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
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.