“Alex Rider is a normal teenager who lives with his uncle, a boring bank manager… Or so it seems until Ian Rider dies in mysterious circumstances. Alex discovers his uncle was in fact a spy and has been murdered by one of the most dangerous assassins in the world. Recruited into MI6, the schoolboy is thrust into the world of espionage. Linguist, scuba diver, mountaineer, expert shot, and martial arts expert, Alex has all the attributes required to make the perfect teenage super spy. The mission: Be Alex Rider, as you out-spy, outwit and out-cool evil on your GBA. Gameplay includes combat, stealth missions, vehicles, and the use of gadgets to achieve mission objectives.” Now, with that out of the way, let me say something that will save you a lot of trouble. Stormbreaker is personafies, and is a perfect example of everything that’s wrong with licensed games. However, if you’re a fan of the series do read on.One good thing that can be said about this title, for a GBA title it isn’t too hard on the eyes. Unfortunately the graphics are outdated, grainy, and at times move at a slow pace. Played from an isometric viewpoint the graphics are what I’d expect if someone took Metal Gear from the NES and gave it a light SNES bump up. Which, after owning a DS, and playing a ton of higher quality GBA titles with cleaner looks, I can say that, while the graphics are probably the highpoint, there are much better examples of what the GBA is still capable of.Techno, cheesy, cheesy, techno music throughout. At times there is little to no sound, and what is there is truly forgettable. This area seems to be the single most ignored aspect of the title. I think sound and music have an immediate impact on any title, a good soundtrack can help get you in the groove, and a lot of times if they music is really good you tend to overlook repetitive or simple gameplay because you’re jamming to the tunes.Sluggish would not even begin to describe the controls. Moving Alex around is like driving a ten ton dump truck through wet cement in a blizzard. I guess you can say it lends to being stealthy, you know, moving slowly and all, but no Alex is just plain slow. Add on to that the fact that most actions are followed by a second delay. Maybe Alex is contemplating each and every move with the exacting precision that only a teenage spy can.So you remeber that Metal Gear reference I made back in graphics? Well, throw that out when it comes to gameplay. Think more Doom, without the demons, or weapons, or great atmosphere, or pseudo 3d first person perspective. Yes it’s 1989 again and most of your time with Alex will be spent collecting keys to find other keys while “sneaking” past guards. By “sneaking” I mean beating up everything and anything that moves. Even if you walk up to a guard with his back to you he turns around and starts attacking. Yes, I did say beat up, Alex doesn’t use guns or lethal means. Which I think is admirable and great for a character that children and preteens will have an interest in, but regardless of the gameworld or story I have trouble with a 15 year old laying the beat down on big burly guards and evil villians hell bent of ruling the world.Maybe, just maybe, if you are a fan of Alex Rider, you might enjoy this. Also, if you haven’t played any videogames in the past 15 years or so you’ll feel right at home. Otherwise, there’s nothing here to recommend, and there are much more enjoyable original games and even licensed titles worth your time and money.I could’ve thought of worse ways to waste a couple of days. Stormbreaker was like a bad trip down memory lane as the game developers chose to ignore almost every major gameplay advancement in 15 years or so. Hopefully THQ will take this license, and give it to a stronger developer who can make a game that the fans and anyone else can enjoy.
Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).