Mento's May Madness More: #3 - Wasteland Angel

May the Third

The game: Octane Games's Wasteland Angel

The source: Bundle Stars' Catnip Bundle

The pre-amble: Wasteland Angel is a post-apocalyptic vehicular combat game which invariably revolves around protecting an outpost of survivors from rampaging bandits for several waves. The protagonist is thrice armed with her custom armored car, her never-say-die attitude and Jennifer Hale's voice. Though most of the game is shown from a top-down perspective not unlike R.C. Pro Am or Renegade Ops, the special bonus missions switch to a bumper view to let you witness the carnage first-hand.

Like that one slightly less fun part of Borderlands times infinity.

The playthrough: This turned out to be another one like Your Doodles Are Bugged where the premise is intriguing enough but the game fails to expand or evolve on that concept in any meaningful way beyond the first few stages. I'm getting ahead of myself though.

Each group of stages are for all intents and purposes identical: You roll into a new town, fight off a dozen or so waves of raider enemies that are either trying to shoot you or abduct villagers (or both, in the case of the wild card "dual" vehicles) and it's your job to ensure your own and everyone else's safety. It can get pretty chaotic as waves keep coming in every twenty to thirty seconds and won't patiently wait for you to destroy any extant enemies in play. As stressful as all that sounds, it's actually presented in a fun Arcade sort of way where you're not always going to succeed and it's not a huge deal if you don't. Occasionally it comes down to being lucky enough to find the right power-ups when they're needed most, using the special weapons effectively whenever possible and hoping for enough basic gun upgrades that you can eventually turn the tide during the busier latter waves when Gypsy, the heroine's armored vehicle, becomes a literal killing machine.

I've wanted to add a concept page to the wiki for games that use fictionalized versions of the US map and call it "Amerikinda". Don't have nearly enough examples though.

Honestly, as much as I hate any sort of "protect X for Y minutes" scenario, it serves the gameplay well enough and is at least broken up with boss fights and the bonus levels. Switching to the first-person view for the bonus levels - in which the only goal is to survive as long as possible while destroying an infinite influx of invaders - is a neat idea for a mindlessly fun palette cleanser that's often required after all those tense civilian-protecting missions.

The vehicle controls are a bit unfortunate, balanced as they are between an Arcade shooter where you just hold a desired direction to zip across that way and an actual driving game in which simply turning around can be a bit of a chore. The guns are punchy but take a few upgrades before they become truly effective and I just have a Pavlovian distaste for anything with wave-based anythings. So while I doubt I'll be playing this game again, I wouldn't necessarily dismiss it out of hand for anyone else. But hey, saying "I disliked it but you might not" isn't particularly helpful purchasing advice. Instead I'd suggest you all stick with Renegade Ops, because that seems to look better, have a lot more going on than the same civilian protection mission over and over and a great multiplayer mode to boot.

The extremely goofy first-person view. Like the exploding rickshaws of Saints Row 3, it feels more like some bright spark designer saw it mid-development and thought "this is way too much fun to not include".

The verdict: Nah.

Edited by Driadon

Do Not Touch Willie...good advice!