Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cobra II

Hudson Soft

I hadn't yet played the first Cobra when I decided to give its sequel a try, but my inexperience with the series to that point really didn't matter, as C2's cheesy, entertaining, overly dramatic introductory text (presented in English) brought me right up to speed. Cobra is a goofy (but BADASS) space pirate who can detach his left arm to reveal a mighty secret weapon, the PSYCHO GUN.

Around the universe he travels, meeting up with bizarre alien beings and scantily clad women.

You never know what's coming next in this wacky digital comic, character- or plot-wise, and that's probably the most appealing thing about it. You'll be exploring a desolate world that seems to be all in ruin when you'll suddenly encounter a rock band jamming out with an armored knight on electric guitar.

You'll do battle with "round wolves"; "death balls"; android executioners; and a big, bald wrestling dude.

The proceedings feature a fair amount of violence and some shockingly bloody moments (characters taking laser blasts to the face and the like)...

...but there isn't much sexual stuff. In fact, the one bit of romance is rather innocent and plays out quite nicely!

You'll have a slightly easier time getting through the game if you can read at least a little Japanese, as many of the clues telling you where to go or whom to talk to next are presented in katakana. You'll have to spend some time treading back and forth between locations and playing with menu commands (the typical digital comic routines), but there are enough cool surprises to keep you moving through the dull stuff. One puzzle that'll require you to press six lenses of various colors in a certain order might prove extremely problematic. You can spend a lot of time buttoning through all the permutations...

...or, if that idea doesn't appeal to you for some reason, you can just immediately enter the correct order of red, green, blue, yellow, white, purple.

While Cobra II generally doesn't offer much more interactivity than your typical comic, it does feature some distinct sequences that serve to get players more involved in the action. For instance, when one particularly tough baddie is chasing after you, you'll have to blast open the door to a morgue, dash upstairs, hide in an empty coffin, and then judge the sound of the villain's footsteps (they get louder and softer as he plods about the room) to know exactly when it'll be all right for you to pop out, take him by surprise, and annihilate him.

It's possible to screw up and die in some places, but you can save your game whenever you want to, and if you get killed, you'll be sent back just a short way (ensuring that you won't end up saving yourself into a bad position).

Upbeat tunes really get me into certain action-packed scenes, but there are a few annoying sound effects that represent alarms and radar blips. The graphics are pretty good on the whole; the characters look extremely goofy at times, but that just adds to the awesome overall cheesiness.

Cobra II is a heck of a lot of fun--so much fun, in fact, that it ranks as my favorite digital comic.

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