November 30th, 2007
When a lot of people think about FPS games on the N64 they often draw their minds back to thoughts of Goldeneye or Perfect Dark but during the console’s era the Turok series was also a popular FPS franchise for the system. Following the success of Turok 2 developer Acclaim decided to create a multiplayer based Turok game instead of finishing off the trilogy. This game was Turok Rage Wars.
Turok Rage Wars is a bit like Quake 3 compared to the other Quake games; everything here is based solely on the death match formula, you know so because multplayer is the first option on the selection screen. So obviously you’ve got a hoist of multiplayer options. As for the single player, you select a character and follow a map like layout in which you select what levels you wish to play. For the most part this is linear but as you unlock more characters the routes will become more open. You can also play the single player co-operatively with a buddy. As you’d expect (being a Turok game) theres a nice selection of interesting weapons at hand.
I don’t even think that there is a story in this game and if there is then its not really interesting.
Turok RW boasts a nice selection of multiplayer match customization which is terrific. Unfortunately its nothing on the scale of Perfect Dark but there is more than enough on offer here to satisy fans of the genre. To give you an idea of the game’s scope, here’s some stats ripped straight from the back of the box:
- 36 multiplayer levels
- 16 weapons
- 8 game modes (4 multi/4 single)
- 4 players per game
Acclaim seem to love everything in multiples of 4.
In terms of multiplayer game modes you have Death Match and Team Death Match (called Bloodlust), Capture the Flag and Frag Tag (characters turn into monkeys). So all standard FPS game modes, its unfortunate that Acclaim didn’t introduce any new game modes here. A little bit of innovation here would have gone a long way. Also the level selection is based on the game mode, so if you want to play the Frag Tag game mode you can only play Frag Tag on ‘Frag Tag only’ maps. Much like other FPS games each stage has a special power item which will give you some sort of power for a limited amount of time in Turok RW they call it a Power Core.
Something that I noticed when playing this game with my mates is how slow Turok RW feels compared to Quake or Perfect Dark. This can often make combat feel old and sluggish. Although as you progress in the game you unlock faster characters which does fix this to a degree.
What makes Turok RW so interesting is it’s creative assortment of weaponary. You’ve got your standard pistol, shotgun and rifle configuration but theres also some really creative weapons in here. I’m talking a flare gun, boomerang, plasma rifle, freeze gun (which slows down characters speed) but my favourite has to be the inflator. As the name suggest when you hit people with this gun it increases their size. On secondary fire you can charge up a shot and watch them inflate until they explode. Awesome. What Turok 2 fans will notice is that instead of the standard crossbow you have the Tek Bow and your default weapon is now the Warhammer.
All of the weapons are split into categories, so each player has 2 standard guns(shotguns, pistols, rifles), 2 science based guns (plasma gun etc.) and 1 explosive based gun (rocket launcher etc.). In single player your weapon selection is predetermined depending on the character that you are using. But in multiplayer you select which weapons you want to use per category.
The weapons overall are fairy balanced and its clear that a lot of thought has been put into not only balancing these weapons but also designing them to look and feel right. And it definetly shines through as its the game’s main highlight.
As I mentioned before the weapon selection in this game is superb and is definetly the main highlight of the game. The game’s textures also looks much more crisper than other FPS games for the console (even Perfect Dark). Although its not hard to see why as the game arenas are kept in doors and generally feel quite small and cramped. The game can also take advantage of the N64 expansion pack although it isn’t necessary.
I think as a package this is definetly something that multiplayer FPS fans should be happy with. With 4 dedicated players this game is a blast. It capitalizes on the multiplayer strength of the N64 which is definetly a good thing. Its also a lot more stable to play than Perfect Dark as it stays within the limits of the console’s requirements.
If you’ve played a Turok game before then you’ll know that the game is littered with dinosaurs. Because of the nature of this title this isn’t so. Thankfully this has been fixed as you can unlock a raptor. Unlike the other players the raptor is restricted to their claws as their only weapon(also has a powerful swipe for a secondary function). The raptor can move around much faster than all of the enemies. These attributes actually ensure that the raptor doesn’t out balance the character set.
