Combining gameshows with video games has become quite a regular occurrence on the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS, gaining the appeal of the more casual gamer with the likes of Total Wipeout, I’m A Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here, Doctor Who and even Coronation Street receiving video game counterparts. Whilst this hasn’t been as common on the Xbox 360, Uber Entertainment have taken the prospect that extra step by inventing a gameshow merged with a third-person shooter, titled: Monday Night Combat.
Monday Night Combat is the fourth title to be released under the Summer of Arcade promotion, which has already had gamers splashing out on an array of great Xbox Live Arcade titles (not just in the case of Hydro Thunder Hurricane). Thankfully, Monday Night Combat is no different.
The objective behind Monday Night Combat is for each team (orange and blue) to defend the Moneyball – situated at each side’s base. This is done by either simply shooting at the Moneyball or supporting your team’s colour bots to the other end of the battlefield where they can also deal damage. The bots vary statistically as well as their appearance with the likes of gremlins being pacey, though considerably weak, to the ‘Jackbot’ being fairly slow, but is also the strongest of the bots within the game. The winning side is the team that manages to destroy the Moneyball first or, in a dead heat situation, has dealt the most damage. Despite the concept appearing quite complicated at first, the excellent tutorial ensures players know exactly what they are supposed to do and it becomes thoroughly enjoyable quite quickly.
The game contains three game modes, each of which provides some form of variety within the game. Local Blitz simply allows players to defend the Moneyball on their own or with a friend in local split-screen. Similarly, Xbox Live Blitz follows the same concept with the exception of allowing three other players over the Xbox Live service. Both game modes feature different challenges, ranging from Exhibition Blitz (consisting of 10 rounds at light intensity) to Sudden Death Blitz (consisting of infinite Rounds at insane intensity). As players progress through the challenges, the challenges get consistently more difficult. The game modes are particularly enjoyable, more so whilst over Xbox Live with other players.
However, it’s Monday Night Combat’s final game mode which makes the title what it is. The second Xbox Live game mode: Crossfire consists of two teams of six defending their own Moneyball whilst the opposing team attempts to destroy each other’s Moneyballs. The game mode is truly entertaining and can also be quite intense at times with team’s desperately attempting to hang on for dear life.
Similarly to the likes of Team Fortress 2 and Shadowrun, Monday Night Combat offers a variety of classes, allowing players to choose between Assault, Tank, Support, Assassin, Gunner and Sniper classes. Each class, as you’d expect, contains their own strengths and weaknesses in offence, defence and specialities, as well as providing a range of weapons and power-ups. With neither of the classes being particularly alike, players have to try and test each class before settling with the one they prefer. Furthermore, during blitzes (as they are known within the game), players earn money for eliminating bots and opponents. This money can be spent upgrading the player’s skills, offering further options within each of the classes. Based on this, the class system in Monday Night Combat has been well implemented, which comes as a surprise for an Xbox Live Arcade title.
In terms of the game’s development: Monday Night Combat’s environments have been well-designed and each of which contains a great amount of detail. The character models are also to a very good standard. Like-wise, the game’s audio is a reason to keep the volume up – ensuring the gameshow-feel is executed well - through the use of a narrator and theme tune-like music evident throughout.
Overall, Monday Night Combat is yet another gem to arise from the Summer of Arcade promotion. The brilliant development of the game and the unique concept sets the bar for future Xbox Live Arcade titles. Even at 1200 Microsoft Points, this is a must purchase.
David Wriglesworth is a Northern lad with a passion for gaming, who graduated from the University of Lincoln with a BA (Hons) Journalism degree. If you can drag him away from the consoles, you can probably find him Tweeting or watching Coronation Street.