Old School Destruction
Developer: Insulin Games
Genre: Action & Adventure
Available On: XBLIG
Co-Op Mode: Local (2 – 4 players)
Price 240 ($3)
Demo w/ Co-Op Available: Yes
Old School Destruction serves as a good example of what is both good (a fun game that’s been developed and released outside of the mainstream games) and bad (it’s… rough aroudn the edges) about independent games. That’s not to say the game isn’t worth playing, but it is one where the average gamer must have a little patience; and playing the game with a buddy is a definite advantage to playing alone.
The premise behind Old School Destruction, from what I could tell by the loading screens, is that you’re a guy that’s been sent to some vacation getaway and who decides that it’d be good to bring along your trusty sidearm (no, you do not play as Jim “Iron Sights” McLaughlin). It’s a good thing, too, as the island is filled with some kind of transporters that teleport in a host of enemies. Really, though, with a name like “Old School Destruction,” a premise isn’t needed; there are enemies, take ‘em out!
Shown from a slightly skewed top-down perspective, players take on this enemy force by first locking on to a target using the right-thumb stick to align a targeting reticule over an enemy, and then blasting away. Players can also jump out of the way of incoming enemy fire, melee an enemy that gets to close, and hurl grenades to help take down the transporters or groups of foes. Having a buddy along to help out definitely makes the game more fun and provides some tactical advantages as one play can distract/take on the enemies while the other takes out the transporter so more don’t appear.
Pretty straightforward so far, but as the game progresses, it ends up playing as a kind of mix between a 3-D Super Contra, a twin-stick shooter, and an RPG. As you progress through the levels, you unlock additional weapons, such as a spread gun, and earn points that allow you to upgrade the weapons’ attributes, e.g., damage and fire rate. The lock-on mechanism takes some getting used to, but provides a rather quick and easy way to switch between targets without acting as a hindrance to the action. As the levels progress and enemies get tougher, things tend to get more hectic and players will find themselves doing a lot of ducking behind cover and jumping out of the way of a stream of bullets.
Teaming up to take down a transporter and alien foes
While the action is pretty satisfying, the rest of the game does have room for improvement. The graphics aren’t the best in the world, and don’t need to be, but somehow the game has fairly lengthy loading times. This may be a deterrent to those who want to jump in to the action right away, and is part of the reason why bringing a buddy along is so advantageous (the conversation during these screens). There can also be slight delays between gamepad input and what should have occurred on-screen, e.g., pressing the jump button and seeing the character jump a couple seconds later. Finally, while players do have a health bar so they aren’t instantly killed by enemy fire, there’s no on-screen HUD that indicates how much life you have left.
Old School Destruction provides an overall satisfying co-op experience where players will need to work together to clear each level, but the game’s flaws turn what could have been a great indie co-op game, into one that’s more for those who are interested in trying an “experiment in design”.
Old School Destruction is Geared Towards: Shooter fans that want to try something a little bit different and have the patience to give the game a whirl
The Co-Op Experience: Each player controls their own gun-toting hero with the ability to customize them as they see fit and work together to take out the enemy hoards