Unfortunately Perfect Dark had to come along and blow this game out of the water. More guns, levels, options, modes, bots. To this day Perfect Dark remains one of the most customizable console FPS games around. Its hard not to recomend Perfect Dark over this.
The main gripe for the multiplayer would have to be the small stages and 4 player restriction. Most of the stages early on in the game are just a giant square room with some stairs and corridors. Later on these go outdoors and contain various gimicks to make them more interesting. But you are still walking through the same not too interesting environments, they lack natural creatures like fish, even plants aren’t included. So it makes the environments feel very hollow and lifeless. The 4 player restrictions apply to bots as well so you can never go beyond a total of 4 players.
The single player can also get a bit tiresome as the majority of levels have the same goal of fragging bots, the tight and enclosed areas don’t really make it any more interestig either. When you are playing one on one it gets a bit frustrating trying to hunt down that one last bot through the maze like environment.
Turok Rage Wars is a great addition to the Turok series, in its glory days on the N64. It also capitalizes on the strength of the system which is good to see. For Turok and FPS fans this comes highly recomended but for everyone else theres Perfect Dark.
November 26th, 2007
Although it might be remembered for its over the top combos rather than its interesting character design, the way I see it, Killer Instinct was years ahead of every other fighter in terms of character design.
The Killer Instinct characters were very unique for their time. Espcially how a lot of fighting games were borrowing heavily from the Street Fighter II model with their stereotypical ethnic based character set. Of course there were also plenty of 2D fighters with a cast full of ‘freaks’. But again these were somewhat stereotyical and never up to the quality of design as KI. The excellent digitized sprites and (in the arcade) 2.5D graphics put KI ahead in its class.
What I’ll do now is post up some of my favourite renders from Killer Instinct and Killer Instinct Gold(II) to show you what I mean. Keep in mind that most of these renders harken back to the SNES and Arcade days, so they are a little weak on textures.
Fulgore:: Unofficially KI’s main character, check out the awesome claws and lasers.
Glacius was pretty bad ass as well
The characters in KI II or KI Gold continued the trend
Spinal can transform into other characters, which is pretty awesome.
And the lovely B. Orchid
November 24th, 2007
Yeah, I know what your thinking, the Metal Gear Solid 4 Tokyo Game Show trailer came out ages ago. But I also know that chances are you’re bursting at the seams with anticipation for this game, so much so that even if I try to squeeze a tiny bit of juice out of this trailer it’d be worth reading.
This tiny bit of juice won’t be enough to quench your thirst though, so what I’ll be doing is backing this article up with several more analysis based articles right up to the release of this game. In the last 2 months I’ve finished almost every Metal Gear title (except for Portable Ops) and have been compiling data on everything that we need answers for. So to kick it off, lets turn back the clock to the TGS.
In the E3 trailer we learn that Liquid needs to discover more about FoxDie in order to understand how the nanomachines communicate with each other (and once he knew this he could obtain “total battlefield control”). Que for Naomi Hunter’s returning role in this series. At the start of the trailer she explains what I just said and sends out a help message for Snake to rescue her.
The first thing that you’ll probably notice is that her skin colour is much more tanned than the original MGS. The reason being that she should have always looked more tanned (due to her South African origin). Her skin tone in the original MGS was far to light IMO, so they have corrected themselves here.
The crux of this trailer really is about setting characters into their roles, the story finds uses for Naomi as well as other returning characters and introduces a new character. The scenes with Fox Hound don’t give away too much information other than:
- Praying Mantis is one of the PMCs(a part of Outer Haven?)
- FROGS are ‘Liquid’s private army’
- Each member of Fox Hound can work together due to the nanomachines and SOP
In the next scene we are introduced to Drebin, a gun launderer with a strange monkey dressed in underwear.
