Published on July 29th, 2010 | by Cameron Woolsey
Cerebral Arena – Indie Review
Believe it or not, a lot of early buyers of the Xbox 360 spent a lot of their time not playing the latest and greatest 3D action epics that 2005 had to offer. No, a lot of them (including myself) were too busy trying to master the pretty yet difficult little shooter, Geometry Wars (at least for a few days before their Xbox’s red-ringed, hyuk hyuk). Deadwood Studios borrows the top-down perspective for their little shooter, Cerebral Arena.
The story of Cerebral Arena is a peculiar one. Our hero John is stricken with an incurable and fatal disease and must have his mind taken from his old body and reinserted into a newer and better robotic one. Waking up from the procedure, he finds himself in an arena being challenged to fight to the death for his freedom. Like I said, peculiar, but not so different from some zany games that I used to play many years ago, so I’ll let it slide.
John is dropped into a simple rectangular arena armed with only a gun and shield. Cerebral Arena is a mix of both Geometry Wars and another shooting classic, Smash TV. The game pits the player against waves of enemies who come in at all sides of a rectangle arena to try and overwhelm and destroy the poor little invader. John will be constantly assaulted from all sides against such creatures as giant bugs, people with guns, more bugs, and even some tanks just to spice things up. His only defense is his machine gun and a rechargeable shield. The shield is what will save your sorry ass when things get ridiculous. It drops down at John’s feet and becomes a small blue circle in which any enemy who crosses the border will immediately disappear. The shield doesn’t last forever so players can’t use it as a crutch when things get too overwhelming–just use it to thin the herd then move out quickly.
That’s really about it, honestly. The controls are pretty decent but I can’t praise the visuals or audio since both are lousy. This is obviously an early attempt by Deadwood to make an Xbox Originals game, so I won’t be too mean. It would have been nice to see something more than just running in circles and shooting monsters. Weapon upgrades, health items, or abilities would have been a welcome touch to this overall mediocre title. But at only 80 MS Points, you get what you pay for. I suppose I can say that there is one thing that Cerebral Arena has convinced me of.
I’m going to finally go break a million points at Geometry Wars. I just know I can get it this time.