Narco Terror is a dual-stick shooter with an over-the-top action movie theme. I had fun playing it but it is one of those games that does exactly what you would expect but not much more.
In the game you play as a DEA agent named Quinn. There isn't a lot of story going on here, it's just a typical tale where our hero mows down hundreds of terrorists in order to save the day. There is the occasional flashy cutscene but nothing about the story in Narco Terror is going to stick with you. The game doesn't even have an ending cinematic. Once you eliminate the final boss, the credits roll, which is admittedly quite amusing.
If you have played any other dual-stick shooters like Assault Heroes, Renegade Ops or even classic games like Robotron 2084 or Total Carnage, then you will be instantly familiar with Narco Terror's gameplay. You can use the right analogue stick to shoot in any direction, you can throw grenades and you even have a melee attack, which is utterly worthless as all your standard weapons have infinite ammunition.
The action is fun in Narco Terror as the controls are responsive and there are so many destructible objects scattered throughout the levels. You will constantly find explosive barrels and parked jeeps to blow up. The explosions look great and you are encouraged to blow up as many things as possible as this is how you earn money. You then use this cash to upgrade your four different weapons.
The weapons in Narco Terror are nothing too spectacular. You start off with a pistol and as you play through the game, you will find a shotgun, an assault rifle and a minigun. The game is bad at telling you when you have found a new weapon. For instance, I didn't realise I had the minigun until the final boss battle. I might have missed something telling me that I had found a new weapon but it just seemed like I had suddenly acquired the weapon for no reason.
While the weapons aren't going to dazzle you with their originality they are still fun to use. The upgrade system is also good as it keeps the game interesting as you thinking about what weapon to upgrade next. The upgrade system is rather basic. You upgrade just while you are playing and there are only two upgrades for each weapon. The upgrades are nice though, usually making your weapons fire faster and do more damage. Your weapons also change their appearance when they are upgraded which is nice.
As you are killing enemies, you will notice that they will drop different ammo types. All of your guns can shoot out incendiary, armour piercing, stun and homing ammo types. All of these ammo types are limited and they deplete rather quickly so they don't add much to the overall combat. There are also special weapons that work in a similar fashion. You might find a rocket launcher, a grenade launcher or a laser rifle. These are immensely fun to use and they will just wipe out everything on screen. But like with the special ammo types, these special weapons don't last very long and before you know it, you will be back to using your normal weapons.
The enemies aren't very creative; they're all just terrorists that fight in different ways. Terrorists that use knives, terrorists that use guns, terrorists that use grenades... you get the idea. While none of the enemies in the game are going to surprise you, Narco Terror does a fine job of slowly ramping up the difficulty all the way up to the final boss, who was pretty challenging. The game isn't too punishing thanks to a helpful checkpoint system and at any time, you can have another player join the action.
Co-operative play in Narco Terror is exactly what you expect. At any point, a second controller can jump into the fray or you can play online. Online play seems to work pretty well but I don't find playing a game like this to be any fun with a stranger. Playing the co-op is exactly the same as playing the game in single-player. They didn't even bother to change the cutscenes to show two players instead of just one.
Aside from the campaign, there isn't much reason to come back to Narco Terror. It's about a 4-hour game, which is about much content as you would want from a game like this. The game is extremely repetitive, which is not a criticism but you can only do the same thing over and over for so long before it starts to drag. At least there are a handful of brief vehicle sections to break up the monotony a bit. Outside of the campaign, there are no additional game modes at all. You could try beating the game on a harder difficulty, upgrade your weapons fully or find any missing collectibles but these aren't great incentives.
Narco Terror is a decent looking game but don't exactly to be amazed by it or anything. Easily the best looking part of the game are the explosions which are huge and often fill the entire screen. The game does have nice lighting and particle effects and the levels are well detailed. But the game just doesn't look that great compared to other games like Renegade Ops or Gatling Gears.
The sound effects throughout Narco Terror are really disappointing. For a game that is supposed to be all about balls out action and chaos, it really does feature some pathetic sounding weapons. The pistol in particular is just awful, sounds one of those toy guns that shoots out foam darts. Aside from that, the explosions do sound beefy and the music does its job well. The voice acting is not bad too. It does sound rather cheesy but that's probably what the developers were going for.
All in all, Narco Terror is a perfectly decent dual-stick shooter. It has perfectly solid gameplay, decent production values and great explosions. But the game is far too generic for its own good. Dual-stick shooters are so common these days and to stand out in crowded market, you are going to have to do something really amazing or something new and Narco Terror does neither. If you are looking for a simple way to kill a few hours, Narco Terror will do the job nicely but there are much better dual-stick shooters out there like Renegade Ops and Geometry Wars 2.
THREE OUT OF FIVE
(A balanced game that has a mixture of strengths and weaknesses, meaning that it alternates between being good and bad in mostly equal measure.)