Review by makaveli10

"The greatest megacity in the world is locked in a brutal war. Steal the largest, most sophisticated attack weapon ever designed and kick some ass!"

-»¤«- Story / Plot ~ 6/10 -»¤«-

It Is 500 Years in the future.
Man and machine are virtually one.
And the greatest megacity in the world is locked in a brutal war.
You are the ultimate saboteur and part of an elite fighting force.
Your mission: Steal the largest, most sophisticated biomechanical attack weapon ever designed and kick some serious ass!

Darkness has befallen the First Dynasty of the Second Millennium. The Sovereign Khan has strengthened his hold on the Asian Conglomerates by seizing control of the towering capital, Megacity S1-9. The SOVKhan's army will soon be complete with his legions of giant biomechanical Slaves; War machines grown from cybernetic embryos and powered by the mysterious neutronium growth compound known as, Dark Matter. Once the SOVKhan finishes the gestation of his Slave Army, no power on Earth will be able to stop him. Now, in a hidden base deep inside the sewage tunnels of the city a spiritual brotherhood of resistance warriors known as the Guardians cling to their last remaining hope - a stolen Slave Unit known as Slave Zero. A lone Guardian warrior named Ch'an must permanently merge with the Slave and fight his way up through S1-9 in a desperate attempt to destroy the SOVkhan and his dark legions...or die trying.

The typical anime-like storyline of Slave Zero brings nothing new, however it sets the scene for some serious action. It resembles various anime with mechs, a city reminiscent of NeoTokyo for example and anime-like characters. Like Neon Genesis Evangelion, humans control the slaves and must become one with machine to successfully command them without going insane. It has a hint of that mystical oriental feel, with an elder who mentors you during the game and leaks information about your father and the past, making you curious and want to find out more. However the story is not a strong point in Slave Zero, as the game does not go into much detail. With short cut scenes during the game, which are just briefings really, but this is good in a way, because while playing you will just want to get on with the job and blow more things up, without having to sit through lengthy cut scenes. Most games of this genre do not have a great emphasis on the story anyway, as it is all about the action and actual gameplay. Slave Zero could have been a bit more original, but these days original concepts and plots are rare. Anime fans, especially fans of mech and futuristic, robot oriented animes will enjoy the story more than others.

-»¤«- Gameplay / Control ~ 8/10 -»¤«-

Slave Zero’s control method is the game’s strongest point. Controlling the slave is quite easy, and very responsive. The game is a 3rd person shooter, so you see yourself on screen. You can make Slave Zero run around, shoot, jump, strafe; all the basic commands plus a few more. It offers all you need really, and is easy for anyone, any age to pick up and have some fun, as it is an arcade game at heart. The basic gameplay structure involves stomping around the city shooting down the local militia consisting of helicopters, tanks & mechs, as well as various models of giant mechs, bots and slaves, while picking up ammunition, health and upgrades to stay alive and become stronger. The weapons are pretty cool, you have a default gun, a secondary more powerful gun, and a shoulder mounted missile launcher, with all being upgradeable numerous times during the course of he game. You get futuristic versions of your basic pistols, shotguns, automatics, explosives, lasers and nukes. You can also use hand-to-hand combat, a mean stomp attack, throw pieces of the city or use it as a club to destroy your enemies. The enemies themselves are well designed; they are not too impressive in the AI department though, but still present a challenge in numbers and towards the end the larger enemies can become more troublesome then the bosses. While on the topic of bosses; Slave Zero has its fair share of intense boss battles. The bosses look awesome and do present quite a challenge. They help break up the normal stage romps, and you will look forward to seeing the next immense boss, but not necessarily confronting it. The only other variations found throughout Slave Zero are an escort mission, protecting a base and other valuable assets to your cause. Essentially though, Slave Zero is an arcade game where you will be roaming around shooting everything you see, search and destroy targets and face huge bosses, with a few other objectives mentions earlier and also have some fun crushing the city traffic and fleeing civilians and enemy alike under your giant feet. The camera system is quite good and rarely gets in an awkward position or encounters all those other glitches experienced too often in 3rd person shooters. Slave Zero’s supports multiplayer also, and even though I have not experienced it first hand; just roaming through the multi player maps and combining the tight control scheme will clearly create an awesome frag-fest. Slave Zero comes with a fair amount of multi player maps ranging from small confined frantic arenas, to large intricate battlefields and complexes. The levels do vary quite a bit in terms of look and design. Overall Slave Zero does not bring anything new, and can get a bit repetitive, deterring some players who may get bored. Multi player will extend the games lifetime, but not everyone will be able to experience this. However despite these flaws, Slave Zero’s gameplay is still fun, with its control scheme making it easy to play and engage in some frantic action.

