Review by mootootwo
"Headaches, mechs, intuition, and glitches"
It just wants to fit in!
Slave Zero tries to be good. It really does. It tries to do everything right. Cool story, great premise, lots of explosions, shooting, lots of levels, sounds like the formula for a great game right? It seems like in the ambitions, he forgot to make the gameplay good, resulting in a rather dry experience. It's really a shame, because this could've been cool, if some changes were made to the core gameplay.
Hooked on Mechs
Slave Zero actually has a really cool premise and storyline. You are a member of the Guardians go up against SovKhan forces who are killing the earth in the year 2500. They are growing ''slaves'' which will be used to take over the earth. Fortunately, the Guardians have managed to steal one, and they have you, Chan, piloting it. Your quest is to take down SovKhan and save the earth. What's so cool about all this? The fact that the slave you are piloting is a 90 foot tall mech. This whole motif is prominent about the game as you will be as tall as buildings, and small people and cars will walk by you, giving you a reminder of how huge you are. The story even progresses in mid level, as your commander will provide you with audio updates, and cutscenes happen frequently. Despite the story integration, there are still some problems. First and foremost is the quality of the cinemas. They are choppy and use the in game graphics engine (which isn't going to win any awards). The voice acting is adequate, and your ''intuition'' that is your conscience speaking to you is genuinely creepy. Also, at some points, the story won't advance for quite a while, making the whole game drag out and seem boring. The ambition is there, but the execution is lacking.
Yes, I actually fell through the floor while playing this game...twice...
The gameplay is where Slave Zero falls flat. It's basically a first-person shooter in a third-person body (although you can play in first-person, but I got a headache from the choppyness). You'll fight tons of enemies and huge bosses, even the occasional platforming will come into play. Weapons, health, and ammo are just lying around begging you to take them, and secrets can be found if you look hard enough. This is all good in theory, but in execution, it falls apart. The whole game engine is very sloppy (honestly, it could probably run on a Playstation). The camera is jerky, the animations are lame, and the enemies are boring (save maybe the bosses). You don't come across any really cool weapons and you can only carry three, each a certain kind. Glitches are numerous and it's extremely frustrating to watch your player fall THROUGH the floor to his death at the very end of a level (you can only save at the beginning). The whole game just feels sloppy. The controls, the camera, the animation, the graphics. It all screams of low quality (almost like this review ;). Despite all this, the game does have it's moments. I did enjoy some of the boss encounters, and the escort mission is very cool (if a bit short). These instances were few and far between however, and aren't enough to save this mediocre game.
What a headache...
This game controls similarly to the highly acclaimed MDK 2. It uses the face buttons to move and strafe, while the analog stick looks around and turns. The D-Pad controls weapons, jumping, and stomping, while the triggers control shooting. Not a bad setup in itself, but it's death knell is how your person reacts on-screen. The whole game is tense and jerky, lacking the smoothness so prominent in MDK 2. If played in first-person mode, the jerkyness (I made up a word) can be detrimental to your health. I actually got a headache from playing. The third-person mode retains this, but it is easier on the brain. Aside from the choppyness of the controls, the analog stick is WAY too sensitive on the menus. Tap it once and you'll scroll all the way down the list. Your mech turns rather slowly, and there is a stomp button that is all but useless. Another problem I ran into happened when my mech was knocked down. A particular enemy comes up and hits me, and knocks me off my feet. This renders my controls useless until I get back up. I can't move, and I can't shoot until I'm upright again. The problem is, my enemy can still attack. So as I'm bringing myself to my feet, he knocks me down again, before I get to hit or avoid him. I climb back up just to be hit back again. Repeat until dead. Now, what's the point of having controls if you can't use them in the times you need them most? More sloppyness I assume.
What's a Playstation game doing on my Dreamcast? Sony filth! Oh, wait...it's supposed to look like that...
When I say Slave Zero could run on my Playstation, I mean it. Everything has a polygon count that is less than or equal to my shoe size (13, in case you were wondering). The buildings, roads, enemies, and everything else are very poorly textured, and the animations are laughably bad. Just shoot a small building down for example. It explodes, and then ''melts'' down to a slab of rubble. ''Melts'' actually means just sinking through the floor. There's texture warping and graphical glitches abound (seeing through walls anyone?). It's all as sloppy as the rest of the game, with little redeeming factors. The Dreamcast can do much better than this.
AHH! It's that voice! The horrid voice!
This is probably the best aspect of the game, the sound. It has above average voice acting, and that's about it. There's no noticeable music and the sound effects are generic, but the voices are good. They will direct you through the level, warn you of upcoming enemies, and give you new information regarding the ''slave'' embryos. Also cool is Chan's, as I like to call it, intuition. It will talk to him at points in the game almost as a conscience or subliminal guide. The voice is very creepy and has made me jump at unexpected times (this may be just me though). It's odd, since the game doesn't have a scary atmosphere, but the voice is just so unexpected and out of nowhere that I get startled. The voices are the only thing that stand out about the sound, but the voices won't make a bad game good.
Lumber...We need lumber...
Now I might have painted a terrible picture of Slave Zero in your minds. While this game is bad, it's not utter cream of the crap. It's playable and does have some fun moments. It's story is good and the voices are well acted. The whole game is just sloppy and doesn't provide much fun. Luckily I bought it at a ''bargain'' price, so I didn't waste too much money, and you shouldn't either.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 01/04/02, Updated 01/04/02
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