Have you ever conversed with someone who just went on and on about some dumb thing or another that you couldn't care less about? You know, the droning, talkative bore who makes you want to say, "Will you just shut up already?" G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra's story is the game equivalent of that same party pooper, interrupting the action so often with poorly written dialogue snippets that you can't get into a rhythm. The battles in this top-down shooter aren't anything special, but the gunplay has a simplicity that will initially appeal to fans of games like Commando and Ikari Warriors. It's too bad that Rise of Cobra so often puts the brakes on its own forward momentum by pointlessly pausing the action over and over again with story exposition outlined by hideous digitized portraits of the G.I. Joe film's stars.
6214947>Just stop telling me this stupid story and let me shoot already!None
Before each mission in The Rise of Cobra, you choose one of six Joes and then proceed to clear jungles, deserts, and snowdrifts of the Cobra terrorists that stand between you and finishing the game. The Joes' attacks vary, but as a rule, you'll go in with a standard ranged weapon, a supply of grenades or other explosives, and a limited-use special attack, such as Heavy Duty's burst fire. Then, you proceed to run around blowing stuff up using only the D pad and face buttons. It doesn't feel as slick as it should: You can't move and fire simultaneously, and the limited eight-way shooting afforded by the D pad may make you long for the smoothness of a touch-based scheme (the system's touch capabilities go unexplored). Yet when the action is given room to breathe, The Rise of Cobra is fun in the way that many top-down shooters are fun. You mow down legions of baddies, fight against a few interesting bosses, and even wreak havoc in the occasional tank. It isn't bullet hell, but the missions do have some amusing and challenging moments that are enjoyable to tackle.
The missions also have some maddening moments. Every enemy and object has a layer of invisible padding surrounding it, and you'll sometimes face sizable numbers of enemies in cluttered spaces. This weird collision detection makes it easy to get hung up on buildings, girders, walls, and other enemies, and your attempts to tumble away from your foes are often hindered by unseen cushions of air. These cushions seem to exist to provide room for taking cover using The Rise of Cobra's useless automated cover system, which allows you to hide behind certain objects and take less damage. The cover mechanic feels clunky and imprecise, however, so rather than enhance the gameplay, it just gets in the way. It's better to give objects a wide berth and stick to running and gunning, which becomes monotonous but is mechanically sound.