-»¤«- Graphics / Video ~ 7/10 -»¤«-

This game was released a few years ago; therefore the graphics will seem dated today compared to new releases. However back when Slave Zero was originally released the graphics would not have been the most impressive, but far from being the worst of its time. Slave Zero uses the Ecstasy Engine, which has enough bandwidth to have hundreds of moving objects in a lively city and highly animated characters. Slave Zero has a 65 foot scaled environment mapped, bump mapped, mip mapped, gouraud shaded, multi-textured and multi-resolutioned. Slave Zero appears to be alive on screen, breathing and twitching with anticipation. Dodging, shooting, jumping, grabbing, and hoisting are only a few of the fluid animations Slave Zero offers. The particle effects from the weapon fire and explosions are quite impressive, but nothing too special. The enemies are rather detailed and the city itself looks pretty cool too, with all the flashing lights and futuristic textures and architecture. The city is very lively with traffic constantly bustling by under your feet, in the water and above in the air while the battle wages. Just how detailed and fluent this atmosphere will appear on screen to you will depend on your PCs power. Due to the game being a few years old, today’s average PC, not just the most up-to-date should be able to take advantage of all of the Ecstacy Engine’s features and capabilities. Overall Slave Zero is not overly graphically advanced, but does the job and the player will not really get a chance to stop and admire the scenery anyway.

-»¤«- Sound / Audio ~ 7/10 -»¤«-

The techno soundtrack suits the game well, but can get a bit repetitive and boring, especially to those not fond of the genre, however the techno style compliments the fast action. The sound effects are pretty average like other games. It has all the weapon fire, explosions, screams and environmental sound effects you would expect. The voice acting during gameplay and cut scenes is average too, but sometimes lame. Overall the sound and music come together to provide a fast paced atmosphere, which of course suits the game.

-»¤«- Replay Value / Lastability ~ 4/10 -»¤«-

Arcade games generally do not last long in terms of how long it will take to complete the game, unless there are extras thrown in to earn. Slave Zero does not have this, therefore once you finish the game that is basically it. It will take the average game player a few hours to finish this title, and should not pose a great challenge overall. If you find it too easy, then try the hard difficulty level for more of a challenge. After completing the game on each difficulty level, that is it really and there is nothing else to do in single player. You may feel like firing the game up from time to time if you feel like blowing things up, but you probably won’t desire going through the entire game again. Slave Zero could have done with some more gameplay options and modes. What can lengthen the life of this title is the multiplayer aspect. As I mentioned earlier I have not actually experienced this, but it is easy to imagine hours of fun blowing your friends up, up to 15 others infact. Like single player, more options and modes would have been welcome in multiplayer to provide variation and extend lastability. You can only do a basic deathmatch and change the frag and time limit. Overall Slave Zero does not have much replay value in single player once you complete it, with multi player providing more if you and your friends have the ability to do so.

-»¤«- Overall ~ 7/10 -»¤«-

Overall Slave Zero is a fast and furious arcade 3rd person shooter with slightly above par graphics and audio, fun gameplay, awesome bosses and responsive control scheme. However the novelty will wear off once you have finished the game unless you delve into the multi player experience. Fans of this genre and theme should definitely give it a try. Slave Zero is a bit dated now, and would be worth a rent if possible or purchasing for a low price, as it should be nowadays.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 08/25/02, Updated 08/25/02

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