Review by p1r4t8r

"Damned good or just damned?"

'Wages of SiN' is the official expansion pack to Ritual Softwares hugely over hyped and underrated game 'SiN.'
Unlike its predecessor, 'Wages of SiN' is developed by 2015, not Ritual. What does this mean in terms of gameplay? Not much. In fact, 'Wages of SiN' plays so much like its predecessor, you could almost be fooled into thinking it was exactly the same game. Sure, the box hypes a new storyline, more weapons, new levels and new enemies, but I felt like I was just replaying over the original.

For those unfamiliar with 'SiN' the original focussed around an evil corporation, and a strange drug known as 'U4' that caused people to mutate into monster.
'Wages of SiN' picks up where the original left off, and this time we see the mafia take the place of the evil corporation. This time they have mutated the drug to create stronger and bigger enemies. The mafia boss 'Gianni Manero' intends to use them to overthrow the city of 'Freeport' and rule it with an iron fist.
The only person standing in his way is the hero of the original, John R Blade.

Implausible as the story is, it sets a good backdrop for the action, and gives you reason to be blasting away giant mutant after giant mutant. Mutants are not the only enemies you will be blasting into oblivion though, there are a number of human opponents including mafia goons, scientists and security guards.
However I still found 'Wages of SiN' to be extremely repetitious in its enemies, with the mafia goon being the main enemy you fight, and they all seem to look alike, right down to clothing and facial features. Would it have really hurt the developer to add in a few different types of enemies if only for varieties sake?

'Wages of SiN' uses a highly modified version of the Quake 2 engine, which doesn't look to bad when compared to other games of the time, such as 'Half-Life' and 'Unreal.' While it may look good at first, problems become more obvious once you see the game running, as it suffers from very poor and jolted animation, making each character look as if they were only made up of a few frames of animation. Texture rippling is another problem that rears its ugly head throughout play. The weapon models and enemies have this problem especially, causing the texture on them to appear as if it is rippling and moving. While not really a major problem, it does make some of the enemies look darn ugly, and they lose a lot of the impact that they are meant to have. 'Wages of SiN' also requires a fairly powerful computer for the time, as I was able to run Quake 2 on 640 by 480 on a Pentium 200 without a 3D card yet 'SiN' refused to run at a resolution anywhere near this size, and the best I could get was a windowed 320 by 240. This should not be such a problem these days, as most people run much faster computers, but I just thought it was worth pointing out.
Some of the weapon effects I also found rather lame, such as the flamethrower, which just let out a few blocks of red and orange colour, looking nothing like an actual flamethrower (at least not like ones in other games!)
'Wages of SiN' also incorporates a hit location system, allowing you to target individual limbs on an enemy. Shooting an enemy in the head will do more damage then in the leg for example. Some enemies can even be dropped with a single bullet to the head, making lining up a shot much more efficient ammo-wise.

The sound was probably one of the most glitchy areas of the original 'SiN,' as I had trouble getting the game to play sound at all even on a SoundBlaster Live! sound card. The problem was luckily fixed somewhat by the patch that comes standard with 'Wages of SiN' although I found it disappointing that it had to be patched before it could be playable. Even after installing the patch the sound on the menus still distorted, but luckily this did not happen within the game itself.
The same voice actors return again for the mission pack, and for the most part the voice acting isn't too bad. The mob boss 'Gianni Manero' sounded like he was trying to get a 'gangster' accent far too much though, and just came off sounding fake and lame.
Music in SiN became rather repetitious, with many of the same tracks played over and over.

Sadly, where 'Wages of SiN' truly falls apart is its gameplay. Seeing as it is a mission pack, it's hard to recommend this game to those who have already played the original as I found it was a far superior game. 'Wages of SiN' just feels like you're playing through the original again, with so many of the environments looking EXACTLY the same as those in 'SiN.' The map design is better this time, with less of the levels being like mazes, although there is still the familiar 'key hunting.' Surely game developers have reached a stage where silly puzzles like this are no longer needed. I mean, the character has a nuclear weapon yet he still has to go searching for the key to open a small wooden door! Ridiculous!
A few scripted events have been added into the maps, much like 'Half-Life' and each map features more civilians, giving the sense that the levels are a little more 'alive.'
I did find that there was a tendency for the developers to make some of the maps TOO dark. This wouldn't have been such a problem if the flashlight was not so darn useless. It only seemed to light up enemies and not the characters surroundings, making navigating your way through some of the maps a very hard task indeed. Even with my gamma correction turned to full I still had trouble making out the path in the darker maps, and in the end I just resorted to pressing random directional keys till I found a way out.
The addition of new weapons sounds great at first, until you realise the actuality. The box boasts a total of seven new weapons, including; dual magnums, an energy crossbow, flamethrower, concussion gun, nuke gun and a stinger pack. This is all well and good until you find that most of these new weapons you don't get till the end of the game, and even when you do get them there is no real point to use them. The dual magnums is the only worthy weapon as it gets used the most. Otherwise the others are just filler. I didn't even use the nuke gun or stinger pack till the last boss, and as for the concussion gun, it was no-where to be seen! To make matters worse some of the guns from the original were also missing, such as my personal favourites, the spear gun and the sniper rifle. Ammo for the weapons also became a problem, as it seemed like you had to use twice the amount of ammo that you received. For example, it took two shotgun blasts to kill a shotgun goon, yet you only got one round off his body. Towards the end of the game I was getting extremely low on ammo, having to resort to bigger guns.
The hover-bike is another new addition to the game, except I could not actually find a usable one throughout the whole game. One level depicts your character escaping on a hover-bike, only you don’t actually get to pilot it, it's just a short cut-scene. Multiplayer allows the use of the hover-bike, but I found it disappointing that it was not in the single player game.

All in all, 'Wages of SiN' is not a bad mission pack; only it seems so much like the original that it is hard to recommend it to anyone other than die-hard fans of the original. Compared to many other first person shooters on the market it is very linear and short. It took me all of two days to complete! Fans of the original, give it a try. Everyone else, don't waste your time.

Pros
+ New guns
+ More maps

Cons
- Linear
- Repetitious
- Graphically weak
- Glitchy
- Too much like the original
- Short

Graphics: 7 Not the best, but not bad for the time
Sound: 6 Glitchy, decent voice acting, boring music
Replayability: 3 I have no reason to play this game again, other than perhaps for multiplayer
Longetivity: 4 Way too short for my liking
Gameplay: 4 More of a re-hash of the original
Overall: 5 An average mission pack that appeals only to die-hard fans of the original


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 11/21/02, Updated 11/21/02


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