Indie Review: Wasteland Angel
Take a trip back down to the arcade with Wasteland Angel, where this time you won't need to leave the house. Or your chair. Do you have what it takes to smash top scores?
- Worth The Time?Yes, it's a great trip down the memory-lane of arcades and scoreboards.
- Things LovedThe game is fast paced, never letting the action dip. It'll blast you with some good old school rock, too.
- Things HatedMay become repetitive.
- RecommendationThis game is great for anyone who is old enough to remember nagging their folks to go play at the arcade.
- Name: Wasteland Angel
- Genre: Arcade, Indie
- Players: Singleplayer
- Multiplayer: None
- Platforms: PC, MacOS and Linux
- Developer: Meridian 4 & Octane Games
- Publisher: Meridian 4
- Price: $7.99 - R56.00 Until 8 September
- Reviewed On: PC
When I was younger I remember always nagging my folks to go to the arcade, or what myself and my brothers affectionately referred to as the “Games Centre”. There we would take our parents’ hard earned money and play frivolous games in an attempt to finish them. Granted, these games were designed to burn holes into pockets and it always took all of our coins to finish a game, let alone do well enough to place anywhere near the top of the scoreboard.
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But never again! Fast forward some 10 odd years later and we have been given Wasteland Angel. This game screams arcade from the mountain tops. It has the classic rock soundtrack, waves upon waves of enemies to shoot and kill, and then, the ever classic scoreboard.
Let’s talk about this arcade adventure a little bit. The game has you playing as a female hero trying to find an old friend of hers, called “Eks”. Clearly there are some issues here. You travel across the USA in your kitted up car named “Gypsy”. The USA, of course, has been turned into a barren wasteland a few years after its credit rating dropped from AAA to AA+. I kid, it was actually World War 3’s fault, and now the world is suffering from a nuclear winter.
As you play through the singleplayer campaign you travel from town to town, saving the citizens from militants, and much later, from mutants. In order to save these civilians you must prevent these warbands from kidnapping citizens from the towns. To accomplished this, you need to destroy the, what can only be described as “free candy” buses or APCs that arrive at the towns’ walls. Naturally it isn’t as easy as that, as you need also contend with fast moving vehicles, which just as kitted as old “Gypsy”, in this kidnapping mission. What the militants and mutants do with the civilians, I don’t know, but I’m guessing it won’t be pleasant.
While you are speeding around these towns completely obliterating these warbands, you pick up special weapons and upgrades for old “Gypsy”. This includes special weapons like napalm and mini-nukes, while attachments for “Gypsy” may vary from mini-guns to rocket launchers. These power ups, of course, make for a far more rewarding warband genocide. If you are lucky, during a mission the “crane of destruction” may be made available to you. This crane of destruction, as the name suggests, just dishes out pain and leaves very little alive, leaving a rather large smirk on your face. At the end of a stage in the singleplayer campaign you are treated to a boss fight that will test your stamina more than your skill, and a bonus round where you play first person style to either wreck as many warband cars as you can or race around a track to collect time checkpoints. Both can give you a substantial score boost. And during all of the destruction and score accumulation, you are treated to a great old school rock soundtrack.
All of us who used to waste a lot of money at the arcade understand that it wasn’t just good enough to finish the games. The real challenge was to land either at the top of the scoreboard, or at least top three. Wasteland Angel has multiple scoreboards for each different game mode. In singleplayer-mode you may set a score at any of the four differing difficulty settings: Easy, Normal, Hard and Nightmare. You may also set a score in the game mode called “Level Play”, which allows you to try and obtain the best score on any given level at the difficulty setting of Normal. What makes the scoreboards in Wasteland Angel great is the fact they are internationally-based. So, you think that you are a cool cat for having the highest score on your favourite game at your nearest arcade? Try getting the best score against the whole internet, challenge issued.
Although Wasteland Angel is a lot of fun, where the quest to get the top score is very alluring, it does — like all the arcade games of old — suffer from the same age-old problem. Similar to playing the same game at the arcade for five weekends in a row, finishing it and setting a good score you, will become tired of it. It’s merely because the gameplay becomes rather repetitive, and this problem plagues Wasteland Angel too. However, I recommend you buy this game for the very same reason. A few weeks later you will always go back to your favourite old arcade game and find that some child has beaten your score, and this cannot be allowed. Ever.
In conclusion, Wasteland Angel is one of those games you want on your games list, even if it’s just for a quick adrenaline fuelled warband killing romp. You will always come back to it when you have some time to kill, or whenever some punk has topped your score.
Finally, I am going to systematically get the highest score on every level in the “Level Play” mode. I issue all of you a challenge to try beat me. You won’t of course.