A sequel to 1983’s Elevator Action, Elevator Action Returns is absolutely worth making the effort to find a way to play. Keith checks out the Saturn version for your reading pleasure.
A game about Elevators doesn’t sound that exciting (although it beats ‘Lift Action Returns’ as a title I suppose), and a quick glance at screenshots showing the small sprites might not look that enticing, but don’t be fooled. Once you see Elevator Action Returns in motion you’ll begin to understand the appeal.
As part of a special task force it’s your job to stop a group of international terrorists who have planted nuclear bombs at various strategic sites by locating intelligence information in order to disarm the nukes.
You and your teammate pick between 3 playable characters – Kart Bradfield, Edie Burret and the (I can only presume) proud Welshman Jad The Taff. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses, but all can carry various automatic weapons and incendiary devices, as well as being able to take out enemies with melee attacks. The elevator gimmick in Elevator Action Returns dictates how you move around each stage, and requires a certain amount of strategy to progress successfully. Watch out though, as it’s easy to end up being crushed by one or fall to your doom down the elevator shaft if you’re not paying attention.
Elevator action does more than return on the Saturn
Although the sprites are small, the animation and attention to detail here is absolutely incredible. There’s so much going on and the settings and sound effects create a cinematic feel that’s rare in this kind of arcade title.
The arcade version is readily available on MAME, however the Saturn port is prohibitively pricey (although I’m sure creative Saturn owners can find ways round that…). You can also find Elevator Action Returns on the Taito Legends 2 compilation which was released for PS2, Xbox and PC in 2006. This version has some visual issues relating to the resolution it runs in, so if you’re fussy about such things, the arcade or Saturn versions are the way to go.