Review by Tenshi No Shi
"A game Chris Carter would play..."
When I first heard about this game, it did very little to interest me. Granted, it was by one of my favorite game companies, but it just looked like any one of a dozen games coming out at the time. As I learned more about it, my interest grew. By the time it finally came out, Broken Helix was on my must have list. Why? One very important reason...
The story is a Chris Carter wet dream: government conspiracies, aliens, cover-ups...just your average episode of the X-Files. You play a bomb expert sent in with a group of army goons to clear out a top secret base held captive by a mad man. From there, the story is up to you as you can play through four total and separate different scenarios depending on the action you choose to take. I don't want to ruin anything for anyone who might want to play this game, but let's just say that in one story, you can decide to do what even Chris Carter wouldn't allow Mulder to do.
With the onslaught of new graphics cards for computers and the Dreamcast just over the horizon, its becoming harder and harder to rate the graphics on the Playstation, but I try to do so with as much fairness as I possibly can. That said, I think the graphics for Broken Helix are pretty good...for its time. Even compared to the Playstation graphics of today, Broken Helix looks a tad dated. Still, there's a lot to be said for a solid 3D engine, and this game most certainly has that. Sporting a few effects and a wide palette of color, Broken Helix can stand its own against most games found on the PSX console.
Sound is where this game truly shines. In fact, it was because of the sound of this game that I purchased this title. Why? Bruce Campbell is the lead voice actor. If you don't know who this is, you haven't seen one of this best series of movies ever conceived: Evil Dead. Playing a smart-mouthed fighter of the undead, Bruce reprises his role as a smart-mouthed fighter of aliens. In fact, many of his infamous one-liners from the Evil Dead movies are found in Broken Helix. The script to Broken Helix is full of funny little events (including an Elvis sighting) and provides much humor.
The controls borrow a little from the likes of Quake and a lot from Tomb Raider, though where one begins and the other ends is anyone's guess. If you fidget with the camera enough, you can play the game with a first-person perspective (which is the way I personally preferred). It may take a while to adjust to the controls from this POV, but in the end I think most will agree that this is the way to go. Handling the controls may seem like a laborious task, but once you become accustomed to the looseness, it's not all that bad.
Though this game has its faults (compared to current games) I still think it's a very well designed piece of work. For the most part, levels are fairly expansive and offer a small variety of puzzles to solve. Not every situation calls for battle (though it is the preferred course of action) and sometimes if you do a little searching and think through a particular scenario, you can use the games own pitfalls and traps against it.
Aside from the afore mention multiple story lines, Broken Helix doesn't offer a lot in extras. Of course, having four different stories to play through with four separate endings is enough for me to enjoy. Just wait until you...oh, I don't want to ruin anything. Trust me, one of the endings is well worth the purchase of this game, as it is the most original story I have ever seen for this genre.
If you're looking for a good, cheap game to fill your time while waiting the release of Final Fantasy VIII or you are a fan of Bruce Campbell; I highly recommend this game. Though it wasn't well received by most critics, I found its story engaging and its script hilarious. Give it a chance, you might like it.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 07/05/02
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