Comfortably sat in your light spaceship, you’re heading to a mission ordered by your boss. “We lost all contact in the station, you’re our best asset in that sector,” he says. Meh, let’s hope it’s just a technical problem… But when you get into the place, you lose contact with everyone and meet nothing but angry monsters! Guess a long day is coming…
If not transcending, Final directive’s scenario has the merit to exist. Cutscenes presented like comic book pages will illustrate the story with style and little bits of humor that are welcome in between hectic moments of monster bashing. I would have loved more of these nice drawings though.
Final Directive’s graphics are cute. But it has bucket loads of horrible monsters. Cute? Horrible? Let’s say they are cutible (or horribute?). You’ll discover pretty different aliens through the first levels that each have a particular shooting pattern. Zombie soldiers will shoot regular bullets, spiders spit projectiles like an eight-legged shotgun and these bloody crawling insects looking like Zerglings will just rush at you to suck your blood dry. The action stays clear at all moments even though this game is borderline bullet hell at some moments. But it’s nothing compared with these Japanese shoot ‘em ups that will give you epilepsy crisis. Let’s finally mention the good quality of the comic book cutscenes, that definitely make you want to keep on fighting even though the waves of beasts seem unbeatable.
Nothing exceptional regarding the general pattern of the game: follow the arrow, switch on the elevator switch and go to the next until you can access the next level. And try to survive all the way. This game has clearly been made for a keyboard-mouse combo. Having tried the 2-player mode with a PlayStation 2 gamepad, it’s still fun to play with but aiming is insanely harder than with a mouse. So even though I’m not used to playing these kinds of games, I think it represents a decent challenge for anybody liking twin-stick shooters. A ranking system will evaluate your performance regarding time and kills so that you can try and get better scores. Every enemy will upgrade your score multiplier, to encourage you to chain combos. Your path to success will be paved with the three S : sweat, stress, and sobbing.
If you like punchy electro music, you will like Final Directive’s soundtrack. It’s just as good as if it was composed by Danger himself. Nah, sometimes it’s like GOD composed the music. Either way, it’s a shame we can’t purchase it in steam separately. Also, monsters happen to have a very satisfying sound when they explode under your repeated gunshots. Like popcorn. Or opening a bottle of champagne. Or your cat’s head exploding because you put it in the microwave oven. Who knows what sound it may have. Do you? Ever worked in a Chinese restaurant?
Taste (Lasting appeal)
With around ten levels of nonstop action filled with monsters, Final Directive’s story mode should provide you with 3 or 4 hours of outer space fun, which is quite decent for a game which is worth only $2. Its scoring and ranking system will make you want to beat the game as fast as possible, and an endless mode is here for those who are looking for high score marathons. The 2 player mode is fun but maybe too difficult for those who aren’t at ease with gamepads. I’m warning you just so that you don’t throw the poor device through your computer screen in rage when you barely reach level 2 while doing it with your keyboard and mouse was easy. Please don’t make me say I told you so.
Smell (Overall experience)
Alien fried eggs
I don’t know what alien fried eggs smell like, but let’s assume they do like regular eggs. Even though they aren’t especially original, I love eggs. I’ve always loved eggs. And I like to try new things as well. Final Directive is more than a decent twin-stick shooter, and like alien fried eggs, it smells deliciously familiar with a little something more, thanks to its interesting -although short- story. It has a good price/lasting appeal ratio as well as a progressive learning curve. So jump on it! But be sure you fry your eggs good, or you may end up with a little surprise coming out of your belly tomorrow morning. It would be the shortest day of your life, and probably the last.