Review by DeathscytheHell

"Pure brain dead action can be quite entertaining"

It is impossible for this game not to be compared to Doom or Quake. This is because they have the same basic formula --- go into room and pick up super armor. Spawn 200 enemies. Frantic mass killing follows. Repeat through whole game.
While modern games like Deus Ex, Thief and Half-life made leaps and bounds in terms of what a FPS game requires, this game takes all the crap that has been developed over the years and throws it down the crapper.
If there is one thing this game does right, it's done in the eye-candy department. While not as flashy as say, Freespace2, the graphics look really slick and fit perfectly with the game. Lens flare, stunning reflections, awe-inspiring landscapes and vibrant colors populate all areas of the game, with a super-smooth frame rate to boot. On my Athlon 700 w/ 128 RAM and Voodoo 3000, I was able to play at 1600x1200 with not one hitch in the frame-rate, even when 30 enemies were on screen. The engine is used to great effect in creation of the levels. The game take place in ancient Egypt, and the first tome you step over the sand dune and see huge temples in the distance with pyramids is the distance will make your jaw drop. I usually don't gush over graphics, but the scenery is superb. The enemies also look extremely well detailed. While the different types of enemies are not that great (around 18-20), they look fantastic. Galloping skeletons blow into pieces when hit with a rocket, giant chain gun wielding scorpion, winged harpies and giant four-armed demons that hurl fireballs at an incredible rate are only some of the enemies. Enemies are well detailed with a degree of perfectness that gives you a satisfying feel when you give it a shotgun blast to head and send it flying back 10 feet.
Score 10/10
In this area SS also excels. While the music is not particularly exquisite, the tempo changes based on the on-screen action, which is used to great effect. When walking down a corridor, and the music suddenly picks up without any visible enemies on the screen, the player will frantically search around for the threat. Equally good are the sound effects. Distant growls make the player stop in his tracks, while skeletons can be heard galloping down hallways, harpy's whoosh by right behind your back, projectiles make the typical explosion, but it works well with the game and fits perfectly. Unfortunately, I have no idea on surround-sound, and can only imagine how much better this game would be with it.
Sam himself shouts out somewhat humorous quotes from time to time, and while they are not exactly laugh out loud, they will bring a smile to your face as you're blasting enemies left and right.
Score 8/10
This can be either the games best or worst feature, depending on what you're looking for. If you want a game where you build your characters stats up, make crucial decisions in a branching story line, don't pick up this game. The story itself revolves around Sam ''Serious'' Stone, a monster killing hero sent back in time to stop the invasion. Whatever, I was playing the game for 3 hours before I discovered what the story was. Often in the game the player will pick up items that are obviously crucial to completion of the level, but there is no previous mention of them.
But for the die-hard gamer looking for a quick action fix...
Welcome to paradise. From beginning to end, there is a non-stop barrage of enemies. There seems to be an unwritten rule in this game: no enemy is ever present without 20-30 of his friends right behind him. On the hardest difficulty, levels can have anywhere from 300-500 enemies each. Thankfully there are barely any find the key puzzles, most levels are just walk from A to B and kill everything between the two points. While one of my friends thought the gameplay was lame because it does nothing new, I find it loads of fun to sit down for an hour and blast down a thousand enemies.
One weak point are the weapons which are the usual: knife, dual colt revolvers, single/double barrel shotgun, tommy/chain gun, rocket launcher, grenade launcher, rapid laser blaster and a cannon (yes, a cannon, like the ones found on pirate ships). While nothing special, they certainly get the job done, and have great sound effects.
One cool feature appears every time a new enemy is killed. Your ''in-game'' computer analyzes the enemy and brings up a screen that hosts the enemies stats. While not useful for anything, it's a nice touch.
The absolute best feature however, is the near complete absence of bugs. I had not one crash or blue screen of death. However, there is a major problem for Voodoo users. The game runs choppy and colors are pretty screwed up, but this is easily fixed by heading over to Wicked3D's web-site and downloading the recommended drives, after which everything works perfectly.
Score 8/10
With the constant nonstop carnage, the game ends to quickly. Veterans will probably find around 10 hours at most, with newbies around 13. However, there are 5 difficulty levels and plenty of secrets on each level. Multiplayer is decent, if somewhat lacking. Just regular deathmatch for frag-fests. On the plus side, the game does feature a co-op mode, something lacking in most FPS games these days.
Of of the best features in this game are the extras included on the CD. Editors for both enemy models, weapons, level creating etc. are included, and are surprisingly easy to use. Days after the game was released the SDK was released on the games-web site, so it shouldn't be long before programmers have mods and TC's popping up all over the web.
So why did I give this game a 7/10 instead of higher. Simply because I believe that getting a higher score would imply that this game makes some great bound is FPS gameplay, which it does not. When compared by gameplay mechanics to other current games, a 7 is as high as this game could go.
I simply love this game. Non-stop action, in-your-face sound effects and great editing tools imply a long life for this product. Not to mention the $20 price tag, and this game is a winner.
Overall score- 7/10

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 04/02/01, Updated 04/02/01

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