I'm not exactly sure what to make of Ecks Versus Sever. The game seems like a major technological achievement, being one of the first games to get polygons onto the Game Boy Advance. Yet it also seems like a dinosaur, playing and looking like Doom, and using, of all things, a password save. The password save especially threw me off. I don't think I've seen a game that used password saves since the NES days.
Ecks Versus Sever is very much as Chi described it: a decent effort, but an otherwise dull game. Besides what Chi mentioned about background music and telling the story through scrolling text, I would also have to say that the color scheme ought to be reworked as well. I don't know if it was the style the developers were looking for, but Ecks Versus Sever looked pretty dull and drab to me. It's true that the game can only boast modest graphics using Game Boy Advance hardware, but I'm sure some of those shortcomings could be offset with good use of color. Sprites certainly looked blocky in Doom but they also seemed much livelier. The green-haired zombie marines and the pink pig-like demons were much more eye-catching than what was seen in this game.
Another sad note is the multiplayer aspect. I don't like four-player split screen on the TV and I certainly won't put up with it on the Game Boy's screen. But apparently, and unfortunately, four-player split screen is what you get with Ecks Versus Sever, even though linking four separate Game Boys means four separate screens are available. Perhaps there were technical difficulties that I wasn't aware of, but all in all I can't really imagine why it's not possible to provide a full screen per player.
It's not a total loss though, and as Chi mentioned, the Spy Vs Spy gameplay was especially noteworthy. Players are provided an option to play as either Ecks or Sever. Each character has a set of twelve levels to get through, but the levels for each of the characters are mostly the same. There are slight variations, and they come mostly in the form of mission objectives. Still, it was intriguing to pick the other character and go through the same levels from a different perspective. It is an intriguing concept that will hopefully be explored more thoroughly in a sequelthat is, if Ecks Versus Sever 2 ever gets to see the light of day. I'd like to see more things such as one character having to go through the same level backwards, or maybe allowing each character to have exclusive access to different areas in a particular area.
Ecks Versus Sever also has a great pick-up and play quality about it. It's not too demanding or complex. The password saves also works like a level warp-a handy feature. Especially since items don't get carried over from a previous game, it's possible to play levels in any order without penalties.
The draw back, of course, is that Ecks Versus Sever is a pretty forgettable experience. It's easy to pick-up, but just as easy to put it away.
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