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Ecks vs. Sever

by Mike Hrusecky - December 17, 2001, 2:55 pm EST


Ecks vs. Sever is presumptively the best of its genre to hit the GameBoy Advance so far. Those looking for more Multiplayer madness should give this game a very serious look.

I'll admit it up front. I'm not the biggest fan of first person shooting

games. That either makes me a great person to review this title, or the

worst, depending on whom you ask. The concept of being killed by enemies you

can't see sneaking up behind you doesn't do much for me. However, Billy had high

praise for Crawfish Interactive's Ecks vs. Sever, so I decided I would bite

the bullet just once and give this classic-style first person shooter a

whirl. I'm glad I did.

What might be the single most ingenious strategic move, Ecks vs. Sever is

based on a movie that you haven't seen yet. Terrific! No expectations. No

in-game characters being too similar or too different from the movie

character. And best of all, no cheesy movie tie-ins that make half-hearted

attempts to wedge themselves into the context of the game's storyline. Why?

Because we know nothing of the movie. Sheer genius I tell you. Taking notes,


In E v. S, you select from two characters to send you through 12 missions of

Government conspiracy: your hero and mine, Agent Jonathan Ecks, and Sever,

the anti-heroic assassin. Both characters' missions are mutations of one

another, viewing the story from their respective viewpoints -- Ecks making

like the Godfather and trying to off Sever, and Sever getting out of dodge!

The game has classic first person shooter mannerisms, with security guards,

FBI agents, SWAT teams, and NSA operatives hiding behind crates and corners

trying to stop you from accomplishing your various goals. Like classic FPS

titles, you have a variety of weapons of varying strength at your disposal,

as well as collectable armor and health, as you roam the twists and turns of

your missions.

The GBA doesn't offer the benefit of superb resolution, but Ecks Vs. Sever

utilizes a terrific 3D engine and creates a game graphically on par to the

likes of Wolf 3D (the first one, not the new one), but with better texturing.

The motion is adequately smooth, thanks to a number of character animations

as they go tumbling down at the hand of your destructive weaponry.

Ecks vs. Sever depends largely on the sound effects of yells and weapon

blasting throughout the game. Music is only used during menus and reading

mission criteria. Ouch. As always, I recommend using the GBA's headphone jack

for optimal sound.

The control system is pretty straightforward. The 'L' and 'R' buttons

function as left and right strafe movements except while using the Sniper

rifle, in which case they are used to zoom. 'A' Button fires your weapon, and

'B' is your action button used for things like opening doors. Finally, the

'Select' button allows you to select your weapons. The controls work

sufficiently and rather tightly overall.

Not being a big fan of first person shooters, the gameplay is not going to

capture me like it would a hardcore fan, but I did find myself enjoying Ecks

vs. Sever in between cursing the GBA's lack of a light source. Blessed be

Crawfish for including a Contrast feature that allows us to brighten the

screen. The simplicity of the controls and mission objectives gives it a lot

of points. Clearly, the first couple of levels are only a warm up to the more

advanced stages later on. Though the difficulty does increase as the game

progresses, the enemies act more like target practice cutouts than threats to

your mission. They contain dull AI, which is no compliment to U.S.A.'s FBI

and SWAT teams.

The Multiplayer mode is pure gold, if you have the means to play with others

socially. Not surprisingly, Ecks vs. Sever makes glorious use of multi-player

options, in which there are three...

-Deathmatch is exactly what you'd expect it to be -- be the first to "off" a

certain number of enemies, or have the most kills in a set time.

-In the Bomb Kit multiplayer mode, you must be the first to locate three bomb

parts, and then plant your explosive in the NSA mainframe computer. You can

also try to prevent your opponents from successfully assembling their bombs.

-In Assassination mode, up to 2 players play as Ecks or Sever to assassinate

a VIP that is under government protection. The other player(s) act as the

VIP's protection with various tools at their disposal to neutralize the


With only 12 missions, E v. S isn't extensively long. You may feel the game

is lengthier due to playing from two different perspectives, which is indeed

an added bonus. If you're a hardcore first person shooter fan, you will

likely either love or hate this game. On one hand, it has an elementary feel

that takes you back to the olden days of Wolf 3D. On the other hand, it has

an elementary feel that takes you back to the olden days of Wolf 3D. Yes, you

will either appreciate the throwback of the FPS genre, or... you won't.

Without question, the sticking point is the game's Multiplayer mode, which is

something you're sure to come back to time and time again.


Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
8 6 8 8 7 7

Hardcore First Person Shooter fans have evolved way beyond the simplicity of Wolfenstein 3D's appearance, but Ecks vs. Sever looks quite nice for the GBA platform.


Err, what sound? In game, E v. S depends on sound effects, with the complete lack of music except for menus and story progression dialog in between missions.


The controls are simple, easy to get used to, and get the job done.


The two renditions of the 1-player missions are simplistic if fun, but it should come as no surprise that Multiplayer makes the day.


1-player games are adequate to come back to from time to time, but again, Multiplayer is absolutely King for your play-it-again consideration.


I wasn't a big fan of 1st Person Shooters before plugging this game in, and it hasn't swayed me to enjoy them any more. That said, Ecks vs. Sever is presumptively the best of its genre to hit the GameBoy Advance so far. Those looking for more Multiplayer madness should give this game a very serious look.


  • Interesting story
  • Multiplayer Mania
  • Nice graphics for a relatively early GBA title
  • Simple control scheme
  • Barebone FPS style may be a turn off for some
  • Very little music
Review Page 2: Conclusion

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Genre Shooter
Developer Crawfish Interactive
Players1 - 4

Worldwide Releases

na: Ecks vs. Sever
Release Nov 27, 2001
PublisherBAM! Entertainment
eu: Ecks V. Sever
Release Dec 07, 2001
PublisherBAM! Entertainment
aus: Ecks V. Sever
Release Year 2002
PublisherBAM! Entertainment
RatingMature (15+)

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