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Assault Heroes 2

XBox Live Arcade is a sea of arcade ports and other unique, sometimes quirky games. A sequel being released for an arcade game is something of a rarity. However when the predecessor was a successful title, it really shouldn't such a surprise when a new title is released.

If you have played the first Assault Heroes game, you will feel right at home in this sequel. While having played through the previous title will help with some of the plot point, it is not necessary to still have an enjoyable time.

Assault Heroes 2 starts out with a series of scenes that reveals the story behind the game. You learn that the final boss from the first Assault Heroes game was not the final boss. As you make your way through each section, you come ever closer to facing that final showdown.

Assault Heroes 2 is a top-down shooter that features a number of vehicles that you can use to blast your way through each level. You start with a capable 4x4 able to shoot anywhere on the map. As the game progresses, you can hijack enemy vehicles such as a tank or helicopter. The controls are intuitive as you maneuver the vehicle through each section shooting enemy and structure alike.

Environments are destructible, you will quickly find out, which adds a nice touch to the game. Trees and buildings burn and crumble as you shoot them. As enemies storm out of bunkers, you can destroy the building; stopping the line of soldiers bent on taking you out. Enemies that hide behind a tree or structure can also be killed easily as your bullets destroy their cover. Scattered throughout each area are weapons upgrades that allow you to shoot flames or missiles instead of bullets.

The game is broken up into stages that save your progress as you enter each new area. And while that sounds simple, getting into each new area is something of a challenge. You will have to take down a huge boss that unleashes multiple, devastating attacks. The battles are also anything but straight forward as each boss has multiple areas you must attack to destroy it. In some cases, the boss transforms into another creature in the midst of battle.

With an arcade game, expectations are usually pretty low with regard to production qualities. However, in a constant action game, such as Assault Heroes, graphics almost take a back seat and are largely unnoticeable. That is not to say that the graphics are something awful to look at. The graphics are actually pretty solid and show damage as your attacks hit them with stray, or intentional, bullets. The audio will assault your ears with loud explosions and screams of enemies as they die while you storm your way past each area.

In addition to playing the game solo, co-op has been added that allows you to play with a friend either locally or online. The addition of a friend in to the mix helps you complete each area a little easier by using strategy to concentrate on different portions of the map. With a co-op player, you also have the ability to perform special moves and unleash devastating attacks.

Assault Heroes 2 is a fun romp through many diverse environments. The top-down presentation allows you to see multiple lines of attacks as soldiers stream towards you. The controls are responsive whether on foot or maneuvering one of the many vehicles. Co-op play adds a nice element to the game by introducing special moves that you can only perform in co-op mode. The game does, at times, feel monotonous as you move, shoot and kill a boss in each area. However, that is an acceptable price of admission for an otherwise worthy addition to the XBox Live Arcade library. If you were a fan of the first, you will enjoy this sequel just as much, if not more. If you haven't gotten a chance to play the first game yet, you will not miss out on anything that would detract from your enjoyment. If you have points to spare, or don't mind plunking down some cold cash to obtain a few, you cannot go wrong with this fun title.