Heavy Weapon

Heavy Weapon is, I think, the first PopCap game I have ever played that wasn’t some sort of puzzle title. Rather than a puzzler, it’s a retro style side-scrolling shooter, where you control a nuclear-powered tank attempting to single-handedly wipe an army off the face of the globe. In case you missed it, that was the story, just then. It’s now available on the Playstation Store for the price of £7.99.

Almost everything about Heavy Weapon is stunningly retro and wonderfully un-PC. The enemies are invading Soviets, you glibly fire off nuclear weapons at will, and the rock guitar soundtrack sounds like it should be coming out of a cabinet in a 1980s arcade. The lyrics to the intro music are almost laughably hilarious: “This is the vehicle of oppression. Atomic tank! Nuclear! Atomic tank! Wooooah yeah!”  In fact, this game has such an arcade feel to it that I almost destroyed my PS3 by trying to slot a number of 10p coins into the Blu-Ray slot.

The controls are dead simple, left stick moves your tank around the screen from left to right, and the right stick causes your tank to fire in the direction you move it. The action scrolls from left to right and you fight wave after wave of mostly airborne enemies, with the occasional ground vehicle coming on to the screen to give you problems. You start out with just your tank’s normal gun, but as you play through the levels allied helicopters fly though the carnage above your tank and drop off power-ups. These vary in their effects, some make your tank faster, or your gun fire faster, but the most useful is the nuke. Once you have a nuke, a deft tap of the R2 button and boom, every enemy on screen is toast, and you get a pretty mushroom cloud to look at in the background of the level.

Like just about every shoot-em-up ever, Heavy Weapon starts out by making you feel like a god. You’ll sail through the first few levels, swatting away the feeble enemies and simply saving up your nukes for the end of level boss, but later it gets really hard, and the screen will literally be full of enemies, your own bullets and incoming enemy missiles. The screenshots I found below don’t really show you just how chaotic the screen gets later on, but one of them does show you the sort of lunacy you can expect from boss characters.

If you are a bit of a loon and don’t think the screen is quite busy enough in the single player mode, then good news – there’s a couple of online modes where you and up to three other players all battle against the enemies on the same screen. I tried this, and although it was great fun, after we had played for about ten minutes my eyeballs started to look like raisins. It’s a bit like putting your head in a bag full of assorted lit fireworks.







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