Review by SW4EtErNiTy

"An instant SEGA classic"

It is the year 1XXX (e.g. I don’t know) and back when steam engine powered trains ruled transportation, atomic energy was discovered. Don't remember that during our history? Neither do I. Well according to this game; this is how our history went. Now the world is full of jet packs and atomic powered blow dryer’s (as far as my guess goes ^_^). The Dr that originally discovered this power, dubbed Haley Power since all the power come from the tail of Haley's comet of course, has gone mad. He has found out too much about human Psyche and has demolished an entire colony of people in to monsters. And you have to stop him. The story isn’t great nor does it have any kind of real ending do don't worry too much about keeping up, it's not worth it.

Since this game is all about learning control, I am going to start out by telling a lot of those weary about buying the game, that the control was just fine for me. After messing around a while on the first level, I didn't have any trouble past that. Many people claim if you think ducking and walking at the same time is awkward in Halo, then you will not be able to play this game. Totally wrong. All though the movement does require a lot of ''clicking and moving'' similar to Halo's duck and walk, it is not near as awkward, in any way. The controls are as follows: the left stick controls your movement, turning and going forward, backward. Clicking and moving the left stick enables you to boost directly forward, backward, or sideways in a psuedo strafe type movement. The right stick is only for aiming and you are unable to actually turn using the right stick unless you click and move, triggering either a 90 or 180-degree turn. The R button fires, and you use the B, X, and Y buttons to select your weapon, and finally the L button boosts you straight up.

The gameplay is all about old school gaming, shoot everything that moves, in an insane flurry of special effects, gun fire, and exploding alien bugs. There is an occasional objective, but they are never more than a time limit, reaching a certain point, or destroying a certain type of enemy. What this game brings to the genre is the inclusion of a very innovative jetpack. It is very advisable you learn how to use it quick and stay off the ground; because that's the only way you're going to defeat some of those nastier later levels. Once the controls sink in, and your trigger finger is back where it used to be back ''in the day'' you'll get that feeling that your king of the gaming world again, when your killing aliens left and right, comboing in the air, never touching the ground with explosions and sparks everywhere, all without blinking or breaking a sweat.

Since people have complained so much about the difficulty, I will give it it's own little section. People, this game is not that hard. I whizzed through the game very quickly with no little trouble whatsoever save Nanglfar’s Pit I, and the last boss. The pit was one of than hardest stage's in human history, and will test both your jet-packing skills, and patience to the limit. The last boss, is just different. I personally wish it had been a bit harder actually.

There are 15 levels in all, including the bosses', and each level is pretty large, and with many things to buy throughout the game, it will keep you busy for a while. Once you defeat the game, challenge mode will let you play your favorite stages again. Getting the highest level Kelly as well will take a little work, but what this game is really about, is scores. You get rated at the end of each level: D, C, B, A, S S is the best, and you can brag if you manage to get S on every level, because it isn’t easy.

The graphics are very nice, and although it doesn't seem to run at 60 fps all the time, it's always at least a smooth 30 no matter how many enemies are on screen, and there can be quite a lot. The character models, and enemy models are nicely detailed, and all the textures are very high quality and high resolution. This turns out to be one of the nicer looking Xbox games thus far.

Sound wise, this game fares not so well. Some original BG, some remixed from older titles, all lame. The sound effects are OK, are while they don't sound too bad, the gun sound can get quite annoying. In DD 5.1 you can hear it all around, so that's nice, but sound was definitely not the on top of Smilebit's priority list.

Bottom Line
All in all this game is one of those rare, original gems, from an emerging company that will keep you playing for a while, as long as you can get past the controls. Highly recommended.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 04/15/02, Updated 04/15/02

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