William Shatner's TekWar (DOS)

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Critic Score
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Written by  :  Roedie (5253)
Written on  :  May 09, 2005
Rating  :  0.75 Stars0.75 Stars0.75 Stars0.75 Stars0.75 Stars

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Another one of those BAD merchandising games.

The Good

William Shatner's TekWar deserves credit for being, to my knowledge, the first FPS that takes place in a regular/realistic-looking city (New L.A.). While walking around on the streets you get the feeling this city could exist. There are cops on the streets that will fire at you as soon as you draw a weapon but ignore you otherwise. Moreover the city is populated by a lot of innocent civilians, who start screaming when you pull out a gun. You can decide to leave them alone or use them for target-practicing purposes. Try out your flamethrower on them and they will run around in blind panic. Looks hilariously silly. Some aspects of the graphics are not too bad. Surroundings like the hospital and the museum look more than decent (if you take the age of the game and other FPS games from that time like Hexen into account).

The Bad

You've probably noticed TekWar's rather low MobyScore. I fully agree with this rating, as there are a lot of things about this game I dislike:
  • The intro movie must be worst one that I've ever seen. I had absolutely no idea what was going on. The quality of the FMV sequence is pathetic. Take a look at screenshots 2 & 3 and you'll know what I mean.
  • Each of the seven missions starts with a briefing by Shatner. Technically these FMV briefings are a lot better than the intro (higher resolution) but they are not exactly useful. Basically every briefing comes down to: kill this or that guy and if you don't I'll have you put back on ice. I think they filmed those briefings before they even designed the levels. There are no real instructions, no tactical map, no mission objectives, no coordinates... nothing at all. Just Shatner ranting.

    Once you enter a level you won't receive any info or intelligence either so you'll just have to search every nook and cranny of the map till you've found & killed the particular Tek Lord. This makes the gameplay unnecessarily confusing.

  • All the seven regular missions play exactly the same. Every level comes down to "search the entire map and kill the Tek Lord"; and of course you're always required to, first find the red keycard to open the red door and the blue keycard to open the blue door, in order to reach him. Sigh.

    You'll face the same enemies in each of the levels, and unfortunately these enemies are rather stupid and not very interesting. The surroundings do change, you'll fight in a sewer, a park, a museum etc.

  • There is no real connection between the different levels. What you've done in mission A (for instance killing 25 civilians) does not affect mission B. Shatner gets mad at you during the post-mission briefing but it does not affect the gameplay.

    Some of the seven missions are divided into two or three sub-levels and you'll have to use the subway to travel between the different maps. Then the following thing happens: you have completed the first sub-level and go back to the subway (you leave the first map). When you enter the second sub-level the computer loads the new map and you lose all of the weapons you collected and the game has forgotten your previous health/status. This does not exactly help to immerse the player in the game-world.

  • The combat in this game just is not very engaging. As I mentioned before, you'll face the same enemies in each level and since they're not very intelligent or strong it doesn't take much to defeat them.

    There are no pleasant surprises in the weapons department either. You've got the obligatory rocket-launcher, four handguns, a flamethrower and a electro-shock weapon. These last two have a rather short range so you won't use them very often even though they bring the most fun to the game. The four handguns work more or less the same (one fires bullets, one lasers, on fireballs etc. but you all use them in the same way). There's no machine-gun or grenade-launcher that let's you lob a projectile over a wall or something. None of the weapons has a cool sound effect or reloading animation like the shotgun from Doom. When hit, enemies just kinda fall to the floor (except for when you waste them with the laser or flame-thrower) in a rather silly way. The bullets don't have a very satisfying impact.

  • Some parts of the TekWar's graphical presentation are really bad. There is hardly any color in this game; everything looks very bleak. The game has a lot of ugly looking brown & gray textures. The enemies and civilians that populate the levels are primitive sprites which don't integrate very well into the surroundings. They kind of seem to float above the ground.
  • The music is crap and so is the on-disc manual (I bought the jewel case version).
Anything else? Yes, after you've killed a Tek Lord you receive a matrix symbol. With this symbol you can enter a special matrix level. This matrix level is one of the worst & confusing levels I have ever played. Without any explanation about what you are supposed to do, you're dropped into the matrix. You control a sort of projectile firing VR-glove that floats through some early nineties visualization of a cyber-net. Lots of odd textures, red & yellow lights and weird silver enemies that should probably represent viruses or a firewall or something but no, I repeat NO, clue or info whatsoever. I tried to complete it but after two hours of wandering around aimlessly I gave up. Dear developers, if you're gonna be this vague, please write something about it in the damn manual!

The Bottom Line

Rubbish, just like almost every other game by Capstone. It has some features that could have set it apart from all the Doom clones that appeared in the early nineties, but it turned out to be a very poor game.