Glory Days 2 - NDS - Preview
Glory Days II: Brotherhood of Men sounds like the title of a retro game. The 2D, sprite-based graphics could be mistaken for a side-scrolling version of the Desert and Jungle Strike series from the 90s. But when gamers play it for the first time, they will be impressed and surprised by what the game is really about – and how it’s another unique offering for the most unique handheld.
Glory Days, Hellacious Afternoons
You wouldn’t expect touch-screen controls to appear in a 2D action game, especially one whose combat involves the control of military aircrafts. That’ll change as soon as the game’s intro – a heartfelt letter to parents written by a soldier going to war – comes to a close. The first mission details outline the primary goals, followed by a gameplay explanation screen that left more questions than answers. Two diagrams were shown: button commands on the top screen, which were placed next to bombs, gunfire, and ground troops; and command locations on the bottom screen, plus an image of the stylus hanging above the touch screen with arrows pointing in opposite directions.
When the mission began, I saw tanks on the bottom screen, a helicopter on the top screen, and game info (number of lives and missiles, unit progress, etc.). The “you can’t judge a book by its cover” rule should’ve been followed, but I assumed this was like every other game and pushed the D-pad to take flight. My helicopter started moving, I fired a few shots, and was abolished within the first minute. I started again by touching the bottom screen, which caused my copter’s crosshairs to appear. It also controls the copter’s movement. To move in a particular direction, touch that side of the screen. The closer you are to the edge (left or right), the faster your helicopter – or in other missions, a fighter jet – will fly. Touch the middle to stay neutral and to slow your speed.
The D-pad automatically shifts to weapon commands, allowing right and left-handed players to use the stylus with equal efficiency. Fire your guns by pressing Up or X; drop bombs by pressing Down or B.
You won’t instantly adapt to this control scheme. The crosshair aspect might sound like a lightgun shooter, but Glory Days II is not that kind of a game. Enemies aren’t going to be wiped out just because you aimed and fired in their direction. The location of your aircraft and its position in relation to the enemy are key factors in every assault. Also, because you are moving aircrafts by touching the screen, maneuverability may be an issue for a while. But the game felt intuitive from the start. It’s obvious that the developers have done their homework on game controls.
Commander and Chief
As one of the aircraft fighters in each mission, you are an integral part of the United States’ military. The mission rests on your ability to fly ahead of tanks, ground troops and other allies and wipe out all approaching forces. You may be expected to rescue loose ground troops while deploying others in enemy territory. Thus far, it has been revealed that enemy bases can be dealt with in two ways: by destroying them with bombs or gunfire or by deploying troops to take over the building and raise the American flag. The latter way ensures you’ve taken control of enemy territory. If you run out and destroy an enemy base before your allies arrive, it is possible that the enemy will send in other troops to reclaim the location.
The controls, while difficult to learn, are very well done. Glory Days II is a fast-paced action game, so there weren’t any chances for boredom to seep through this preview build. Sixteen missions are currently visible from the campaign screen, and with new gameplay elements and objectives added every mission, the game should offer bursts of excitement at every turn.
Additional play modes include Battle, a mode where players can set up custom battles, and Multiplayer, which we were unable to test but is expected to be a two-player version of the Battle mode.
Due at the end of the month, Glory Days II: Brotherhood of Men looks to bring new glory to the Nintendo DS. Stay with us as we bring you our full review in the coming weeks.