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American McGee presents SCRAPLAND (Windows)

75
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.1
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Risujin (10)
Written on  :  Mar 01, 2006
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  1.29 Stars1.29 Stars1.29 Stars1.29 Stars1.29 Stars

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Summary

Shiny, repetitive, half-baked GTA for children.

The Good

Technically solid, no bugs. Install and play.

The designs and graphics are nice. You can kind of see the style McGee showed in Alice peeking through, although where Alice was twisted, Scrapland has kid-friendly futurism (an odd follow-up). Particularly nice is the Temple where the floors fly up from below to form steps as you walk. Nothing really special here though. If you're looking for eye candy see Myst IV - Revelation (you'll find this jewel in the same place for about the same). The only thing the graphics do for the gameplay here is lag.

The gameplay is easy enough to pick up and master, controls are intuitive if limiting. It plays like a Quake 3/Descent hybrid. You fly around semi-indoor environments laden with powerups. The AI, when almost dead, dives toward the nearest powerups to restore health. Although it hardly matters as once you figure out how to change weapons, use the hook and afterburner (somewhere after the first fight), they die in about 2 seconds anyway, no challenges here ... just an endurance contest.

The Bad

Always, ALWAYS, doubt games with X-Box releases! Anything that is touched by the X-Box is doomed to simplification. Apparently anyone who owns an X-Box, despite having enough stamina to withstand hours after hours of rinse and repeat can't be bothered to have conversation choices, tactical gameplay, or any amount of realism. Scrapland as a prime example is oversimplified to the point of absurdity.

Where the fine GTA series walks the line between disposable environments and effective consequences, Scrapland nose-dives into the former. Nothing you do in this game, no side game, no money grabbing, has any consequences whatsoever. You can die over and over, only to take down a few ships for enough money to buy five times the lives you lost without so much as breaking a sweat (and this is is on hardest difficulty!). Boooring!

And oh yes, speaking of the highly acclaimed customizability and 15 different robots with oh so different abilities--not so fast. The "customizability" consists of *linear* upgrades limited only by the vast hordes of cash you can accumulate in about 2 seconds of aimless flying. All robot abilities have something to do with stealing cash or killing other robots nor does it matter which robot you use when really as all are available to you from the start at no real cost. All you end up doing in-doors is chasing waypoints or evading cops GTA-style (well almost, basically you walk around a corner, stand around for a few seconds and they forget all about you.) There is NO gameplay here!

If all that weren't enough, this game was translated from SPANISH to English. This won't apply to those of you who get a Spanish copy and can actually understand it, but for the rest of us, we have to put up with lifeless voice acting and mind-numbing dialogue (which probably sucks as much in Spanish as it does in English). McGee, have you never played Grim Fandango?! Games can have stunning voice acting! This game is downright painful!

The only community this game has around it is bad reviews. Look anywhere else and you will find poor reviews of this game decrying these same pitfalls, even on the official forums! There are NO online servers, no mods (despite a fairly solid engine), nothing.

The only excuse, repeated over and over, is that this game is for kids. Someone has finally thought of the CHILDREN! American McGee, our savior! With games like these, our children will grow up into half-wit office drones from Dilbert (if even) running from waypoint to waypoint without a thought between their ears. If you are really thinking of the children, buy them a BOOK.

The Bottom Line

I feel ripped off and I only paid $14.95. McGee, what are you thinking?! This is NOT the Alice 2 we wanted!