When rogue warrior Bob confronts fellow twin-stick shooter star John Gore in the climatic final scene of Guerrilla Bob, it's more than just a fitting end to a funny game.

The predictable conclusion to this clash of twin-stick shooter heroes puts Guerrilla Bob on top in every respect from graphics to gameplay.

Wisely not taking its action for granted, this comic shooter comes with enough variety to be considered more than just another mindless survival game. While there's an argument to be made for even more variety and depth, it's weighty enough to bear a new standard.

Campaign trail

It starts with a good reason to kill. Having convinced the military to halt a nuclear strike against his enemies, Bob ventures into the desert to gut them one by one. Place your thumbs on the screen, throw your respect for human life out the window, then light Bob's cigar - now you're ready to roll.

You begin the seven-stage crusade with a low-grade machine gun capable of eliminating the bomb-throwing, pistol-equipped bad guys encountered in the first couple levels.

A rocket launcher and flamethrower join your arsenal at specific points along the way, as do power-ups that boost attack power and weapons fire rate.

The arbitrary nature of these upgrades is one of the game's missed opportunities. Rather than saving up points or earning enough money to unlock new guns and upgrades, it's a matter of snatching half-heartedly hidden icons.

At least if the most compelling upgrades required keen searching or defeating a mini-boss, they would feel like prizes: instead, they're non-events.

The machine gun is mightier than the sword

An effort has been made to encourage tactical use of each weapon. Riddling basic enemies with machine gun fire is easy enough, but bombardiers taking shelter behind a wall of sandbags are best eliminated using the flamethrower.

Tents, which endlessly generate foes until destroyed, take forever to destroy using the machine gun, yet a few well-aimed rockets collapse them in no time.

Bosses also encourage efficient use of weaponry, not to mention quick manoeuvring. Chainsaw-wielding Sam Butchefeller is best fought from a distance, for example. Swapping out the flamethrower and riddling him with rifle fire while constantly moving makes for an active battle.

Defeating the Mucho Dolor Bulldozer first requires outrunning the thing through a narrow ravine, then shooting it down.

Focus on variety

Especially when contrasted with previous twin-stick shooters, Guerrilla Bob offers a welcome influx of variety with these creative boss battles and fun environments: however, more is needed.

The same Mexican shanty town is repeated far too much over the course of the campaign, with only one mission supplying something new and another turning off the lights for a midnight shootout.

The former has you floating down a stream on a wooden raft shooting at enemies lining the bank. It's easily the most challenging and entertaining level of the entire game.

Length is also a concern, though a Survival mode unlocks once you've cleared the story in either Easy or Hard difficulty.

Guerrilla Bob has some fun ideas that need a kick in the pants to go from good to great. Beating Gore doesn't permanently make Bob el presidente of the twin-stick shooters, but it's sure leading the genre for the time being.

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