G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Review
After the Transformers sequel, I was pretty sure I was never paying to go to a movie again. I believe my exact words were something like, "If I wanted to go and sit in the dark with a bunch of jerks and morons and waste my life, I'd go to work and turn off the lights." After much prodding, my girlfriend Wendi convinced me to give the whole movie-going thing another try, and we went to see G. I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. It. was. awesome. So awesome, in fact, that our conversation on the car ride home probably sounded a lot like the ones had around the country by eight-year-olds after they saw the movie; "And then the running! And the missiles! And the swords! And then the motorcycle! And the jumping!" We liked it. So, naturally, the two of us were very excited to play the game, which is billed as a sort of sequel to the film. To say our excitement was somewhat less exuberant could be the understatement of the century.
Note: I won't be including anything to spoilerific about the film's plot, so even if you haven't seen it, feel free to read on.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra The Video Game is being sold as, story-wise, a sequel to the unexpectedly great film, which was (duh) based on the cartoon we all grew up with. I won't rehash the details of the G.I. Joe playbook, as you probably already know most of it. Joes = good. Cobra = bad. But if you think you'll be continuing the film's adventure by playing, you're wrong. The "story" isn't much of a story at all. You'll spend most of the game's eight-hour campaign "rescuing (i.e. unlocking)" a number of Joes and blasting through waves of identical Cobra troops to stop the organization from… doing… something. Maybe. I think teleportation was involved. If that's all I can give you on the plot after finishing the whole game, you know there isn't too much going on.
But as much as a disappointment as it was to discover the "sequel" game wasn't actually a "sequel" to anything, the gameplay was a far, far greater letdown. I'll be honest; at first I was a bit charmed by the old-school shooter gameplay. After about an hour, though, the game's extreme faults began break through even my "give it a chance" attitude. G.I. Joe is a very, very basic third person shooter in which you select two of your favorite characters and blast through level of level after level of mind-boggling sameness. Each Joe has a signature move, and the Accelerator Suits from the film are in place as a substitute for Super Mario Bros.' Invincibility Star (you move faster, attack with more damage and don't sustain any yourself), but other than that, you hold the R-Trigger to spray endless bullets at millions of the same enemy – over and over and over. The enemies are repeated so often that by the time you make it to the game's second location, you'll have heard, "It's the Joes!" and "Stop them!" from more disposable troops than you'll ever want to remember. The shooter gameplay might seem like a nice throwback at first, but only a little bit of play time will reveal that this isn't the next-gen Contra you wish it was.