Games based on musicians have always been a rarity, especially before the days of Rock Band and Guitar Hero. But in 1994, Midway released an arcade game that combined the intensity of a light gun shooter with the power of an iconic rock band. Enter Revolution X, a game that takes you on a wild journey to save Aerosmith from the clutches of a dominatrix and her army of gas-masked men. Let’s dive into this unique and cheesy gaming experience.
A Dystopian World and a Rock ‘n’ Roll Rescue
In this dystopian future, Aerosmith is still relevant, and the world is ruled by a British dominatrix-slash-schoolteacher and her army. As a player, you and up to two friends embark on a mission to rescue Aerosmith from the New Order Nation. Armed with machine guns, you must fight your way through waves of stormtroopers on rollerskates to save the band. Are you up for the challenge?
A Unique Blend of Cheese and Action
Revolution X is more than just a repetitive light gun shooter. The game’s quirky combination of seriousness and wackiness sets it apart. While it tries to convey the message that “Music is the weapon” in a dystopian setting, the digitized sprites adorned in vibrant outfits and the exhilarating helicopter ride through the city add a touch of cheese to the mix.
Unleash the Power of Music
The gameplay itself revolves around holding down the fire button and mowing down hordes of soldiers. Revolution X replaces the traditional light gun with a mounted machine gun that controls a crosshair on the screen. If you’re playing the game on an emulator, using a mouse offers better accuracy. As you progress, you can power up your gun and CDs, which you can then shoot like buzzsaws. Destroying every part of the bosses becomes crucial to their defeat.
On-Rails Action and Branching Paths
Each level takes you on an on-rails journey, with enemies appearing left and right. Unlike other games in this genre, Revolution X gives you no time to react before the enemies start firing. Branching paths offer the illusion of choice, but they often lead you back to the main path after facing additional challenges. Completing all three missions in any order unlocks the final level.
Steep Difficulty, Immersive Experience
Revolution X is known for its challenging gameplay. It’s designed to keep you pumping in credits, making it a true quarter muncher. While emulators offer infinite credits, playing on an actual arcade cabinet can be unforgiving. The game introduces time limits, intense boss fights, and sections that put your skills to the test. Completing the game and unlocking the best ending, where you party with Aerosmith, requires finding all five band members hidden throughout the game.
A Technological Feat of the Mid-’90s
Revolution X showcases impressive visuals for its time. Though it lacks the FMV backgrounds found in games like Area 51, the game employs zooming and scaling techniques to create a pseudo-3D effect. However, the scaling can sometimes result in pixilation. The destructible environments add a layer of interactivity, requiring you to shoot open windows and break wine bottles to discover hidden power-ups.
Digitized Graphics and Memorable Soundtrack
The characters in Revolution X are digitized graphics, reminiscent of the Mortal Kombat series. While they may become repetitive, the enemy variety, including roller skating soldiers, colorful ninjas, and spear-throwing natives, keeps the gameplay fresh. Aerosmith’s involvement in the game adds an extra layer of excitement. The soundtrack features four Aerosmith songs, alongside other rock compositions that capture the essence of the era.
Porting Challenges and Limited Credits
Revolution X received several ports, but none of them live up to the original arcade experience. The Genesis version suffered cuts in audio and graphical quality, while the Super Nintendo version appeared even more unpolished. CD versions for the PlayStation and Saturn offered enhanced visuals, but some compromises were made in terms of speech samples and sprite resolution. All ports suffer from limited credits, making it challenging to complete the game without additional assistance.
A Fun, Cheesy Adventure
Is Revolution X a masterpiece? Not exactly, whether you love or hate Aerosmith. The gameplay can feel repetitive, and the challenge at times seems unfair. However, what Revolution X offers is a unique and ridiculous concept that guarantees a laugh-filled experience. From the eccentric enemies to Stephen Tyler’s iconic voice lines, the game’s charm is undeniable. Grab MAME, gather a few friends, and immerse yourself in this cheesy adventure.
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