What I am going to do now is skip everything else in the trailer, focus on one point for a second and then piece the rest of the trailer into a convenient, flowing storyline. After the TGS at the consumer expo E for All Ryan Payton(one of the game’s producer) revealed that there were going to be a total of five environments for MGS4. He only revealed three of them, being; the Middle East, South Africa and somewhere in Europe. Now this trailer actually reveals one more or so it seems; Solid Snake’s location of retirement; Alaska. Near the end of the trailer we see Snake and Liquid prepare for a battle between Metal Gear Rex and Metal Gear Ray(the same one from MGS2?). Now some may argue but this scene has all the constructs of Alaska.
Okay, now lets piece together the rest of this trailer starting from the end with Johnny Sasaki whom has is a been featured in every MGS game in some form or another(read more here). We see Snake disarm him and get him on the floor. Now although the trailer doesn’t suggest this I think that after this incident Snake would meet(be reunited?) with Meryl as Johnny Sasaki is a member of the Fox Hound(which Meryl leads). We can see that this is the result because Snake is with Fox Hound at the start of the trailer.
So Snake teams up with Fox Hound, now before or after this(most likely before), Snake meets up with Drebin whom then helps Snake and Otacon ambush Liquid’s chopper, rescue Naomi and make a run for it. How do I know this? A fine eye my friend.
The chopper(well the convoy plane thing) holding Naomi was also seen in the E3 2005 clip. If you noticed the text on the tank in the scene with Drebin(Eyes on You) this is the same as the tank in the ambush scene as well as the chase scene (where Snake asks “Who the hell are these Patriots?”).
In the ambush scene right after the MGS4 calligraphy text we see Drebin’s tank burst through some gates and onto a landing pad where Snake and Drebin wipe out a few Metal Gears and soldiers. Later on in the montage part we see the plane take off (Otacon piloting) in this quick snippet we see Naomi being dropped into Drebin’s tank (his monkey friend also sits atop of the tank during these scenes).
So off the tank goes, through the middle eastern streets with Snake and Otacon following in the chopper above. Metal Gears drop into the area as they are trying to escape.
There are two interesting characters that jump in and out of these scenes, Raiden and Vamp. We see Vamp at the launching pad (with a large bullet shot wound to the head) and also on the streets throwing off his cape. Raiden is in the same sort of area. So what happens next? Cut and paste the awesome fight scene between in the E3 trailer. If you watch both trailers you can see how this then pieces together.
What I suspect Konami will do in thi part of the game is one of the awesome chase sequences. Much like in the escape sequences in MGS1 and MGS3. Which would be followed by the battle with Vamp. Although its a bit tricky to pinpoint how this will unfold exactly. Do you play as Snake in the plane or Drebin in the tank? If you fight Vamp that means that you’ll Raiden will be a playable character. I think that its likely that you’ll be able to control the tank, I’m basing this on what Ryan Payton said about the game featuring some gameplay elements from different genres.(Read more here).
Originally due to the trees in the landing pad area I thought that this might be the South African locale but because the trailer flow like it does this is obviously not the case. Also another point in question, why is Vamp trying to stop Snake get to Naomi? He’d be working for Liquid/The Patriots then.
After that juicy segment, we see Snake and Naomi by the tank, they begin to escape on foot. Naomi tears her clothes, I guess this is to make it look as though she had been kidnapped rather than saved. Otacon then starts talking about Sunny whom is obviously Olga’s daughter. This is confirmed at the end of the trailer. What I don’t understand is where she came from, was she on the chopper?
Meryl then introduces her squad, saying that they are there to investigate PMC (private military company) activity. This is followed by Snake holding a weakened (from the battle with Vamp?) Raiden in the chopper. He then takes Raiden to a cathedral where he meets Eva from MGS3. Shock horror. She’s about 70 years old and is a good guy(confirmed by Hideo, in his podcast..If I remember corretly). Why is she calling Snake, CQC Snake?
Well thats all I’ve got for this one trailer. I’m interested to know where the start of the E3 trailer fits in with what I have just been talking about. Next up I’ll start highlighting the questions that MGS4 should answer for us. Starting with Big Boss, I have a strong argument brewing as to why I think he is still alive and why he is going to be in MGS4. There is already some proof out there that he’ll be in this game, so as a pop quiz, can you find me some proof to his existence in MGS4? Let me know via the Contact Form and I’ll share what I have later on.