In 1983, game developer Taito released Elevator Action in the arcades, and it was a popular arcade game that was later ported to home consoles as an NES title in 1985. That port is available on the Wii’s Virtual Console. But now, some 28 years after the release of the original Elevator Action in arcades, Square Enix has delivered a remake titled Elevator Action Deluxe available now exclusively on the Playstation Network.
This remake hasn’t strayed too far from the original; one look at the game and you’ll instantly know that it is an Elevator Action title. You still traverse the building by moving left, right, up and down, all the while trying to avoid detection from enemy guards and soldiers or killing them before they sound the alarm or kill you. Your goal is to enter all the red doors to obtain the files hidden behind them, and then exit the building.
The story of Elevator Action Deluxe will take you through 10 levels, each containing five stages. These of course start out relatively easy and then get progressively harder as you continue. While the later stages don’t radically depart from the early stages (you are still doing the same thing and in the same way after all), new weapons, concepts, enemies, environmental layouts, and play strategies are continuously introduced throughout that make for a much more challenging experience.
Unless you care about obtaining a high score or obtaining a certain medal (bronze, silver, and gold) for completing a mission, you really don’t have to care about dying. This isn’t a game where you have x-amount of lives and if you lose them the game is over. Instead, you’ll respawn from a door near where you died and you can continue on your merry way. If you are playing for a high score, and this is an arcade game, then you’ll definitely want to avoid dying, as each death subtracts 5,000 points from your total mission score. The only way to fail a mission is to run out of time. There’s a time bonus, so you’ll want to complete the stage as quickly as possible, but I have to admit that there is a strange satisfaction with seeing the countdown flash red as you run down a long straight stretch and reach the exit with only one second to spare.
The controls are simple, just as the controls for an arcade remake should be. You’ll move around, control the elevator, and open doors using the left thumb stick (or D-pad if you prefer). You shoot and perform melee attacks with the circle or square button, jump with X, and plant explosives with the triangle button. The controls feel good; they’re quick and easy, and you’ll have mastered them before you complete the brief tutorial stage. The only slight issue is that you can occasionally have some trouble trying to get away from an escalator (where you unintentionally ride it back up or down), and you do have to jump before you get close to the edge otherwise you’ll just fall through a hole and be treated to a nice ragdoll animation death scene (its humorous, so you really won’t mind doing it though).
Graphically, Elevator Action Deluxe looks good for what you’re getting. It’s an HD remake, but it’s also a downloadable title that cost $10. The colors are nice and crisp, and the backgrounds all look good. You’ll appreciate the graphics a lot more after you play the original arcade title, which is included as a bonus with the game. I enjoyed the NES port, but I’m just a little too young for the original arcade version. That the original game is included is a nice bonus, but it’s not something that I’m going to be playing a lot of; it looks bad. Play the original first though, and then get into the remake. It’s a nice reminder of how far gaming has come in these 28 years between versions.
The sound in Elevator Action Deluxe is also really good. Matter of fact, the sound effects, combined with the animations, make dying a blast. There’s a good cartoon style sound effect to everything (running, the elevators, enemies, bombs, doors… everything) that works tremendously well with the art style and the background music. The audio kind of reminds me of Spy vs. Spy for some reason, which actually works pretty well since you are a spy after all.
There is multiplayer here, but it is all local. The only online aspect is competing for the high score on the leaderboard. Locally, there’s two player co-op and an up-to-four player competitive mode. Unfortunately, I couldn’t try out these modes due to only having one PS3 controller. Co-op seems like it would work really well and be a lot of fun though, so that is something I would have liked to have been able to try out.
The game is reasonably priced at $9.99. I couldn’t see spending more than that on it, but it is a good value considering the game will take several hours to complete (unless you’re super great at Elevator Action, in which case I tip my hat to you cause it is quite challenging), and a lot more than that if you care for high scores and getting medals other than bronze (and I’ll admit that I have one silver, the rest are bronze). Factor in local co-op and competitive with a family member or friend, and what you end up with is an entertaining and cheap game that is definitely worth a buy. For the trophy hunters, the game is packing 12 trophies and they will more than likely take you a while to get every single one of them (a hidden one requires you to get a gold medal on every stage, so good luck with that).
My only real complaint with the game is that it takes a little too long to actually get started thanks to some fairly long load times. Note that loading stages is really quick, so once you get playing you can pretty much keep playing with little downtime. It’s getting to the main menu from boot up that takes a while.
If you’re in the mood for a nice arcade game, and a good remake of a classic at that, then you should definitely considering purchasing Elevator Action Deluxe. There’s a lot of fun to be had here for ten bucks, and it’s a no-brainer if you liked the original Elevator Action or the NES port.
Elevator Action Deluxe gets a three out of five: GOOD.
* A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review.