Square-Enix buying Taito was a great thing. Why? Because now we can enjoy classics like Space Invaders and Elevator Action in the comfort of our living room. Not only that, but these games have a modern twist to satisfy both old-school gamers who played the originals and newcomers who haven’t heard of either series before. In the case of Elevator Action, the word “Deluxe” was tagged onto the title to give us a PSN-exclusive that is worth of any gamers’ hard earned $10.
From the moment you launch yourself into the single player story mode and rappel into the top of a tower, to that daring escape five levels later, Elevator Action Deluxe brings you intense action mixed with stealthy strategy as you try to steal secret documents before time runs out. Each tower is split into five levels, which get progressively difficult. Your character is equipped with a pistol, but various tools can be found scattered around the level behind doors. My personal favorite is the bomb, but body armor and assault rifles prove to be just as useful.
The documents you seek are hidden behind red doors. Blue doors can be used to hide, and the single most gratifying moment in the game is when an unsuspecting guard walks by and you bust out of the door, in turn knocking them out. I swear, I giggled more in this game than I probably do in a months time. Playing the stealth card is pretty easy in the beginning, but in later levels, I just didn’t have the patience or skill to muster through the levels without playing the action hero role.
Enemy difficulty increases from regular guards, to red-suited guards that trigger alarms, and even military guards that use assault rifles that fire in burst shots. Not only does difficulty in the form of enemies go up, but simple layouts become sprawling mazes with switches, gates, and more. And you have a small amount of time to figure out the quickest and safest way from point A to point B, picking up your coveted documents on the way.
After you finish a level, you are graded on your performance and given a medal (bronze, silver or gold). You can die as many times as you need to (do you like that?), but starting back at the beginning or checkpoint will cost you valuable time and points. And for those leaderboard gurus, Elevator Action Deluxe should make you happy with its leaderboard feature, making it feel just like the arcade again (minus the awesome 3-initial name stamps).
Besides the progressively difficult single player game, Elevator Action Deluxe added some co-operative and competitive multiplayer values to the equation. Sadly, this doesn’t include online multiplayer. Why, I have no real idea, but while I love me some couch co-op, I also have other friends around the country that I would love to play this online with. There you have it, my single complaint to the game.
Co-op story is actually kind of a pain, but if you don’t take it seriously, it’s downright hilarious. Me and my partner in crime found out the hard way that, when you shoot each other in the back of the head (or face, in my case), the one that gets hit takes damage. Realistic, yes, but we eventually had to come up with a game plan. One person would duck and shoot, while the one behind would shoot standing up. A perk to having a partner is one person could go into a door to get a document while the other saved the elevator so there was no wait time. Co-op features the same levels as single player but with a friend. Or friends.
Competitive multiplayer with two people was very fun, but also got old a little quicker, especially when both people are pretty decent strategists. However, this mode was also the funniest with another person, simply because of the failed kill attempts from both people (which usually end in suicide). You have a mode where eight documents appear, and the person with the highest score at the end wins. Exiting first when the exit opens will grab you points, and each document you got will net you points. The most difficult mode was the single document grab. If you have the document and you die, not only do you respawn at the top, but the document also returns to its spot at the bottom. This was a little easier on bigger maps and I’m sure it’d be a blast with four people.
Lastly, you have deathmatch. You have so many minutes to wrack up as many points and kills as possible. Some of the maps have computer AI, which was more fun. Again, with just two people, the game is a lot of fun, but I’m sure with more, it would be a much better experience.
28 years later, and after many ports, Elevator Action comes back with a vengeance and it means business. Like many other retro-revivals this year, Elevator Action Deluxe deserves to be noticed, and deserves to be played. With a wide array of play modes, and even some grind-worthy trophies, this $10 PSN-exclusive belongs on your harddrive.
Pros: awesome arcade action, sweet couch co-op, funny moments of killing, giggle-worthy stealth action
Cons: no online multiplayer