Review by LordOfLemmings
"WARNING, CAUTION, Almost too much fun!"
If Sony ever made one smart move, it was bringing this game to america. It's the kind of game that you put hours of thought into.
Oh, My, God. The graphics in Carnage Heart, are no less that amazing, and would have gotten a 10 except for tha fact that they are incredibly simple. The animation is smooth and everything looks like it was from a PC. The reason: Simplicity. Since only 6 mechanized units, a few rounds of ammo, and a grid like enviornment with five or six towers are displayed at max, incredible detail and thought went into the design. In design mode, where you customize your OverKill Engine (OKE), it looks to be almost Dreamcast quality, with clear cut lines, and smooth curves. Also, I might add, that aside from the battles, the entire game is essentialy 2D, with 3D in the background.
Mute your TV, you probably aren't missing much. The music consists of a few techno tracks, and the sound effects are a few whirs, clangs, and shots. While the music is entertaining, at first, it is distracting and eventually gives you a headache. The sounds are not good enough for you to waste time turning the sound on just for the battles, or leave it on. Overall, though, the sound isn't that important.
The Drakken Corporation has seized mining rights to the moons of jupiter, and the government wants them back. A few side companys have decided to make some cash by selling weapon and OKE designs to both sides of the conflict. Not much, but enough to justify all the fighting and destruction.
If you're a hardcore strategy fanatic, or a computer whiz, you'll love this game. Otherwise, you might as well just leave it on the shelf. You spend the large part of your time, customizing various aspects of your OKEs, programming them, and then testing them. This design cycle takes a while, and unless you dedicate some time and thought to it, you'll never get anywhere.
The programming, while seemingly complex, is actually rather simple. You lay out and connect various chips on a table. There are basically two types of chips. Action chips, and decision chips. Action chips perform an action, like jumping, or shooting. Decision chips test conditions. If the conditions are true, the decision chip diverts the flow of the program to a sub routine to handle the situation.
Mercifully, sony included a 50-page or so strategy guide, and a training CD on the basics. After viewing the CD and reading the manual and strategy guide several times, you get a pretty good feel for the game. Once you think you're good, you can face off against the design of a friend in 2player mode.
Since there is no one best design, this game could last literally forever. The 2-player mode allows for a continually escallating war of the wits.
Challenge: Difficult. The computer player, while always using the same programming, as illustrated in the strategy guide, will doubtless overwhelm you at first with it's ruthless efficiency.
Rent or Buy: buy, definitely. If you rent this game, the store will probably not include the strategy guide or training CD so you will be baffled. It isn't that expensive to buy, and the risk of not liking it, assuming you're a strategy fan is fairly low.
Crap music and a cheesy storyline are more than made up for by hours upon hours of stellar gameplay. Definitely worth your money.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/22/99, Updated 11/22/99
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