SONY PSP REVIEW: CODED ARMS

The last time I was inside a computer I was installing a sound card. Man, is my PC ever dirty. I can't imagine how it keeps running with all that crap in there. Of course I didn't clean it. I'm not anal retentive, you understand. If the computer can't work under those conditions what the hell good is it anyway? I just won't buy another until the planet becomes dust free.

Coded Arms for the PSP may be your first ever visit inside a computer as you enter into a cyber world in search of riches. These treasures are in the form of files that you locate and extricate. Things are really going your way until you encounter a program developed by the government called A.I.D.A. It's like a firewall designed to stop viruses and hackers. It's been abandoned for some time now but it's evolved on its own, not unlike those gators rumored to be in the sewers of New York. The A.I.D.A. is a nasty program rife with a plethora of creatures and soldiers that will definitely challenge your skills. It's protecting some of the best treasures in cyber space - the very ones that you want to get your hands on.

As far as a storyline goes that's about all there is. There's not a lot of motivation to drive you to completing the game. The scenery is excellent but the boxy, digitized format gets to be a little tiring as does the gameplay which is basically a Doom clone.

For a shooter Coded Arms isn't a bad offering. It has some originality but it really lacks magic. It's a functional game at best, although the four-player modes let you have some fun with your pals - or enemies.

One of the game's best features is the configurable control system. Not only can you map the controls to any buttons, including moving or aiming with the analog stick, but you can also adjust the speed of your character's movement as well as the sensitivity of the lock-on targeting system. As more enemies take to the screen you will encounter some bad slowdown which renders any adjustment moot. Too bad.

There are more than 30 weapons including sniper rifles, assault rifles, rocket launchers and various energy guns. You can upgrade weapons and gear to take on an assortment of creatures that run, jump, crawl and fly at you. All of the enemies are highly imaginative and there's a good assortment of them. It's just too bad the game is linear and affected by slowdown.

Visually everything looks amazing but you do tend to get used to it quickly. To replicate the inside of a network there are numbers, codes and integrated circuit patterns assimilated into all the environments. After a while I was dying just to see a tree. The music straddles the fence as it attempts to sound computerized yet organic enough to convey the appropriate mood for the situation. It's not something I would like to listen to out of context but it works well within the confines of the gameplay. Whatever you do, don't forget to manually save your progress because the game won't do it for you.

Deathmatch, Last Man Standing and Keep the Mark are the three multi-player modes. They break up the monotony of the linear gameplay and the redundant level designs. You can bring your weapons from the single-player mode into these modes which is great if you're attached to a certain gun or explosive device.

Since Coded Arms is the only shooter on the PSP, it's safe to say that it's not only the best shooter but it's also the worst. Actually it's somewhere in between. If you love Doom you'll like Coded Arms, but if you didn't care for Doom you'll hate this one.

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System: PSP
Dev: Konami
Pub: Konami
Release: July 2005
Players: 1
Review by StewXX
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
3.0
GRAPHICS
4.0
CONTROL
4.0
MUSIC/FX
3.5
VALUE
2.5