Sega is making another big splash on the scene with Let's Go Island: Lost on the Island of Tropics. This game, following in the footsteps of its very successful hit predecessor Let's Go Jungle, takes players on a boat trip filled with pirates, treasures, and giant octopi on yet another wild adventure. In order to capitalize on the success of Let's Go Jungle, Sega has made some tweaks to the design, both in gameplay and presentation, that will allow Let's Go Island to build upon what Let's Go Jungle had accomplished.
Let's Go Island comes in multiple, extremely colorful and bright cabinet styles, such as the standard upright model, but most noticeably the sit-down bench approach. Differing from its precursor, which featured an entirely enclosed cabinet to mimic an off-road safari vehicle, Let's Go Island features a wide-open boat design in keeping with the nautical theme. The cabinet on the sitdown models also features a bench that moves along with the game, much like Let's Go Jungle's. This design allows spectators to witness the action as one or two people barrel down a river, annihilating every evil crab and piranha in sight while being tossed and shaken around by the faux waves in the game. After all, what better way to let consumers know what they are in for?
The basic gameplay concept of on-rail shooters from Let's Go Jungle remains intact in its successor. Players take control of returning heroes Ben and Norah, using the mounted machine guns to plow through their enemies while searching for treasure with pirates. One area in which Let's Go Island shines is in going beyond just a simple shoot 'em up game. During a game session, players are faced with portions of the game, mini-games, that require more than simply shooting enemies. Whether it is a quick button-mashing sequence or defending themselves by using golf skills, Let's Go Island's goal is to always keep things fresh, something Sega has done quite well.
Let's Go Island is a game that accomplishes everything it was designed to do. Rather than a simple reprise of their successful Let's Go Jungle, Sega took its formula and built on it. The result is an enticing shooter that is fun to play by yourself, but even more fun with a friend. It's a shooter that goes deeper to become more than just another "gun game," even adding multiple endings that depend on how the player performs. Let's Go Island lives up to everything that its predecessor was, and then exceeds it.
EVAN KIRBY is a 22-year-old journalism student from Bridgewater, MA. A former editor of his high school newspaper, Kirby has been an avid coin-op game enthusiast for his entire life.