Elevator Action Returns is arguably one of the best 2D arcade games made period.
A sequel to the ever popular
The original is just hard due to your slow movements and how the game, at times, does feel a little clunky. If not, then with how everything feels a little slow, it feels a bit unresponsive at times. That, albeit is due to the hardware it was originally released on. In 1983, they didn't have the F3 to run the game on, to give a time frame, Phoenix was only released 3 years earlier. I'll let you think about that.
The sequel improves in every way, undoubtedly. It plays more fluidly, everything looks better, you can jump from one platform to another whether or not the elevator is above or below you, all that jazz.
This game is very detailed. Everything looks vibrant, is quite sharp and refined. It's 2D eye candy in all honesty. The sprites for everything are quite satisfying to look at.
Explosions, while they are missing more reds and yellows, are still something that sticks out among the sprites. Everything overall, looks very, very good. Even some nuances here and there in case you are looking around while you play and noticing things, not just the game.
This airport's sure not having a good day. Also, Darius Airlines above the entry door (when you enter the plane in the game). A detail you might just miss if you're not looking around.
Soundwise, the game is also very good. The music, while I wouldn't be likely to listen to it all regularly, there are the odd few tracks that I'd listen to, such tracks with names like "I Can Only Think In Job", "Colors Of Nights", "Red After Image" and "Feedback Romance". The first one is one of my favorites, personally. As well as the hidden track "Elevator Action '95", which was in the sound test. Strange thing about the sound test in this game is that there's a way to balance the sound between the music and the sound effects. I've never seen that in a game in general. The sound overall is quite good and does it's job. It does it's job very well.
Control wise, I have no problems. It responds when it should, as it should. It's enjoyable beyond a reasonable doubt to control the game. Throwing grenades, shooting and jumping feels very responsive. You can even change directions while jumping. That's something that really helps out in this game. The only problem I have is that there is no established run button. You have to tap the direction you want to move twice in order to do that, and that's not very enjoyable. It kind of breaks the flow because then you realize you can run by tapping left twice and you end up trying to run and then you walk again. Otherwise, the controls are very good.
This game plays very well. It's not hard to assert that I think that from what I've been saying. Shooting things is quite satisfying, and throwing grenades is as well, but the grenade part can be a bit annoying as they tend to go too far sometimes.
There's three characters. Kart Bradfield, Edie Burret, and Jad the Taff.
Kart has his abilities in moving fast and a semi-screw attack jump. He's not the fastest with his gun, but his grenades are very helpful in clearing out a row of enemies.
Edie is very, very fast with her gun, and her grenades don't have a large explosion range. However, her grenades stay there for a little while, and getting any enemies to run into the flames will cause them to catch fire, as with any fire in this game, such as the rocket launcher.
Jad is a tank. He's powerful and moves slow. His grenades are frag grenades that explode when an enemy nears. His running isn't too slow, but his walking is very, very slow. Sometimes, almost unbearable. His gun is also misspelled as "Dessert Eagle". Insert food pun here.
I tend to choose Edie because she's quite evenly balanced, and she can shoot fast. For me in this game, that's what matters. However, I do sometimes play as Kart because of his maneuverability. Jad, I never really play as, but I did for the sake of this review. He doesn't play bad, but I like the speed of the other characters. His grenades though are quite cool to watch explode. I'll give him that.
Couldn't help it.
There's 6 levels overall. There's lots and ups and downs and ups and downs,
Good time for Edie to move her hair some, for Kart to reload his mag or for Jad to reload his chamber.
The ending to the game though doesn't really feel like a good ending, probably because of the music. The bad ending though is definitely the bad ending. It definitely feels like a bad ending. It looks like a bad ending.
As an overall to this game, I would recommend playing it. I'd recommend playing it more than once. I'd recommend playing it with more than one person. I definitely recommend this game.
Oh yeah, I didn't mention the Saturn port. The ever so elusive Saturn port.
It's the same game, on a Saturn. With Elevator Action as a bonus when you beat the game. And the full soundtrack there to listen to in a CD player. It's a fantastic port overall.
"Well, what about the Taito Memoies/Legends version?"
I've never had that many issues with it. I see it as just another emulated version that is kind of okay. Nothing extraordinary about it. No bonuses like the Saturn version, but a bit of slowdown here and there and some other problems with it. Not bad if you're on a budget, but not that great, either.
I highly recommend playing it in any way you can. Whether it be through MAME, an original machine, the Saturn port or the PS2 version, I recommend it. It's a good time either by yourself or with others. I don't recommend spending crazy amounts of money on the Saturn version, but if that's what you want to do, then pursue your dreams while shelling out tons of cash. If you're going to play the Saturn version, just go the CD-R route as the game is too expensive in it's own right and honestly not worth it (or you could just emulate it). I might really, really like this game, but the thing that is worth the money is the artwork and spinecard. Otherwise, with all the good dumps of it out there, don't bother. But if that's how you want to go, then so be it. I just don't recommend it, even with how good this game is.