Friday, 4 March 2016

Quartet 2 - Arcade



Let the poncy title games, begin!


For an old game there's a little bit of charm still left in this one. Quartet 2, in which we adopt the Gauntlet model of gaming and having several colour coded players running around the levels but instead we drop it to a 2D platformer, throw in some guns and weapons, some physical powerups and so on.

As opposed to a chicken, that would be original at least.

From the off, in Quartet 2, you get to choose from Caucasian guy 1, Caucasian guy 2, Caucasian Girl and Complimentary Black Guy, running by the names of Lee, Joe, Mary and Edgar and their photos looking like some offcut designs from the original Dragonball series of anime. I'm guessing this line up was done for the thinking "White Male most popular demographic so let's have two of those, then throw in some others 'just in case' someone wants to use them". Though having said that, they all do have slightly different weapons and slightly different weapons during upgrades.

Lots of enemies, lots of action and fairly smoothe too!

The premise is simple enough in Quartet 2, start the level, travel to the end and kill the boss that holds the key, then leave via the door. On the way you may find various power ups in the guise of jetpacks, higher jumping, more points, weapon upgrades and such. Also found within the levels are bouncing orbs that can be shot to cycle through colours, giving rise to the possibility of gaining weapon upgrades if you collect it with your characters main colour being selected, or just more points. However, upgrading your weapon too many times resets it back to the first point, which may or may not be a boon or hindrance depending upon your character, but gives you an incentive to hunt for more orbs.

Special weapons for each person, but who really cares?

However, you also have a limit on health and while the game plays, your health drops steadily. Getting hit, shot, or just collided with by the enemies will plummet your health to dangerously low levels and dropping to zero is the end game situation for your character unless you want to pump in another credit and keep playing.

Joe will win the day, with his stupid quiff

Given the time and technology available, Quartet 2 is proudly holding the "Cartoony" appearance because it really can't be doing anything else with such limited capacity. However you can expect the rooms and levels to be flooded with enemies from time to time with no slow-down happening in the game. Monsters, as cartoony as one can make them, spawn periodically and endlessly from key spawn doorways and trapdoors to hamper our characters progress while the boss will take multiple hits before going down, increasing in speed and threat until that point.

Mary in red, dancing with me... Cheek to cheek...

The sounds within Quartet 2 are quite chirpy and cheerful for the music, tripping along to an almost easy-going set of musical scores while the blippy noises and beepy squeakies give the game a certain charm that improves to the overall experience in that this is rather innocent little game before the times of blood, guts, gore and games taking that "dark" and "edgy" approach, it's cute and cheerful and for all intents and purposes could be a game show of the future.

It looks complicated, most of it can be ignored and just gun it for the key.

Overall, Quartet isn't a bad game but it's not a great game. There's too many times that you'll find your character dropping all of their items after colliding with an enemy (including the door key) and having to backtrack to get them and then dropping it again when you arrive back to the same enemy now that it has respawned and sits awaiting to fuck up your day the same way it already has done so. Give it a try however if you see it around, the responsive controls may let you feel for the days when playable games were all that a game really needed to be without relying on gimmicks and sexualisation.