Untrashed № 0 - Kill Switch the first and the last third-person shooter for GBA

Untrashed № 0 - Kill Switch the first and the last third-person shooter for GameBoy Advanced. Review


Genre: TPS

Developer: Namco, Visual Impact [GBA]

Publisher: Namco, Destination Software, Inc. (DSI) [GBA]

Distributor: Zoo Digital Publishing (PAL)

Release date: (NA 2004-09-16), (PAL) 2004-10-22

Ratings: ESRB: Teen, PEGI: 16+

MSRP: $ 17.99

Also available on: PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC

Note: This text was written in 2011 for Russian mobile magazine MobiTree. I threw this text into the blog since I didn’t want to see how this text remained useless.


Review for GameBoy Advanced game Kill Switch, Логово Тристама, TristamK Lair, Untrashed image, screenshot 3


So some kind of holiday happened on the street of Game Boy Advanced owners. In 2004, Nintendo released the first (and last) third-person shooter for this portable console. TPS was adapted from PS2 and XBOX by Visual Impact company and published by Destination Software. Of course, there was no question of porting, so they released some kind of demake . The main feature of the project was the widespread use of cover gameplay mechanic, thanks to which the character acquires the ability to hide behind objects and snipe around.


A similar mechanic was also used in the previous project from NAMCO, called Dead to Rights. But if in this game the cover system was just an element of the gameplay, a kind of addition to the process, then in Kill Switch it became the basis of the gameplay.


Visual Impact has been experimenting with game engines for a long time to achieve the same effect on the GBA as on older consoles. And oddly enough they did it. They managed to convey the feelings that come when playing a game on a PC or PS2. The main character tumbles in the same way, hides behind any bedside tables, boxes and throws grenades. They even the a blind shooting! (i.e. when the character does not have to expose his body to the bullets, but simply by raising the weapon above the barrels to shot a burst at the enemy). It's important to note that Kill Swich is literally the only one game of its kind on the Game Boy Advanced. Other similar projects, at best, provided an opportunity to contemplate the gameplay from the top, but not directly from the back of the protagonist.


In this game we have to play for the soldier Bishop. Bishop is a man with no memories, a machine which built to fight. The soldier is controlled by a man from the remote command center of yet another super-classified organization. The plot is based on the fact that a greedy granpa Archer, decided to sell soldier management technology to other equally greedy people, so that they would later organize the Third World War. This technology is intercepted by one of the opposing sides, and here various vicissitudes begin, in which our hero participates. Over time, Bishop begins to remember some events from the past, even seeing a certain woman in a beautiful dress asking her name, and gradually the perfect machine for eliminating the evil Russian Ivans and various representatives of the Arab population ceases to obey orders. But sadly, the storyline was not delivered to the Game Boy Advanced version of Kill Switch. The entire plot boils down to a pre-mission briefing, written in two lines. Kill, explode, run, repeat. And that's all.


Review for GameBoy Advanced game Kill Switch, Логово Тристама, TristamK Lair, Untrashed image, screenshot 2



Being a 3D game (more precisely, pseudo-3D), KS was very demanding on the resources of such a low-powered console like the GBA, and therefore it was decided to sacrifice graphics for the sake of gameplay. As a result, we have: unpresentable graphics, terrible sprite characters, which looking from afar like pixel a mash of unknown origin, angular models and empty levels. The sound was also cuted of. Together with the plot dialogues, all the voice acting was cuted, as a result of which there were only rather meager screams of the foe and a semblance of a soundtrack. Not that the older console version of the game is much different. At that time, the game bribed primarily with its innovative gameplay and such trivial things as enemies of the same type that change their shape good if three times times or a mediocre level of graphic performance were simply not paid attention to.


The only "thing" that has been lovingly carried over from the older consoles to the GBA without significant changes is the gameplay. Yes, the gameplay has evolved from a fast-paced shooter rather to a kind of tactical action, but it still gives a rather unique feeling that at the time of the game's release, it was difficult to get from a portable console. If, when playing on the same PC, you had to spin like Sonic, showering lead enemie, then on the Game Boy Advanced, inadvertently running to the center of the location, you can go for such a feat to the nearest checkpoint. And now anyone who wants to try to run all six levels with a swoop is inevitable death. At the time of its release, KS was really something unique, because here were no projects like Gears of War or Army of Two, and all sorts of cover systems and blind firing were really something unique. Those in fact, Kill Switch is the progenitor of cover mechanics, which will de facto become industrial the standard for many years on consoles from Microsoft and Sony. For the development of the first part of GoW, at one time they even called the game designer who developed the core of the gameplay in KS.


Besides the change in the pace of the game, there have been other gameplay changes. In particular, the enemies have seriously changed and not that for the better side. Now, not only are they a mash of pixels, but now they do incredibly dumb mistakes. For example, they now know how to ignore grenades that have landed next to them. Enemies also acquired the skill to sit in a shelter behind barrels of fuel. But tbh these are certainly useful skills, they do not use very often. Also, many can be struck by the ability of bots to shoot through any geometry of the level. How do you like this example. You are standing next to the wall (it is on the left), in front of the turn to the left. Foes shoot at you, you start to catch damage. And you can see how the bullets fly through the wall. You "lean" against the wall and the bullets miraculously fly past you. We move away from the wall and start get damage again. The same thing happens with iron containers, boxes and other "shelters". But no one prevents us from doing the same. It is enough to sit down at any box and, without leaning towards it, start shooting. Moreover, accuracy with this method of shooting increases significantly. And the last unpleasant moment may be that sometimes it may not be clear from where enemy are firing at you. No one is visible, and but your health is decreasing. Later it turns out that you were fired at from the opposite side of the location and at the same time the sight indicator (which turns red when you hover over the enemy) does not show that there is an enemy somewhere.


Review for GameBoy Advanced game Kill Switch, Логово Тристама, TristamK Lair, Untrashed image, screenshot 1




The project itself is quite interesting and can be recommended for those who have version of Kill Switch on the other platforms or who are interested in special projects on GBA. But the rest are better off walking by.


+ The first and last TPS for portable system by Nintendo

+ Excellent implementation of TPS mechanics from older consoles


- Bugs

- Dumb AI

- Poor graphics and animation

- Lack of plot

Final Score: 6.5

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