Developer: Mattini Games
Genre: Action, Shooter
Price: 80 Microsoft Points
Countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States
Players: 1 offline
MSA Julie features a novel combination of two-stick-shooter and motorbike racing game. While helping the French agent Julie Cevoir on her hunt for super villain Dr. Kreutzer you have to master bike physics while clearing the way off enemies. In twenty increasingly challenging missions preceded by an extensive tutorial the story is told in professionally recorded dialogs and comic stills.
Though the gameplay graphics won’t win any beauty contests, the action and presentation make MSA Julie a tough title to leave in the dust.
Still nursing her wounds from her last failed mission, Julie has left being a motorcycle-riding super agent in the dust, deciding instead to pursue a career as a stunt woman. She was the best there was at what she did (bub), so it’s no surprise when her old military commander contacts her to propose bringing her back into the service.
Julie wants to decline, but when she learns that she might finally get revenge for her shameful trouncing several years ago, she dons her machine pistol, hops on her bike, and rides out, guns a-blazing.
Immediately, MSA Julie feels like a cross between Excite Bike and Line Rider. The player accelerates to move Julie across the screen, hitting ramps to jump. The left stick will control the path of the bike, and will spin it when it takes to the air. To maintain momentum, it is vital to land all jumps with the back wheel down. Though a quick tap of the X button will bring Julie back upright, it will cost valuable seconds. If the player is unable to reach the checkpoint before running out of time (or hit points), the level will have to be restarted.
This gets trickier once combat comes into the picture. The right analog stick controls the direction that Julie will fire her machine pistol. Enemies (flying and ground-based) and mines will have to be taken out if Julie is going to reach her goal before time runs out. Controlling the jumps while targeting enemies makes for a decent challenge.
Combine enemy destruction with as many consecutive flips as possible for huge bonus points. Each stage is graded upon completion, so big combos matter!
Completing a stage will present a new cut scene, furthering the story. The voice acting and comic book graphics are extremely well done, even if the writing can be a little hokey at times. Players may find themselves trying stages numerous times just to get the next snippet of dialogue.
MSA Julie eases players in, but unloads hell as the stages progress. The game features an amazing(ly hot) stunt woman taking on impossible odds, a combat system that rewards skill and creativity, and some expertly executed cut scenes. It costs a scant 80 Microsoft points, so get rolling!
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