The World has changed. Terror attacks on innocent people are on the increase. Ex-FBI agent Ecks and Ex-NSA operative Sever are back in another action filled game that advances the boundaries of First Person Shooters on the Game Boy Advance. Only Ecks and Sever can save the world from certain nuclear holocaust. Have you got what it takes to help them? Go Global. Go Ballistic.
--From the GBA Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever instruction manual.
There are a number of genres that are very successful on the Gameboy Advance system. RPGs, hack and slash, beat 'em ups, I've even found sports games on Console Classix that have knocked my socks off. Unfortunately, when it comes to first-person shooters Gameboy Advance games always seem to fall short in the same areas, graphics and gameplay mechanics. The reason for which is that the hardware on the Gameboy Advance isn't ideal for a game that requires sharp graphics, tight controls, and distance rendering. Even if the game manages to pull off impressive graphics in a FPS view, the gameplay seems to always be choppy, and the enemies ill defined. "Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever" is no exception and suffers from the same predictable problems of bringing the FPS genre to the Gameboy Advance to one degree or another, although "Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever" does include some original elements and facilitates a style of play not usually found in typical first person shooters. While it's still my contention that the FPS genre has no place on the Gameboy advance system, "Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever" has enough going for it to warrant a hard look.
The graphics in "Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever" are very impressive (although less so when inside a building), and the 3D movement is smooth, even when under water. There is no music, which is odd, and a little off putting, and the sound effects are pretty generic. The game play fluctuates between enjoyable, and maddening. First of all, some of the level's structures are insanely, needlessly complicated, I spent 20 minutes of my first play through wandering around the infuriating hedge maze, only to learn that I needed to go in the water at the very beginning and find a ladder. While this was incredibly frustrating, it highlights the interactivity of the map, where ladders, locked doors, and underwater passages are common.
Characters are extremely grainy and hard to make out from a distance. The player can use the sniper rifle to zoom in, bringing the enemies into focus, but unless you're looking into a scope the enemies can be very hard to differentiate between innocent bystander. The player is unable to look up or down, causing major headaches when enemies are shooting at the player, but are on a different level. The only way to look up or down is either through the scope of a sniper rifle, or with the horrible free aim (accomplished by pressing select). While in free aim the player can't move, and even worse the cross hairs move incredibly slowly, leaving the player exposed to enemy fire.
"Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever" is more thoroughly enjoyed when playing the game as a spy / assassin (like the actual characters in the movie). I had a lot more fun when I slowed down my pace, and took my time finding targets from a distance, sure I still had to stab a bunch of dogs, but dogs don't shoot bullets, so I ran into much less problems than when I tried to run through the levels Doom style. The sniper style is also quite useful for rescue missions. There are decent number of levels to sharpen up your sniping skills on, just try to avoid the close quarter combat if possible.
"Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever" features two playable characters, both Ecks, and Sever. There are 24 playable missions in total. Health is displayed as a circle in the upper left hand corner of the screen, ammunition is displayed in the upper right hand corner of the screen. When the player's health has been depleted the player will die, and be given the chance to restart.
Pressing start will bring up the pause menu where the player can check objectives, or restart the level.
Progressive is recalled using passwords.
|A Button||Fire weapon|
|B Button||Change weapon|
|R Button||Strafe right (Press L + R to crouch|
|L Button||Strafe left|
|Select Button||Aim weapon|