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CT Special Forces 2: Back In The Trenches Package Art
  Hip Games

CT Special Forces 2: Back In The Trenches

Hip-Games have, prior to their Game Boy Advance offerings, have only been hip in the world of the personal computer. Having put both Sitting Ducks and Around The World In 80 Days to the test, we once again return to Hip’s interactive fold with CT Special Forces 2: Back In The Trenches. In this title, you take on the role of one of three men who specialize in a specific sector of the counter-terrorist (CT) force, an elite and top-secret command of the special intervention forces. You will, simply put, seize control of terrorist vestiges, destroy their forces, and bring their leaders down in a militaristic blaze of glory. Indeed, CT Special Forces is the most recent franchise to follow the Contra and Metal Slug mold, with its own unique levels that stray away from the beaten path.


Like Metal Slug and unlike Contra, Special Forces features a bubbly and animated stylization that adds a bit of lighthearted whim to the otherwise taut title. Ammunition is totally visible, changing appropriately based on the CT’s equipped arsenal. Billowing flames pour out of an equipped flamethrower, forming a cloud of inferno that serves to incite a legitimate grin on the player’s face. Environment are, likewise, highly varied and fairly detailed from one locale to another. Toxic goo drips menacingly from the ceiling. Clothing ruffles in the wind as one skydives out of harms way, only to enter it again but moments later. Developer LSP has, unlike others out there, implemented a well contrived engine that actually permeates the desired subject matter in a suitable fashion.


Oh yes, you will be treated to a substantial selection of gunshots, battle cries, CPU demises, and even a select bit of voice-work! In one terse but exciting level, you must evade a legion of armed tanks and choppers, periodically landing to pick up and rescue frantic hostages. When boarded, the hostage will literally oblige you with a delightfully robotic “thank you!” Combine this entourage with some pounding military melodies, and you will quite literally feel like you’re are back in the two-dimensional trenches.


First things first: CT Special Forces 2 is Hip-Games’ best Game Boy Advance software conceived thus far. Featuring several nice weapons, a great sense of style, and an enigmatic tinge for gung-ho combat, there are some nice things going on here. Special Forces is the template “absolute” for many action games of the same vein, as it is an all inclusive experience with side-scrolling combat both on foot and in the air. You will also be called to pilot your helicopter from a classic, overhead perspective, with the ability to veer right and left as you attempt to collect upgrades and stave off enemy attacks through force and/or general evasion.

Most other levels, like the now thrice mentioned Metal Slug and Contra, feature two-dimensional tactical gunplay over a series of platforms and structures that extend from left to right. Weapons can be picked up and cycled, as some situations are better served with one firearm over another. As well, health can be restored via sporadic “medical kits” scattered about the vicinity. The only disadvantages are in the control, as you cannot crawl or flip your character -- only jump, roll, or kneel. As well, instead of utilizing the shoulder buttons effectively, weapons are angled through a slightly awkward positioned press of the digital pad.


If you link up with a friend (or foe), you can participate in a challenge “time attack” mode, gaining points by the amount of proper objectives or kills completed in the allotted time.


Though far from perfect, CT Special Forces 2 is a significant effort worthy of recognition. If LSP can fix the somewhat limited maneuverability of the on-foot levels, deepen the narrative, and add even more upgrades, than Hip-Games will have an irrefutable winner on its hands that no gamer could turn down. As it stands now though, they have a far above average title worth owning for fans of good old fashioned action games.

final score 7.8/10

Staff Avatar William Jacques
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"Oh oblivious, naïve Humanity... How ignorant we really are - safe only in our blind "superior" view of the world."

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