Review by rockman134uk

Reviewed: 11/14/03 | Updated: 11/16/03

A solid shooter.

Warthog's Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter kept me waiting for a long time. From the moment I read the preview in a UK Xbox magazine, I realised that this was one of those rare games that I had little actual knowledge of, but somehow just had to own.

And after many frustrating release delays, I finally managed to snap up the finished product at my local store. I immediately rushed home, vainly trying to hide my geeky enthusiasm sitting on the bus. That was two months ago.

STORY- 6/10
Rather typically for a modern action game, the storyline in Mace Griffin relies very heavily on Hollywood action movie clichés. Mace, a futuristic Ranger who's voice unashamedly radiates connotations of Clint Eastwood in his Western movie period, is set up for the murder of his team during a deep-space investigation on an empty ship. For this he was sentenced to 10 years in the old intergalactic slammer, from where he emerges, as he puts it himself, ''An embittered man'', though suspiciously, not looking a day older.

And so predictably, the classic revenge theme comes into the fore, the game from then on being spent seeking out those responsible, which means pretty much anyone who looks vaguely unfriendly, and, as you might expect, filling them with holes. Relieving Mace’s sense of injustice. It's painfully apparent that this plot serves as little more than a tacked on story, but nevertheless it manages to avoid sinking to tedium.

The graphics in this game are clear and solid. Criminally underrated by other sources, I found them to be actually very good. The animation is fluid and smoother than Halo, and the previously mentioned solidity of the environments is particularly impressive. Only the outside missions let the visuals down a little.

Consisting mainly of shooting and very linear exploration, the gameplay in Mace is both simple and enjoyable. There's little to no puzzle-solving, the action is frantic and the enemy AI intelligent.

The space-shooter sections that seamlessly link the bulk of the game's shooting sequences seem like a novel idea for a while, however the dazzle soon begins to wear off and you grow to dread another 20 minutes of aimless, repetitive flying and targeting. Neither can you land anywhere, or generally enjoy the freedom you would associate with being released into space, and you'll be glad when it's time to set down again.

Controlling Mace is simple and intuitive. There are many easy-to-use guns at your disposal and buttons are assigned to swapping between weapons, throwing grenades and so on. It's all very reminiscent of Halo.

Controlling the spaceship is also a breeze. This is no awkward, clunky flight sim.

SOUND- 8/10
The orchestral soundtrack accompanying the action enhances the gameplay to just the right effect. All weapons and in-game noises are clear and crisp. Unfortunately the voice-acting let the side down somewhat in this department; Mace himself gives a notably deadpan deliverance of each line, really taking the drama away in the worst instances, and being just a little grating at others.

OVERALL-(not an average) 8/10

Overall, Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter is a well-rounded, middle of the road game. It stands up well enough alone, as a good shooter with some slight flaws countering some strong characteristics. Worth a play through, and if you are desperate for a solid shooter then Mace is worth buying. In all other cases, I would suggest at least a rent of this game if you are slightly interested.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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