When I look back at the games that I played this year, there is one name that sticks out: Team Fortress 2. The game, which is now free to play, is without doubt one of the best multiplayer shooters ever created for the PC. I'd go as far as to place it right in the second spot after the godly Unreal Tournament 99 (Epic then decided to turn to mediocre games with nice visuals, a shame).
Team Fortress has a huge following. You can see that when Valve pushes out new community maps and items, which they do on a regular basis. Game Maker Eric Ruth's love for the game made him think about a 2D arcade version of the game. And so, Team Fortress Arcade was born.
The game is a typical side scrolling jump and run game set in the Team Fortress 2 universe. You can play all classes of the original game. Since it is 2D the designer hat to make compromises but more about that later on.
The game begins at the class selection screen where you and up to three buddies (hot seat for the win) can pick their classes. Some classes are better suited for a single player play through, but since you have got unlimited continues, you should not have problems completing the game with any class available.
You should take a look at the readme as it contains the controls for each player. Player one for instance uses WASD to move, H to shoot and U to jump. You can press both the shoot and jump button together for a powerful melee attack.
All characters have at least one special ability. The Soldier can rocketjump, the Scout double-jump and the Spy can cloak.
Probably the biggest let down of this game are the enemies. Instead of having to fight against characters of the Red team, you fight against red robots. While that's nice and entertaining for a while, it does not motivate as much as beating the crap out of Team Fortress classes.
You have to battle a red Team Fortress 2 class at the end of each stage in a boss fight. These fights are usually not that difficulty to complete, even though the bosses have lots of life.
Stages include the good old attack maps where you just have to reach the end of the stage, but also payload and control point stages known from the game. The variety is good in this regard.
Team Fortress Arcade is most fun with at least one additional human player. You may have troubles playing the game with four players on one keyboard at the same time, especially if one of the player's has big hands and fingers.
Playing with additional players opens up interesting options. You could go for a heavy medic combo for instance, or medic soldier for that matter. The medic's ability to heal is invaluable in the game if you want to complete it without dying.
Team Fortress Arcade offers enough variety for Team Fortress fans to justify a play through. The game would shine if the developer would replace the robots with members of team red.
You can download the free game for Windows PCs from the developer website. Eric Ruth mentioned that he will update the game in the coming months with new modes, difficulty challenges, online co-op (awesome) and player versus player matches.
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