Review by Kain Stryder
A Short, Bland Shooter.
Where to even start. Argus, which was made by Jerico Entertainment for the Famicom, is your typical Side Scroller Shooting game, which pits you, a pilot of a Ship that must fight against what appears to be an Alien invasion. Nothing fancy, but most shooters aren't backed by an amazing story, it's their gameplay and sheer fun that keep you coming back for more. Does Argus meet the requirements to keep you coming back? Well, let's find out...
Story: Well, there isn't one, unless the manual gives one. Apparently, you're a pilot of Earth or where ever, which must defend against an invasion of Aliens. That's...about it. Nothing special and Shooters aren't backed by their amazing story anyway, so...not much else to tell. It'll get a few points just for saving grace, but nothing award winning here.
Controls: They're as solid as you can get for a Shooter and that's half of what makes a good game. Easy to grasp, easy to learn and easy to perform actions, nothing's lacking in this department. You have your one Button that shoots your Gun, another that drops Bombs and then your typical strafing with the D-Pad. It's easy to dodge incoming objects, input commands, what have you. Can't get better than this.
Graphics: Well, for a game made in 1986, the graphics are pretty good. The only qualm I have is the majority of your bad guys look the same; don't get me wrong, there's a decent amount, but after a while, there's palette swaps and for how short this game is, that's kind of lazy. However, for what there is, detail is very well done. From land formations, to areas you can Bomb, to objects, hell, the Mothership and Landing Pad, including a Line Graph, the graphics are amazingly well done for a game of its time. Your Ship is your basic white, easily distinguishable from other things. Graphics don't fail here, however a game can still be great in everything, but if it's lacking gameplay...well...nothing can save it then.
Sound/Music: Alright, here's where the game fails really hard. There's 4 songs in the game. One is the Title Screen, another the main game, another the Boss Music and the final is played after a Boss. That's...it. Showing how you'll hear the Title Screen for only a few seconds, you're mostly submitted to virtually one song in the game over, and over, and over. It's the same song for every Level and it's not even something worth listening to. Even the Boss Music and the music after is terrible. They definitely fall hard here. I mean for the few Levels in this game, they could've added a few more for variety...
As for the Sound Effects, there's nothing really that bad. The typical bleep bloop bomb type sounds. I mean for a game made in 1986, you can't really expect something phenomenal, can you? The sounds fit at least, that's what counts the most.
Gameplay: Alright, moment of truth. How's this game add up? ...Well, badly. The game's not only ridiculously difficult, it's also very short. Now, most will ask "Yeah, but is it fun, like Gradius?" and I'll reply "No." See, where Gradius and such was actually amazing all around, Argus fails due to lack of only two Gun Power Ups and virtually nothing to protect your ship, except a rare invincible mode via you Bombing three targets. While good, the other time, ANYTHING will kill you, there's no mercy here. This may sound like a challenge, however with only a few Lives, you get no continues. You're thrown back to the Title Screen and forced to start all over. Not enough? There's 9 Levels, however technically only 3. After Level 3, Level 4 is a palette swap of Level 1, and so forth. So, Level 6 is another palette swap of Level 1, which after Level 9, it loops back to the start.
To make matters worse, there's no ending. There's only 1 Boss, over and over. Same strategy, too. Drop 1 Bomb on the Boss during the hatch being open to win. However, it's not as easy as it sounds. The hatch remains open for a fraction of a second, so you're basically just spamming Bombs, hoping one lands, all the while having Enemies fly at you, trying to crash into you or hit you with a barrage of attacks. This is harder than it sounds and nearly impossible to "complete" the game on a normal system, even Save Stating will drive you insane. The stages themselves have never ending waves of Enemies. If you manage to wipe out a current wave, another just instantly appears, as if you did nothing. The Enemy AI is actually good, however it's a bit difficult when the handicap is horrible and virtually impossible to clear with nothing aiding you along the way.
Over all, the game tries, but fails in the most important category. Even though it's old, it's no excuse as to making it this hard of a game, especially with no ending or anything to aid you in your quest to make it even remotely fun to pick up and kill an hour or two.
Over All: Well...that about sums everything up. You have a typical Shooter that can't even dish out decent gameplay. Instead, you get a rehash after 3 Levels, the same Boss at the end of each, no climax, nothing to aid your Ship except a few Power Ups and only one song almost. The only good thing was how cool the Landing Pad sequence was they added in to the end of each Level. That was really original and nice to play around with, once you figure out what to do. So, virtually no story, which isn't that bad for a Shooter, solid controls, excellent graphics for its time, poor sound and music however, with even worse gameplay, over all, you have a really lackluster game that can't even give you a few hours of fun, it's more like a few minutes before you try something else.
Coming down to either renting or buying this game...rent it. Unless it's a few dollars and you're a die hard Shooter genre fan, really, just pass on this unless you're curious. There's better out there and trust me, your time's better spent elsewhere, however maybe you'll like the challenge? Who knows. If you like really, really hard Shooters, try it, you may enjoy it. For everyone else, just go back to Gradius.
Final Rate: 6/10.
Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Got Your Own Opinion?
Submit a review and let your voice be heard.