There are plenty of mysteries in life with G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra’s 16+ age rating being one fine example. There’s no blood, no swearing, no dismemberment and most of the enemies are robots or mechanical machines. When you consider that Batman: Arkham Asylum is only a 15 certificate, it’s very odd indeed. There is a character called Snow Job, but unintentional innuendo alone isn’t going to get the game a 16+ rating.
I was well aware of the mediocre reviews G.I Joe gained on release. However, I was also aware that it’s a fairly simplistic arcade-style run and gunner, which appeals to the retro fanatic inside me. At £7.99 from ShopTo’s sale it seemed rude not to, and although the graphics aren’t anything to get excited about it’s quite a fun blaster with more depth than you might originally expect. The hardcore mode lives up to its name at least; three hits and you’re out. The casual mode plays more like one of the Lego games – you get infinite lives but your score is docked at the end.
At the start only two characters are available with more becoming unlocked once rescued or by finding their contracts during missions. Each has their own skill and has a different weapon, so trying to find the right mix of characters to take into battle adds a tactical element. I always had Heavy Duty on my team though; he’s a good all-rounder. The CPU controlled characters doesn’t take damage so if you’re ever getting low on health you can sneakily swap characters to prevent dying. Activating the ‘super suits’ or (whatever they’re called) gives you some extra firepower and the theme tune from the 80s cartoon blares out in an unashamedly cheesy manner.
Of course, those mediocre reviews weren’t dished out unfairly – it is repetitive and the auto aiming system is a bit naff. But playing this is just like playing a 16-bit shooter (Contra / Probotector spring to mind) only in shiny new 3D, which is something you can’t say about a lot of Xbox 360 shooters.