Games That Never Were, Entry #2112

Mon, 08/16/2004 — Rev. Ragu

Rush 'N Attack Featuring Rush

Company: Konami

Platform: Arcade

Description: In Konami's® hot new game RUSH 'N ATTACK™, the year is 2112 and the greatest rock band in history, RUSH has been kidnapped by the EVIL SOLAR FEDERATION. You, as THE CLASSICAL HERO REPRESENTED BY A NUDE MALE must rage nobly against the 8 GIANT EVIL ELDER BOSSES and free RUSH from the intergalactic prison on CYGNUS X-1! But can you defeat DARK ELDER BROWN in a DRUM SOLO SHOWDOWN that will shake the heavens themselves?

Why It Failed: Years before Konami found their niche in swamping arcades with myriad interchangable Kylie Minogue-belching rhythm games, they initially tried to combine music, gaming and sweaty, overweight nerds by creating a game around Canada's favoured sons, the legendary prog-rock trio Rush. Following in the footsteps of Midway's, uh, "blockbuster" "smash" "hit" based on the band Journey, Konami used the same tape-deck in the cabinet technology as its spiritual predecessor. Of course, the first snag that Rush N' Attack hit was that Rush was in the middle of recording another six self-indulgent live albums when the game was in production, and didn't have time to record the new material they had promised the people at Konami. Running on a tight deadline to get their game out before Sega launched their sure-to-be-smash testament-to-hindsight, Michael Jackson's Moonwalker, they decided to use some of the live material. In that case, they only managed to fit three songs onto the tape due to Neil Peart's twenty-five minute drum solo on "Anthem".

Then came the game itself, which was supervised by Rush. By Rush, of course, we mean Neil Peart. The only way they were able to convince them to do the game was if they absolutely assured them that it would be "the world's first objectivist video game". As such, Neil worked his magic and the game turned from "Rush battles the evil aliens who took away their electro-supercharged instruments" to "The heroic individual, freeing himself from the bonds of collectivism, struggles nobly against the world which enslaves the individual!". Of course, no one on the programming staff knew what the fuck he was on about, so they just made some generic sidescroller and threw in a few bosses off of the Rush album covers. Neil was not satisfied, though, and insisted that they include cinema scenes detailing the struggle of his symbolic noble individual. Predating the Final Fantasies and Metal Gears, the cinema scenes were fifteen minutes each at the end of each level, and read like an Ayn Rand Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

It failed for all of these reasons; in test arcades most would stay far away, either citing "What the hell is with the drumming?" and "Why the shit is there an old lady singing?". People who did play found the gameplay to be relatively satisfying, and reviewers at the time described it as "Rambo meets The Fountainhead", but the excruciating, interminable cinema scenes were definitely not suited for the arcade environment and most players would walk away after the end of the first stage; the machine would start going on and on, making weird metaphors about trees and alluding to Keats' "Kubla Khan". A common reaction was "That shit is totally gay; now let's move our hi-tops wearing feet out of this joint before we miss Cosby! Radical!". As such, the game was recalled, Rush was removed from the game, and it was retooled into a simple run-and-gun game.

Later, Midway would ignore Konami's lesson learned by this venture and would release "Revolution X" starring Aerosmith, and the less said about that, the better.

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