As I decompress following the epic weekend that was PAX East, it's back to business for us at 1UP Infinite. In fact, more like unfinished business. Towards the end of our Turbo Overkill review, I mentioned how the final level was locked behind the game's official release date. Not only that, but secrets that were unlocked during the second half of the game had the same fate. I couldn't play the game exactly on the release date due to PAX East things. Now that we're back, I couldn't wait to take on the train level myself.
Armed with the knowledge I've had from my interview with Sam Prebble, I expected the final level in Episode 1 to be an epic one and it failed to disappoint. The eighth and final level, Artifact Zero, spends the first half of the level on a speeding train, yet it takes the train level concept and spins it on its head. It is notorious for first-person shooters to fill the quota of at least one train level per game. So how about trains and cars?
While the level is centered around this train, getting from the back to the front which houses "Artifact Zero," it's not as simple as it sounds. There are various obstacles, specifically along the freeway it's on, that block it from being a straight path. The previous level, Rooftops, actually foreshadows this "highway" during one of the building sections. As this is a cyberpunk-themed game, everything is a hovercraft, including the train. This means that players will have to take several detours to keep up with the train as it breaks away from the path.
Jumping from hovercar to hovercar requires precise timing as it's insta-death for the player should they fail. As they traverse, enemies will spawn on larger trucks, forcing the player to descend until it's safe to board the train again. While the level itself is the most exciting and the music is the best there is, it's by no means a perfect level. Before I boot up Turbo Overkill I read the patch notes for the game. Since its release, there have been four hotfixes with tiny bug fixes in between. The largest number of changes came from this very level as it was highly broken on release. Being that I didn't play this level on release, it's tough for me to make a point of reference.
I did, however, end up reaching two game-breaking bugs, both of which I did not know what was the cause at first. It wasn't until I finally cleared this section that I understood what caused it. I'm not sure if I can even replicate the glitch, nor would I want to. There's a part of the level where after jumping across lanes on top of cars, you use the jump pad to land on the train again. The first time I glitched out was when I landed on the train with the jump pad far too early. The level's architecture is scripted depending on where you are at each point in the level. Since the game thought I was somewhere else, it trapped me in an area where I couldn't escape.
The other more humorous glitch was when I was stuck on an infinite death loop. I found myself on the same jump pad train but I, again, made it here prematurely. I would later realize that I would have to take a certain path for a piece of the environment to trigger. Anyways, I saw the train I needed to go on so I figured "why not jump and skip the section itself?"
Not only did the game not like that one bit, but landing back on the main train triggered a checkpoint. Since I entered the checkpoint upon death, guess who was stuck in an infinite loop? I had to restart the level from the beginning because even exiting the game and loading the level to my current checkpoint continued the death loop. (heh, Deathloop)
I finally made it to the end of the train which held "Artifact Zero," which looked like Samus curled up in a ball from Metroid. It would eventually transform into a freakishly huge monster with eyeballs, again, feeling right at home in Metroid. Since this is a FPS, would this also fit right at home in Metroid Prime?
This is the first legitimate boss in Turbo Overkill and to round out Episode 1, it's deceptively simple. You're in a medium-sized arena with hordes of monsters spawning ad infinitum. The boss in the center has a number of eyeballs that the player must shoot out, depicting a piece of its health. Once all the eyeballs have been shot, Artifact Zero will begin its second phase. Platforms are then raised to reveal a giant eyeball that players must whittle down until its death.
This was difficult not for the boss itself, but because of its attack patterns. Its stand-out attacks are lasers that it shoots from its eyes. The more eyes you shoot out, the less effective this attack is. Its second attack is a wide blasting attack that will hit the player no matter where they are on the map. On harder difficulties, this will one shot kill the player and it can only be avoided by hiding behind a barricade. The problem here is that if there's a horde nearby the barricade, it can be just as dangerous within shelter.
The final attack it has is easily the most annoying. Artifact Zero shoots green lasers that move clockwise and will shred through HP and shields. The only consistent safe spot is on top of the pillars, yet the boss can still fire at the player in plain sight. There's another safe spot in one of the corners of the map, but the player is a sitting duck to the surrounding enemies.
It's advised not to use ammo on the enemies as you need as much ammo as you can spend on the boss. There are two options, burn the boss down quickly or use the enemies as fodder for health and ammo pickups. The longer the fight goes on, the lesser your chances are at survival, so I decided it was best to burn the boss down. After finally killing Artifact Zero, the episode was concluded and I was thanked for attending PAX. How thoughtful!
Overall, my experience with Turbo Overkill was a mix of emotions. I was elated and happy that such a high-octane game existed. There were parts that were equally as frustrating as it was fun, but at the end of it I greatly enjoyed my experience with the title. Thank you once again Apogee and Trigger Happy for allowing me a chance to play what I truly feel is one of the best FPS titles I've played in a long time.
Turbo Overkill is now available via Early Access.