P.O.W. Prisoners of War – A Beat ‘Em Up Retrospective

Imagine a game that looks and plays like Double Dragon. Minus the cliche story line of saving your girlfriend, but about a soldier who breaks out of war prison and single-handedly defeats an army. And, as a bonus there is the ability to pick up and shoot your enemies with a machine gun. pow2Sounds great, I know. But it’s now time to come back to reality, because the excitement ends there.

The first thing I noticed with POW is the sprite they used for a jump kick is great. Its the most overly dramatic kick I’ve ever seen . Too bad it resembles more of a dance move than anything seen in a fight. And on the subject of sprites – the character’s pose when he’s shooting the gun is the definition of bad ass.  I want that as a Pixel Pal immediately.pow3

Lets talk about the machine gun. It’s really the only thing POW adds to the beat ’em up experience. It would be the icing on the cake. If there was a little dab of icing on a dried up piece of pastry. Since actually getting the gun doesn’t happen very often. When you do get it however, it’s highly effective. Just don’t save your ammo for the boss like I did, because you will find out the hard way that most of the bosses are immune to bullets.

Any fan of side scrolling brawling type games should understand that most times the toughest challenge to overcome is the player’s own boredom. POW for me became tedious in the 3rd stage. It would sure help if the music wasn’t on an 8 second loop or if your foes would actually drop their weapons more than 10 percent of the time. But I persevered and finished the game, and it was sort of worth it after seeing the “congraturation” screen.  I don’t know if POW needed to be rushed, or if the developers who ported it were lazy. Because this game is very basic with some subtle brilliance, it’s just deep down below the surface.pow4

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