Review by KasketDarkfyre

"The thinking mans action game.."

Falling along the lines of Flashback and Out of This World, you run into games such as Blackthorne that really have more thinking involved than they do action and shooting. You take control of a character that has a shotgun, a bad attitude and some sort of twisted quest to free his people from the clutches of an evil race. Featured on home systems, you’ll find it here on the PC in a visually pleasing thinking mans game with some action thrown in for good measure.

As with all computer games, be aware that every system is different in what you can and cannot do. For the most part, the game is nothing more than a carbon copy of either a system port or an arcade machine and it is only worth playing if you’ve got some extra bucks to spend and are looking to expand a collection. However, if your computer isn’t set up to handle the speed and the different visuals that you find here, you may find that some of the game attributes cause the program to shut down or cause illegal operations. Beware, as always because the files on this game take up a small portion of your drive, and if you try to delete it, it could screw everything up!

The Story

The story line that you find here is something akin to an early version of Abe’s Odyssey in which you undertake the role and persona of Kyle Blackthorne, a prince of the land that is overrun by evil monsters looking to steal resources. If you take the story line and think of Abe’s Odyssey and cross it with something like the Terminator, then you’ll find that the game plays exactly like that with some twists of Flashback and Out of This World thrown in for good measure. Sure, the story line is a basic save the land from the evil doers, but you’ll still find it to be a rather intriguing, if not pleasurable experience all the way through.

The Game Play and Control

The game play is what will catch most gamers from the start and to truly enjoy the game; you have to realize that this game plays a lot like Flashback in the respect that everything is timed out. When you move, your character only moves so far and the drawing of your weapon takes a second to come up as well as firing and the reholster of the shotgun. Your main weapon in the game, as noted, is the ever-present shotgun that fires unlimited ammunition at a target, but never really seems to have a rapid fire or anything else. Again, this game is all about timing and thinking, not about straight up blasting!

The difficulty of the game is what you make of it, and for the most part, it simply requires you to take a minute and think about what you’re doing. To help with this, the control is set up in order to give you a more planning, methodical way of handling things and you’ll really need to learn what everything does in order to be successful. Because the enemies that you face off against can use the same tactics of ducking and shooting as well as dodging, some of the fire fights that you run into can really be about timing and the press of the button more than just going toe to toe.

The Visuals

Visually, this version of the game that I played on the PC is much sharper in most respects as opposed to the home console system versions of the game that focused on color. If you’re looking for a speedy game and something that is full of action, adventure and wild explosions, then you need to look for another game, because this title works on the basis of screen by screen. What that means is that for every screen you traverse, you’ll be given another one with a slightly different layout, all of which is detailed nicely, but really has no depth other than moving from one end to the other! Enemies and otherwise all move slow and methodical, but are detailed nicely, right down to the way they blow back when you unload some buckshot into their chest. Truly a feast for the eyes in most respects.

The Audio

The audio that you find here in Blackthorne isn’t the greatest game music known to man, but it does keep the same theme throughout the entire game on one track that does deliver the depth and feeling of the dark mood that the game portrays. For the most part, the sound effects seem to blend into the game nicely, with a couple of good sound bytes that might catch you off guard at first, but do start to fit once you’ve heard them a few times. However, with the lack of audio tracks, for those who are looking to hear something at least a little different, you’ll be disappointed and you may find yourself turning off the sound before too long when the main theme of the game gets stuck in your head!

The Verdict

Blackthorne, while not the most impressively presented game known to man, is a game that requires more thinking than it does mindless button pressing. With the different puzzles that you find throughout and the fact that you control a character who has no qualms of blowing a fellow bystanders head off, there is enough here for gamers that like a slow moving game. However, if you need a game that has constant, never ending action, you need to look elsewhere, because this title is for those who like to take a nice slow walk and not so much a blazing hyper space trip.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 05/10/02, Updated 05/10/02

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