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    Default GOTD 4/25/2016: Isolated Warrior (NES)

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    Isolated Warrior for the NES in many ways feels like the system's answer to Viewpoint, the Neo Geo classic. It's an isometric shooter is which the hero, Max, must fight invading aliens who have taken over the planet. There are six standard stages to play through, plus a bonus stage for warriors who can take the first six down on one credit. You must shoot, dodge, and jump your way through the levels to destroy the alien menace and save the survivors of planet earth.

    The stages in Isolated Warrior are auto-scrolling like a typical shooter, but you spend all but two of them on foot, running and firing through robotic enemies. Most of these feature a sub-boss at which the screen temporarily stops scrolling, and there is always an end boss to every level. These tend to be huge, detailed monstrosities with nice attack patterns to provide a fair challenge. The other two stages feature one in which you hover over water with some kind of fan backpack and one where you ride a motorbike down roadways through the crumbling streets. These stages are noticeably faster than the others, and stage four (the motorbike stage) is the only stage with an alternate control scheme to accomodate doing a wheelie. This is actually the one part of the game that irritates me, as the maneuver is executed by pressing down and jump together, and the end of the stage requires a ton of hopping over bridge gaps, and it's easy to accidentally pop a wheelie while positioning yourself to jump and fall into the gap instead.

    Other than that one gripe, everything in Isolated Warrior controls like a champ once you get a feel for the hit zones of angled enemies. Your arsenal is solid with a spread weapon and a focused laser attack, which you power up by grabbing L and W icons, and you can switch between them on the fly by pressing select. When you lose a life, whatever weapon you were using reverts to base, but the other stays powered up, so there's an added layer of strategy there. You also have bombs that do pretty good damage, and can pick up shields and extra health as well. Also hidden in the game are warps that can be shot open, and in these you get bonuses like maxing out all of your weaponry, so if you see one, take it. (Hint: there:s one in the wall to your left right toward the beginning of stage six.)

    The graphics and sound are both really strong suits in this one, and not just because of the angled view. The sprites are big and detailed, the music is pumping but ominous, and the bosses are huge, cool-looking bastards that are probably some of the best-looking bosses on an 8-bit console. There's even a nice password system to continue from later, even for the bonus extra stage, and good between-level cutscenes that tell Max's story well.

    I like Isolated Warrior a lot, even if that motorcycle level is a bitch and made me play the game twice tonight so I could see the bonus stage. I'm not aware of any other versions, but this really feels optimized for the hardware with no slowdown and great visuals and music.

    Played it?
    Last edited by celerystalker; 04-25-2016 at 01:51 AM.

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