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'Expendable' is a word you'll often find bandied about by military fat cats, pretty much in the same way as the now infamous 'collateral damage' is i.e. as a polite euphemism. I guess they think it sounds more warm and toasty than "hey, we don't care if you die - just so long as the job gets done", or something. Funny how it never seems to crop up in any of the recruitment literature though ain't it. It's a sentiment however that's apparently still alive and well in the 25th century too.
Man's insatiable curiosity has always been humanities greatest strength but conversely also our greatest weakness as well. By pushing ever further into the depths of space and terraforming suitable planets, man has solved many social and economic problems back on Earth, and hugely expanded our knowledge of the Universe too. But - you knew there had to be a but in there somewhere - our very industriousness has also brought us to the attention of some alien nasty types called the Charva, who seem rather partial to man's newly terraformed planets. Unsurprisingly, war soon commences.
The powers that be back on Earth have come up with a plan though. They have milked (if you'll excuse the pun) the cream of the human warrior gene pool to provide the seeds for hundreds of soldiers artificially grown in tanks aboard huge motherships, which are then sent to planets that have been overrun by the Charva. These 'expendables' are perfect killing machines, without emotion or morals, and interested only in the thrill of the hunt. It is your job to guide them into battle.
Those of you familiar with Rage's earlier title 'Incoming' (and if not, why not?) will know of their reputation for making games with simply luscious visuals, and they haven't let you down with Expendable - the graphics are truly jaw dropping. The explosions, sorry the word 'explosions' is just too inadequate, the pyrotechnic displays (much better) in Expendable are the best you'll see in any PC game yet released. Rage has also opted for a slightly less than top down viewing perspective, with the camera moving dynamically as events demand, giving the game that trendy cinematic feel.
The action in Expendable has a very arcade like flavour, with the emphasis very much on 'action'. While there are simple puzzles and items to collect, it's the wave after wave, of somewhat aggressive Charva charging at you that always grabs your attention; did I mention there's a time limit for each level too? If by some misfortune you don't finish the level within the allotted time, the Mothership, which is parked conveniently in orbit, will then come down and unleash the Armageddon weapon, completely destroying the planet AND you with it. Phew, talk about pressure!
Released in 2000, Expendable is a derivative but wholly enjoyable arcade style shoot-em up with colourful and stimulating 3daccellerated graphics and big explosions by the bucketload.
The game has you playing as a nameless supersoldier against a heavily mechanised alien race, blowing away all and sundry with lasers, plasma cannons, rocket launchers, machineguns and the like, the levels ranging from post-apocalyptic urban wastelands, vast spacecraft and barren alien planets, the gameplay being a simple case of rotate, strafe and fire, with the odd pseudo-puzzle elements requiring you to blow up doors and obstacles, manipulate switches and rescue your fellow humans, and the game also has its own share of huge mechanical bosses, as any good sci fi shooter should.
Gameplay-wise Expendable is no more advanced than the likes of Ikari Warriors, Who Dares Wins and Mercs, but its simplicity and retro appeal is its greatest strength, whilst the bold, over the top visuals make for a hugely entertaining arcade experience. The controls are responsive, the visuals varied and the pumping industrial/dance soundtrack adds greatly to the experience as well.
There's nothing really new here, and the two player mode is only really worthwhile if you happen to own a usb joystick, as the game must otherwise be played by both parties on a single keyboard, but if you're after a retro gaming experience with updated stylish graphics then look no further.
Developed by Rage software in 2000, and now available on the "Sold Out" label, Expendable is a timed third person platformy shoot-em-up set in a dark and special effects heavy future. An old game, it will run on almost any PC around today, no matter how modest the specs.
The game is incredibly lacking in story, not that thats in the least bit important in a brainless game of this nature, but suffice to say that you play a heavily armed marine with almost superhuman ability to kill.
Your mission is ultimately to progress to the next level, taking out hordes upon hordes of aliens, blowing up spacecrafts, rescuing hostages, pushing switches and destroying heavy machinery, all with really cool-looking, deliberately cartoony exaggerated explosions of many different shapes and colours. The game takes place in a variety of zones, levels include obliterated areas of earth, onboard spaceships, military hangars and alien installations and foreign worlds. All of which have a pretty basic layout overall and are easy to navigate with the incredibly familiar interface. Up, down, left, right, shoot. - Thats it.
This is very much an arcade-style game, the player is given a number of lives, and starts off with a very basic assault gun, but later can pick up extra lives, temporary powerups, continues, armour, health and stronger weaponry. There are a hell of a lot of guns in the game, including missile launchers, grenade launchers, chainguns, laser guns and plasma rifles. These all look really stylish and it can be a damn visceral feeling dispatching alien after alien with a cool futuristic arsenal.
Once you've lost all your lives, you're kaputt, but in a strange move by the developers, a savegame function has been added which does detract from the overall arcadey feel of the game, but means you don't have to do it all in one sitting, which adds to longevity. Difficulty options are sparse but acceptable, easy, medium, hard and harder - pretty standard really.
There's nothing really original here, blow up this, kill that, push this button. Its stylish, punky and well-polished overall, but the actual graphics themselves are now dated, even in the highest resolution, and the gameplay, whilst simple, intuitive and fun for a while, isn't really anything special.
Multiplayer is strongly encouraged in this game, but the game has no online capacity and the 2-player mode is awkward at best. For a start, the characters are constantly in the way of one another, and make it more difficult overall, plus two-player is a rare thing on the PC, (This is a PC exclusive game.) Can you really picture yourself with someone else frantically tapping away at THE SAME KEYBOARD? This is however rectified with an accessible and easy to set up joystick function, but this isn't standard practice for PC gamers and to be honest its a hell of a hassle to do, just to play this overall dated and mediocre game.
You can pick it up for a few pence on Amazon plus postage, as well as second hand in many games stores relatively cheap, but its not worth paying more than a fiver for.