Review by rpgmage_86
"This game makes you wonder what American McGee was thinking!"
Though you may have played Alice and enjoyed it thoroughly for its creative twist on the children's classic book and intriguing plot, Scrapland will no doubt put a dent in your opinion of his work. Scrapland at first glance looks creative, with a fully original universe and the potential to be a successful project. Granted, the screen-shots on the packaging make this game something you would really want to experience firsthand. However, I would recommend doing just that, experiencing the game yourself before you purchase, because you may be surprised at how much this game lets the player down.
In the storyline and environment department, Scrapland is somewhere between original and generic. Outer space is not the newest setting for a video game, and while there are many fine specimen of futuristic games out there, this metropolis is pretty boring. The environment is in full 3d, and the maps are generally well put together, but there isn't any extremely clever elements to them. The storyline also quickly begins to let you down. The basic introduction to the game is as follows: your character, D-Tritus, is a recent immigrant to the city of Chimera, a city whose inhabitants are all robotic. Subsequently, you are without a job, but you quickly get assigned as a reporter for the local news. Soon afterwards, you begin to investigate a series of murders that are aimed toward the high-standing city officials of Chimera.
As you can see, the plot does leave room for a possible deep and involved story to unfold, however it never fully gets to that level and, despite some minor plot twists near the end of the game, it stays confined to this lifeless mission.
When it comes to characters, this game should also deliver in the personality department. However, just about every character in the game is lifeless, lifeless, LIFELESS. None of the characters warrant your admiration or your appeal, with the possible exception of the Crazy Gambler. Even the main character is not developed, a HUGE flaw in any game regardless of its genre.
Overall, the characters ARE realistic for the sole fact that they have no more life than an actual robot, so props must be given to the reality of the characters. However, this is supposed to be a fantasy game, so this does not actually amount to much.
The sound and the visuals are pretty much as you'd expect them to be in this day in age. The visuals are, for the most part, crisp and 3D, not looking quite as good as they do on the packaging but still impressing nevertheless. The visuals during high speed flight verge on being realistic but on many occasions, it still feels as though you're moving pretty slow considering the speed is normally supposed to be around the mid 400's.
The sound, however, has one major flaw. Despite my adjustments to the volume levels, some sounds, sound effects the vocals in particular, are hard to hear without turning up your speakers and codec volume to pretty good levels. I've never had this kind of hard-to-hear problem in any other computer game I've played, especially not on my current PC, so this possible flaw in the program should have been caught pre-release. However, I cannot prove it actually was the game itself, so my apologies if it is only my PC.
The last aspect of the game to review is its game play, which were actually done rather well. The controls, despite needing to be rather sensitive to have adequate control during flight, work just fine and do not take too long to get acquainted with. Interaction with objects and characters is basic but there is not much to expect in that department anyways. The combat, the majority of it while piloting your semi-customizable fighter-ship, is rather fun at times and is perhaps the high-point of the game. I in no way recommend buying the game solely for the combat as it's nothing new, but it is still noteworthy. The only exception is while parking your ship at high speeds, it is hard to get the computer to grab onto your ship so that you even CAN land, which gets very annoying while trying to park at high speeds or with enemies firing on you, which does become an issue at times. Despite a disappointing lack of melee combat with the main character, the game play is perhaps the only area where this game actually excels and gives it any worth in the playability department.
Don't get me wrong, some people may purchase Scrapland and be impressed, or maybe even enjoy it. However, I am a big stickler for a rich and innovative storyline and original game play. With this considered, and with, what is in my opinion, NO chance for replay value, I must give this game a bad review and a score of 5. BUYER BEWARE.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 01/18/05
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