It’s only taken me 12 years to get around to writing this. That’s not bad, right?
The release of the Xbox was around the time I was heavily writing for the Australian standalone version of Gamespot (a very different creature to the site it is today), and one of the consequences of that is that an awful lot of the games I own for the original Xbox are review code.
Many are stamped not for resale (and I can respect that), and many showed up without my particularly chasing them. Or, in the case of Combat Elite: WWII Paratroopers, even actually reviewing them.
There’s a pretty good reason for that, however. Combat Elite: WWII Paratroopers was to have been published by Acclaim, but it was due for publication right around the time that Acclaim went down the gurgler.
The review disc showed up, I had it in the pile of “somebody’s got to write something about this”… and then Acclaim was no more.
That left Combat Elite: WWII Paratroopers in limbo until a new publisher picked it up, but to the best of my knowledge, that never actually happened here in Australia. The Internet tells me the Xbox (and PS2) versions did see a release in the US via SouthPeak Games, but they never had a presence here.
To be honest, I’d forgotten entirely about Combat Elite: WWII Paratroopers until I noticed the disc case peeking out from under Panzer Dragoon Orta yesterday. It took me a while to remember what it even was, which doesn’t bode well for me ever having played it before either.
A quick bit of gameplay — I probably only lasted around 30 minutes — shows why. It’s a top down, semi-RPG-esque WWII era shooter with pretty shaky aiming and health mechanics, halfway between the kind of health and combat management I adore in some of the console D&D RPGs of the era and, say, Capcom’s Commando.
But not as good as either.
Or at least, not as good as the 30 minutes I played, anyway. Back in the day, had Acclaim survived, I would have persevered, because sometimes games really don’t show their good side until later on.
Alex goes off, checks the internet…
Nope, seems like my instincts were spot on in this case. It’s mediocre at best, and otherwise just an oddity of a game on my shelves otherwise.
Fat Duck Tech Retro Xbox Game Rankings
- Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time
- Taito Legends 2
- Sid Meier’s Pirates!
- Panzer Dragoon Orta
- Outrun 2
- Ninja Gaiden
- The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
- Godzilla: Save The Earth
- The Punisher
- SSX Tricky
- NFL Street
- Disney Extreme Skate Adventure
- FIFA 2004
- NHL Rivals 2004
- Spy vs Spy
- Combat Elite: WWII Paratroopers
- Rugby League
- Judge Dredd: Dredd vs Death
- Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball
Combat Elite: WWII Paratroopers isn’t quite as broken as Dredd, or a non-game like DOA Volleyball, and I’m ever-so-slightly more likely to return to it than I am to Rugby League, but that’s got a lot more to do with choices of subject matter. Still, if the best you can do is mediocre against a tide of much better games, you’ve got little chance.
Next time: Da da da da… da da da…