Cannon Spike Hands-On

Hardly your typical shooter, Cannon Spike brings together several classic Capcom characters for some weird shooting mayhem. Check out our impressions inside.

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In Cannon Spike, Capcom has created one of the quirkiest games in recent memory. It's a shooter played on foot, sort of like Smash TV without the directional shooting controls. The game features several Capcom favorites such as Cammy, Mega Man, and Arthur of Ghosts 'n' Goblins fame. Each character has an assortment of weapons and special attacks with which to battle a horde of enemies and some truly odd bosses.

The action in Cannon Spike is pretty intense as shooters go. Even though boss and sub-boss battles dominate the gameplay, there's no shortage of fodder enemies to blast either. You can lock onto enemies for a short period of time to facilitate carnage. Each of your characters has a basic rapid-fire weapon, a stronger but more limited shot, and two melee attacks (which, amusingly, can be used together in combos). A swath-cutting special attack is also available, but you must collect power-ups to allow its use. Additionally, your characters have different attributes outside their attacks - for instance, Arthur is slow and plodding, while the spry Mega Man runs circles around enemies.

Aiming at enemies in Cannon Spike is sometimes a little difficult, so to assist in the carnage, Capcom implemented a lock-on system that makes you face your selected enemy at all times. Unfortunately, the lock-on lasts for only a few seconds, and it must be constantly reestablished - so it becomes something of a chore. But the system still works pretty well.

The levels in Cannon Spike are presented in a different order every time a new game is started, so playing it repeatedly isn't nearly as repetitive as other shooters. Environments range from a city back alley to the jungle and even a foggy 19th-century London street. There's absolutely no connection between the levels and no real coherent storyline, so there's really nothing to get in the way of the game's core shooting nature. Other than some very slight control issues and a possible complaint about the game's length (it is, after all, an arcade port), Cannon Spike succeeds admirably at being a fun, replayable shooter.

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