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It was over a year ago that I first heard about this really cool dragon combat game that was going to mix Heavy Metal style graphics with famed rocker, Ozzy Osbourne. This explosive combination certainly spawned glorious visions of massive dragon battles reminiscent of the Dungeons & Dragons movie accompanied by a Black Sabbath soundtrack.
Les graphismes sont très moyens, l'animation saccade et les missions se répètent invariablement. En revanche, les déplacements sont assez plaisants et vous laissent totalement libre dans les niveaux. Ce jeu très moyen ne conviendra qu'aux fans de shoot peu exigeants.
There was a time, not too long ago, when this dragon-riding shooter went by the title Ozzy’s Black Skies. In those days, the game starred a former Black Sabbath frontman turned unlikely sitcom family man, and followed an esoteric concept-album theme in which the game’s three campaigns and 30 missions were flighty interpretations of different phases in Ozzy’s career.
The game originally known as “Ozzy’s Black Skies” has finally arrived on PS2. The original concept was based on the music of Mr. Osbourne, but either he was pulled at the last minute due to funding or there was some sort of music lawsuit involved. Either way, Ozzy’s not there … and the game has been released under the name Savage Skies. Since the gameplay and plot have remained the same, according to what I’ve read, I don’t know if even the dark lord of metal could add anything better to this title. Not that it’s not fun or a bad game, but it has some issues which will keep it out of the “must have” list for a lot of people out there.
Savage Skies was originally called Ozzy's Black Skies, and it was intended to be a fantasy flight combat game that was inspired by the music of Ozzy Osbourne and starred the infamous rock icon. Somewhere along the line, Ozzy Osbourne's name, music, and likeness were dropped from the game, and the result is Savage Skies, a pure fantasy-themed shooter. The strongest points in Savage Skies are its unique lineup of fantasy creatures and a good number of interesting environments that reflect the theme well. But beyond that, you'll find a basic aerial shooter that often has an abnormal level of difficulty and doesn't really provide the sort of entertainment that's likely to keep you coming back for more. Further detracting from the game are sketchy graphics, poor voice acting, and forgettable music.
Ozzy Osbourne in a videogame? Don't laugh: it happened to Journey with an 80's arcade game (laugh now), and it almost happened to Ozzy when developer iROCK began working on Ozzy's Black Skies. This fantasy aerial combat game was going to feature a heavy metal soundtrack by the master himself, along with playable Ozzy characters. Ozzy may be talented, outlandish, and even entertaining outside his role as a singer (see the bizarre MTV "reality" show The Osbournes for proof). Still, he's not exactly the first person you'd want to see in a videogame. For whatever reasons, iROCK ditched or lost the Ozzy license during the course of developing Black Skies. With some tweaking and a name change, Savage Skies was born. Sadly, it was born prematurely. It could use a lot more work, if not a fresh start from scratch.
Savage Skies takes place in another world in the times of dragons and powerful warring factions. Every faction has their own reasons for taking out other factions, but it is never clearly stated what exactly those reasons are. The game will constantly drone on about victory this and that, and ruler of so-and-so land. It is as if they are trying to tell an epic 6-part story within the confines of a 2-page brochure. What this all boils down to is a storyline that you could care less about.
Epic battles among mythical beasts are prime material for a good console game, and such a release, implemented correctly, would be a great solo or multiplayer choice for medieval fantasy lovers. Savage Skies is not implemented correctly; the only thing that shines is its length. There are 25 missions, multiple mission goals, dozens of creatures to pilot, oodles of gimmicky cheats, and a two-player mode. However, the storyline is half-baked, the graphics and sound are substandard, the music is intolerable, and weak enemy AI makes for boring gameplay. Multiplayer dogfighting is a nice addition, and you can unlock several arenas to do it in, but that requires a lot of effort in the single-player area. For most, the experience will not be worth it. Savage Skies definitely has a good concept, with its wide range of dragons, wyverns, pegasi, and mythic birds, but perhaps the next incarnation of this niche genre will prove more engaging.
Savage Skies, if nothing else, will go down in history as that game that was going to have Ozzy Osbourne in it. iRock Entertainment's original premise was to stick the legendary metalhead on the back of a dragon and have him fly around killing things, which may very well be the greatest high concept in the history of videogames. Unfortunately, it was also one of the more expensive ones, not to mention difficult to sell to a market perplexed by the contrast ("Ozzy on a dragon? How could that be fun?") and so now we get the skies without the Ozzy.