Crossfire 2 (XBLA) Review
The original Crossfire was released earlier this year and was touted by some as the best shooter of 2010 for its unique take on the Space Invaders-style gameplay. Fast forward to December and its sequel, Crossfire 2, is now the latest entry in the series and the Indie Games Winter Uprising and looks to improve upon the original’s weaknesses while adding some new elements as well.
Much like Space Invaders, you’ll be taking out enemies that move along an X-axis that move together in block formation. What makes Crossfire unique is that you have the option to attack from either the top or bottom of the screen, adding a new level of strategy to the classic. This allows for greater diversity in enemies as well, as some will only take damage from one side and their attacks alternate between top and bottom. Their attacks vary as well, meaning you never know quite what to expect in each wave.
There are two methods of attack available – regular fire and superfire. Regular fire does less damage but takes up no ammo, while superfire obliterates all in its path, though it uses quite a bit of ammo. You gain ammo by killing enemies and moving your ship near it.
The bulk of Crossfire takes place in Conquest mode, which covers three planets and 60 waves of enemies. You’re given the option to upgrade your ship every two rounds, which adds an unexpected RPG-twist to the game. Leveling up is dependent on your play style, so you’ll want to adjust your strategies accordingly. Upgrades include ship health and speed, firing rate and spread, and even upgrades to your superfire weapon. I personally like to keep my health at a maximum and my superfire as efficient (saves ammo) and powerful (kills more) as possible. You might want to go for speed and regular fire to avoid using ammo – the upgrading allows for a lot more variety. The only downside is that most waves don’t take all that long and upgrading can ruin the pace of the game at times.
Once you complete Conquest, you unlock Conquest Plus. It’s another sixty waves of enemies and powerups, though you are able to create a much more powerful ship this time. If you build the right ship the game almost becomes too easy at times, but blowing enemies up with huge laser beams will always be fun no matter the difficulty.
After you’ve conquered everything, the game also has a simple score attack mode where you can only heal and upgrade every ten waves. This helps stop the pacing issues with conquest mode and really ups the difficultly as well. Competing for the top score is strangely addicting in this game, and I think a large part has to do with the upgrading system. Knowing that you’re just a few modifications away from the top score can make it almost too addicting.
Visually, Crossfire 2 doesn’t differ a whole lot from its predecessor but considering its source material I’m not surprised. Besides, the game still looks great and gives off a very retro-but-modern vibe to it that I love.
Crossfire 2 takes a very simple arcade game and makes it something special that doesn’t feel out of place in 2010. The RPG-element really adds to the game and requires some careful planning if you want to earn those high scores, which thanks to the great gameplay can be an addictive experience. There’s a plethora of shooting games available on the Indie Games Channel, but Crossfire 2 may be the best…period. And for a dollar (80MP) you really can’t go wrong.