Compromised

words manifested by: AJ Johnson

A game by Super Soul for PC and Xbox 360, originally released in 2012.
In Compromised, you take on the role of Aero, a defensive ship tasked with fighting off an invading virus that threatens to destroy everything. You travel into outlying areas to stop the virus before it can reach the core, but you are soon cut off, stranded in the wastelands and unable to receive any new directives. Alone and outnumbered, you attempt to fight your way back home.

While Compromised has a twin-stick control scheme, it is not a twin-stick shooter in the traditional sense. The one area where the game adheres to twin-stick conventions is in confining the player in a number closed arenas where he must circle strafe his enemies, face off against multiple waves, and manage large numbers of incoming forces that each have their own set of behaviors and attack types. These environments range from cramped spaces to large multi-screen areas where it’s possible to outrun your enemies altogether and turn to make a stand.

Where Compromised really sets itself apart is in its atmosphere and environments. First off, the game is not comprised entirely of enclosed arenas, but rather punctuated by them. The player will often find himself exploring narrow corridors, dealing with environmental obstacles, and fighting of small spurts of enemies as he moves forward.

Secondly, the player is not relegated to a world of static black backgrounds, parallaxian starfields, or esoteric undulating meadows of light and color. Instead, he travels through the interiors of ships, into metallic tunnels and industrial constructions, and through the red fungal infestations of the viral enemy. This places the game far apart from other twin stick games, and even its nearest genre neighbor, Radiangames Inferno. While the levels themselves are almost entirely linear, the overall feeling is one of exploration and isolation as the player travels from one environment to the next, searching for a way back home.


The atmospheric nature of the game is driven by its dark art style and moody soundtrack. It is further emphasized by the pounding noises of metal pistons that threaten to crush you, currents that pull you through passages and toward spinning grinders, and the frequent sprays of debris that come from environmental changes and enemy pods crashing through the walls to send their forces against you.


Enemies come in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from fast moving bird-like creatures that come at you in swarms, slower but tougher lobster-like things, metallic orbs that can teleport around you, gyroscopic ships, and enemies that pepper the environment with stationary mines until you can track them down and destroy them. There are larger dangers as well, like gun turrets and huge mechanical winged engines that fire red lasers at you, absorbing a ton of damage (including shooting their wings off) before they are finally destroyed.


There are also numerous bosses. While the game advertises a total of 4 boss encounters, there are actually numerous situations where you face large enemies that would qualify as minibosses, or at least as “boss class” enemies like those found in Bangai-O Spirits. In these smaller encounters, you’ll take on large ships equipped with turrets that need to be destroyed bit by bit while avoiding attacks form other enemies.


Of course, when you encounter an actual boss battle, you’ll know it, as the entire level is typically built around the encounter, and these are often marathon sessions where you’re slowly taking a huge enemy apart by finding and exploiting its weak points. These are intricate multi-phase battles, and the boss’ behaviors change as you deliver more damage. Given the duration of these fights, it’s very important that you keep yourself out of harm’s way – some bosses have attacks that can destroy you in one or two hits – and make effective use of your arsenal.


You have a number of weapons with which to dispatch your enemies and wear down those huge bosses. Your standard unlimited ammo gun fires in whichever direction you aim the right analogue stick, whereas missiles always fire forward and bombs are always dropped behind you. Missiles can be a bit difficult to use if you’re following the typical fire-and-retreat method of other twin stick shooters; instead, you need to get in the practice of flying toward your enemy, or at least turning to face it. Just don’t get too close, as splash damage harms your ship as well. Bombs essentially act as mines, dropping behind your ship and allowing you to shake of pursuers. They can also be dropped and fired upon, unleashing splash damage, which once again can cause damage to you and your enemies. Bomb and missile supplies regenerate over time when not in use.


You have a number of special abilities at your disposal as well. These are powered up by collecting blue energy pickups that are dropped by destroyed enemies. Each ability requires a certain amount of energy and becomes active once you cross the requirement threshold:
  • Shockwave (Cost: 100 cores) - This attack sends a number of projectiles outward away from your ship, which is useful when you’re surrounded
  • Missile Spread (Cost: 150 cores) - Fires 2 missiles straight forward and 2 additional missiles outward at an angle
  • Shield (Cost: 250 cores) - This is a very handy ability that allows you to sustain additional damage from enemy attacks, but it will eventually be destroyed once it sustains too much damage
  • Gravity Bomb (Cost: 350 cores) - A weapon that is as powerful as it is dangerous; dropping the Gravity Bomb sucks in nearby ships – including yours – causing continuous damage, and the effect lasts a long time

In addition to the blue energy pickups in the environment, there are orange ones as well, which appear with much less frequency. These can be used as currency to purchase upgrades between levels, or after your ship is destroyed within a level. Players can upgrade their health to increase its overall capacity or to increase the amount of health gained by grabbing restoratives. Weapon upgrades include increased capacity for missiles and bombs, as well as increased damage for these weapons and your primary gun. You can also spend currency to upgrade the amount of energy your ship gains when collecting blue energy cores, as well as increase the chance that upgrade cores (orange) will be dropped by destroying enemy ships.



2D CRED
Compromised was developed by Super Soul, founded by John Meister and Richie Hoagland, and this was their first commercial release. The developers also participate in game jams and experimental game development projects.


The company has plans to update Compromised beyond the single player experience. Planned additions include a survival mode that puts the player up against an endless onslaught of enemy forces, and a hoard mode where up to 4 players can compete locally to collect energy cores under a time limit.

0 comments