Coded Arms
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Ever since Halo came out on the Xbox, the de facto control scheme for a first person shooter is that the left analog stick moves and the right analog stick looks. But how can that be done when the Sony PSP only has one analog stick? Simple enough, they go back to the method used when Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was released for the N64, only the look and move are reversed.

Such is the case with Konami’s Coded Arms.Think of Coded Arms as a cross between DOOM and Tron, as the story centers around an abandoned combat simulator program called AIDA

Eventually AIDA becomes a prime target for hackers who log into the system searching for some prized files, but as AIDA evolves, it infests itself with security bots and bug programs, thereby decreasing the chances of survival of any hacker who dares try to jack in.

Still, these hackers, called the Coded Ones, risk their lives to seek out the inner workings of AIDA. You are one of them.

Armed with a pistol to start, hackers search each level for any weapons or armor files that might be scattered in the area, and then reach the exit portal to the next level. The setup is fairly linear, and each sector ends with a level boss that needs to be terminated in order to secure the sector.

Combat is similar to any other first person shooter on the market, but the real challenge comes in handling the controls. Since the PSP only has one analog stick, the four buttons are used to look around. The last time this was done was when Turok came out for the N64, only the analog stick was used to look around. It is definitely an acquired taste and will take a while for anyone to get used to.

Sadly though, there really isn’t much detail in the game. Aside from three types of settings (ruins, city, and base), there are no outdoor environments, and they are all in the shape of blocky rooms.

There is also a scarce variety in enemies. Bases and cities have machines and security bots, while ruins consist of bugs. Not only that, but there are only six stages of gameplay, and the ending is so weak, that it can give the ending of Halo 2 a run for its money.

There is an infinity mode as well, but it is just several stages played at random.

Admittedly, Coded Arms is one of the better looking games on PSP. The gameplay is very smooth, and there is a lot of detail in every setting.

The same can’t be said about the sound, as it is simplistic, and nothing to really write home about.Multiplayer modes such as Deathmatch, Last Man Standing, and Keep the Mark (Coded Arms’ version of Halo’s Oddball), are available, but only in ad hoc mode.

Despite being heavily touted before the PSP’s release, Coded Arms turns out to be a slight letdown. It is not as bad as many other websites claim it is, but it’s still not the best start to making a first person shooter on the PSP.

It earns 3 + GiN Gems for being a look at what the future of the PSP shooter may hold, but also reminding us that there is a long way to go.

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