Abuse (DOS)

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Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39506)
Written on  :  Mar 05, 2006
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars

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Let's deliver some abuse inside a prison

The Good

In the year 2009, rebel leader Nick Vrenna is captured and taken to a high-security prison where illegal military experiments have created bloodthirsty genetic mutations. All inhabitants of the prison, except Nick, become infected. A prison riot inside the complex goes horribly wrong, and, having found out that he is uninfected, Nick must escape the prison while blasting away monsters.

Those who have played Abuse consider it the Doom of platform games. Rather than just having four weapons you can use to destroy monsters, you have up to seven weapons, which is the maximum amount of weapons that you can have in Doom. Each weapon (which features classics as the shotgun, homing missiles, grenade launchers, and flamethrowers) trigger quite an explosion when they come in contact with a monster.

Abuse has a dark theme to it, therefore the game is meant to be played with the lowest gamma correction setting. You can still make out the game's scenery, and some of this scenery includes alien nests, factories, and even windows that you can look out through to view the city. This dark theme enhances the gameplay. The gray background, which you most likely see, fits the prison setting rather well.

Nick is drawn nicely. As he is running around, you can see that he actually has robot legs and he looks funny running around in these. The enemies look good and have excellent AI. Some of the monsters hang on the ceiling and wait for you to flip a switch before they make their attack. A whole bunch of them even jump out from holes in the wall. There are about twenty levels. Some only require you to get through them, while others are a puzzle, requiring you to flip a series of switches to open certain doors or to deactivate barriers.

What I like about Abuse is the built-in editor which you can use to your advantage. With the editor, you can turn on invincibility, but the main power of it is giving you the ability to customize the levels as you progress for it. The level editor is simple to use. (It took me less than ten minutes to learn it.) You can add or delete part of the backgrounds or remove certain objects from the level. If you find an obstacle that you can't get past, for example, you are free to remove it. If you want to jet yourself up to an area but can't find the appropriate power-up, then add it into the game. You can also load levels and play them if you do not want to play the game in sequence.

The music in the introduction sets the game up. This piece of music is in stereo sound, the first time that I noticed. Some notes pan from your left speaker to your right speaker, and vice versa. The sound effects in the game sound as if they come straight from Doom, with certain enemies making grunting noises when they are waiting for you, and sounds as they approach you or get killed.

The Bad

What sets Abuse apart from other platform games is that you have to use both the mouse and keyboard to shoot. You use the keyboard to move Nick and jump, and the mouse to aim upwards, fire, or put your power-up to good use. This is not the way that I play platform games, using two input devices at once. When I aim at a monster and fire, it is very likely that I lose a lot of health as a monster right beside me is giving me quite a pounding. Using two devices also wastes a lot of time.

Although there is some nice scenery in the game, the graphics get rather boring all of a sudden. No matter where you are, almost everything seems gray. There are symbols on each power-up that indicate what they do, but since there is no writing on them, I couldn't make heads or tails with these. The only way that I knew was to bring up the object list in the level editor, see what the object names are, and place them on the map.

You are required to have the MPU-401/Roland sound cards installed in your machine to hear the music in the game. Sound Blaster is not supported as a music type. So if you haven't got MPU-401, then you're out of luck.

The Bottom Line

In Abuse, you must escape a prison while you blast away monsters and flip switches in order to gain access to certain areas. The plot differs from the commercial and shareware versions of the game. I believe that this is the first platform game ever to force you to use two input devices at once, and you may find it difficult just to do this. This is the first game that Crack dot Com released, and we knew what we could expect from them in the future. It is just too bad that the company went bankrupt when they finished this game, but at least it has been released in the public domain.