equipped and able to do all tasks the victims you rescue are less fit. Small children won't be able to jump large gaps but they can fit into smaller spaces where adults can't, fat people, on the other hand, can't climb large objects. It is then your task to issue them with commands to guide them safely through the maze and to the exit. When you get to injured victims you actually have to carry them to safety which creates a whole new set of obstacles in each level.

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This person needs some help.
Unfortunately the game is let down with some rather poor AI on occasion. The computer controlled characters occasionally fail to follow your orders, move too far ahead, changed floors in the building, or perform some tasks and they'll stop dead as if you vanished into thin air. It's not until you backtrack a bit or call them to follow you that they'll start to catch up again. The games control layout was also a bit of a pain in the ass to get used to. If you want to climb stairs you have to stop in front of them push the button and then wait for the climb up or down them. If you make a mistake and change your mind you can't just press the opposite direction to go the other way but have to wait until you get to the other end. This becomes very frustrating in a game where speed is of the essence.

Finally Exit does tend to degenerate into a game of trial and error where you have to experiment in each level before you figure out how to progress. The game only allows you to scroll a screen or so away from your main character, and the in-game map isn't as useful to plan your approach to the level as it should be. Still none of these issues are what you would call 'gameplay breaking', just annoyances.

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Putting a patient on a stretcher.
As you can tell from the screens the game is viewed from a side-on perspective with some gorgeous 2D graphics - only Capcom's Viewtiful Joe has impressed me this much in recent years. The backgrounds are all colourful and easy to distinguish important objects while the characters are essentially in black and white. Everything has a wonderful cel-shaded appearance and fortunately this quality extends to the character animations with Mr ESC looking particularly gorgeous when moving and performing actions.

Audio remains faithful to the comic book stylings of the graphics. It's bold and brash and pretty good overall. The music is lively and keeps the tempo of the game up at all times.

Exit is one of the most visually striking games on PSP and the gameplay isn't half bad either. Certainly gamers struggling to find original content on the system would do well to check this game out. Sure there's no guns, power sliding around corners or in-depth stories, but as a puzzle game this is quite enjoyable.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSSome of the most gorgeous 2D graphics ever seen - on all systems.
SOUNDSolid audio backs up the visual appeal with more comic styled punch.
GAMEPLAYSome of the best puzzle solving in recent years. Some small issues.
VALUE100 levels included on the disc, you can download even more!
OVERALLExit is a desperately needed exclusive title on PSP, and one which also provides quite a few thrills. This is one of the best looking, sounding and playing puzzle titles in years?

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