G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra DS Review

G.I. Joe (or Action Man to give it its UK title) was a doll that a boy could play with without being embarrassed. Lets face it, playing with a Barbie or a Sindy wouldn’t be very masculine now, would it?

G.I. Joe has starred in comics, cartoons and many games over the years, but only now has the popular toy spawned a big budget, live action film. As the cycle goes, if there’s a big budget film, then there’s going to be a game tie-in to go with it, making money off the back of the name.

Unlike the console versions, this DS version is played from a top-down perspective, which has been used in everything from Gauntlet (the game actually uses the engine of the unreleased Gauntlet DS) to Grand Theft Auto. Little effort has been put into the visuals though, resulting in them looking dated and lacking in any real detail. At least it remains fast and smooth at all times, though.

Unsurprisingly, you get the opportunity to control more than one Joe, in fact there’s 6 of them. Whilst none of them actually has the very mundane name of Joe, they do have brilliant names such as Heavy Duty, Ripcord and Snake-Eyes, amongst others. You get to choose your Joe at the start of every mission or when you carelessly lose a life, and they also have their own weapons and special abilities to make use of, as well.

The characters each have a single weapon, most of which are of the automatic variety. They also have explosive secondary weapons, such as grenades and mines, which are handy for plugging up buildings that enemies keep respawning from, as well as to blow up obstacles and enemies in your path. Finally, the special abilities can be used when a meter reaches its maximum, giving you various perks such as invulnerability and one shot kills, amongst others.

The Joes aren’t able to run and shoot simultaneously, though there’s a dodge move to keep you out of the way from those bullets, and a cover system, as well. The latter is a pretty pointless inclusion, it doesn’t always work as it should and the game could have easily done without it, though it can be pretty much ignored.

As you’d expect, The Rise of Cobra is all out action, thus destroying and killing are the two main bullet points of the game. There’s little rest allowed for your trigger finger, although you do get to rest your virtual feet for a bit with some vehicle sections, the military kind of course.

The game is fine for what it does, although problems come in the form of getting stuck in the scenery from time to time, whilst the story will surely make more sense after seeing the film, and finally the campaign is over all too soon. The latter could have been remedied with an enemy campaign, although playing as the baddies is limited to a single bonus mission upon completing the game.

I was unable to test the multiplayer portion of the game, which would, of course, add life to it, although you do require a copy of the game for each DS (the game can be played by 2-4 people). The instruction manual informs me that multiplayer has three modes, which involves death matches, as well as destroying and defending targets.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is good, explosive fun, although it’s not entirely free of problems. The game certainly could have done with a little extra polish, perhaps ridding it of its issues, although the end product could have been much, much worse.

Yo Joe!