Retro Video Game Review: Rescue, The Embassy Mission (Nes)

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Overall Rating: 2.5/5

There is an old adage that applies to many endeavors in life: Do one thing and do it well. You can strive for that maxim in sports, in the job market, and in other areas with a certain amount of success. But can a video game follow that formula and offer a fulfilling experience?

Rescue: The Embassy Mission lets the player act as a counterterrorism operative. The situation is that several important digniaries are being held captive in an embassy. The mission is to stealthily infiltrate the building and rescue the hostages without any of them dying in the process.

This, of course, is easier said than done.

Gameplay is followed in three different sections. In the first part, the player must navigate a nighttime avenue, variously taking cover and diving behind objects in order to avoid being spotted, and shot at, by the enemies that have taken over the building. Once this is competed, the second portion is to take position as a sniper atop one of the buildings facing the embassy, and take shots at the targets inside. The amount of bad guys taken out will make the third and final part easier when the player, after scaling down the side of the embassy and kicking in through a window, dramatically enters first-person shooter mode in order to take out terrorists and recuse the hostages.

However, that is it. That is the entire game. This one, single mission, played over and over, in attempts to get a better final score and to do it in less time, that is what you do. The only feature that offers any refreshing takes on the play is that before the mission begins, there are many, many different difficulty levels to choose from.

The entire experience is unique and interesting, but when critically examined, how does it stack up in the video gaming realm?


Working within the limitations of the Nintendo Entertainment System, Rescue had fairly basic looks, but effectively conveyed a dark, brooding atmosphere. The worst of appearances is during the sniper portions of the game, when enemy targets are shadows cast against the light of the embassy windows. In other words, they consist of nondescriptly shaped gray blobs to shoot at. The slow, frame-by-frame way that terrorists fall over when they are shot is pretty crude also, but the gunfire effects are fun inside the building, and the visuals do not trip over themselves and detract from the overall experience.


The effects are basic but pretty standard, complete with sputtering gunshots and dull, appropriate thuds and bumps. The music is also average, with mild compositions and perhaps overly produced synthetics. All in all, this element of the title could have used improvement to truly put the player in a tense, time-sensitive hostage situation where lives were on the line at the end of the barrel of a gun.


The true strength of Rescue is that it was truly a unique game! Years later, you can ask those who owned it, and at its mention they will probably reply, Oh yeah, I remember that game. It was an odd idea to have a single mission to continue improving at, but perhaps it was a step above the old arcade classics that repeated themselves only for high scores.

In the end, though, Rescue could have used a little more variety in its gameplay. Yes, it was a fun experience to undergo all the angles of an intense hostage-retrieval operation, but there is definitely a limited replay value involved. This title is worth a look, and even some playtime, but will never go down as a greatest title because of its one-dimensional nature. Would Super Mario Bros. 3 be as good if only the first world was available to play, but at different difficulties? Would GoldenEye have revolutionzed the first-person shooter genre if the Temple were the only playable level, so that they could come up with more types of rounds?

Then again, Tetris is considered one of the all-time greats and it had arguably the most repetitive, one-dimensional gameplay ever. Perhaps the formula to determine game greatness is more complex, but Rescue: The Embassy Mission can safely be given two and a half stars out of five, on account of its unique and enjoyable gameplay, even if only for the first few dozen times through.

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