In 1983, Taito released the very popular Elevator Action, which was a game where you traversed levels in a skyscraper as a spy, picking up secret documents from red doors on each level. This game received a sequel in 1994, named Elevator Action Returns (and Elevator Action II in North America) which remains a mostly overlooked classic to this day.
In Elevator Action Returns, you’ve turned in your spy credentials to join a special team who must foil a terrorist group who are furthering their insane agenda and are obviously bent on world domination. (Hey, aren’t they all?)
They’ve planted nuclear bombs in various facilities around the globe, and it’s your team’s job to defuse them! To do this, you need to search in every room marked with a red door, to obtain the secret data that will allow you to defuse the bombs.
The Player gets to choose from one of three characters: Kart Bradfield, Edie Burret or Jad the Taff. (While not well-known, “taff” was a misspelled translation from Japanese for the word “tough”.)
“Kart Bradfield” is a male character with long hair (who looks a lot like Tommy Shaw of Styx) and is the quickest and most agile character of the available choices. His pistol can be upgraded to a machine gun or a grenade launcher, and he also has the ability to use hand grenades to take out multiple enemies at a time. His health level is moderate, but with his high agility, he can leap obstacles better than the other characters. His pistol skills are sub-par, however, and he is the slowest shooter of the group. He also has the ability to perform three consecutive melee attacks on an enemy, instead of the default of two.
“Edie Burret” is a brown-haired girl and the fastest shooter of the three. Her pistol can be upgraded to a machine gun or a grenade launcher, and she can throw molotov cocktails that will kill off almost every enemy soldier that gets hit by it. She has the lowest health of the group and has a moderate moving speed.
“Jad the Taff” is the strongest of the group and has the highest stamina. His pistol can be upgraded to a machine gun or rifle. He can carry and set sensor bombs that explode whenever an enemy approaches. His health is the highest, but this comes with a cost, as he is the slowest of the group. He has the ability to full-body tackle any enemy standing in his way when he is running.
In addition to the red doors, you can also enter blue doors that will give you a random item such as refills on health, special weapons or bonus points. The gameplay differs from the original Elevator Action as well by providing side-scrolling action and enemy battles reminiscent of Rolling Thunder.
When you complete the first level, your character leaves the skyscraper and hops into a waiting van, which is ready to take you to your next mission. Subsequent missions take you through various locales, including an airport, an underground market, a sewer, an oil-rig and a secret underwater missile base.
Elevator Action Returns is a worthy successor to the original classic, with graphical improvements and a fantastic musical score, all while staying true to the original theme. The game is a great quarter muncher, and can be completed – alone or with a friend – in under an hour.
So, once you’ve got your flak jacket on, snap another clip into your pistol and pop in a quarter. It’s time to jump into a game of Elevator Action Returns!
Special thanks to Malenko, from the Arcade Controls forums, for recommending “Elevator Action Returns” for our Retro Rewind Friday. If you have a game that you would like to see Gameroom Designs showcase, Submit a game for Retro Rewind Friday!