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Boiling Point: Road to Hell (Windows)

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67
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
2.9
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5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Cadorna (190)
Written on  :  Jul 10, 2005
Rating  :  2.57 Stars2.57 Stars2.57 Stars2.57 Stars2.57 Stars

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Summary

GTA meets Deus Ex in the jungle?

The Good

The basic premise of Boiling Point doesn't sound too bad. A game, not unlike the later GTAs, set in the jungles of some hypothetical South American country (closely resembling Colombia), shifted a tad more into the FPS direction. There are multiple fractions, any number of which the player can choose to support, if he can manage without getting on the bad side of any of them. A huge map, filled with two cities, along with a large number of encampments belonging to the various fractions, such as military bases, guerrilla camps, drug plantations, indian villages ... and a helluva lot of jungle. An arsenal of weapons to pick from, ranging from Pistols and SMGs over Assault and Sniper Rifles all the way to Grenade Launchers, RPGs and even SAMs. Numerous vehicles to traverse the map with, from rusty old cars, jeeps and trucks, oldtimers and even vintage sportscars to helicopters and airplanes to motorboats and navy patrol boats to tanks and self propelled SAM launchers.

The graphics, while nothing you'll get excited about if you have seen the likes of Far Cry, are rather nice, especially the cities and buildings look better than those in GTA, and you can even enter most. The struggle to earn money from more than one fraction adds a nice strategical touch, as does the possibility to pursue the main storyline when as often as you like. While the missions from the various fractions are essentially only a source of income, some of them are interesting interludes in their own right. Actually, I'd say the amount of freedom the player has, to do what he wants for whom at which time (even if a mission says "tonight" or something, you can actually do it any night you like), is probably the best thing that can be said about Boiling Point.

The Bad

Unfortunately, the implementation of this premise Boiling Point represents comes with some (pardon the pun) Deep Shadows. First of all, the world might be big, but it's lifeless and uninspired. The graphics, which look OK on first sight, get very repetitive rather quickly. For example, the same model has been used for all the half dozen big bridges in the game area, oftentimes all the interior rooms in a military base will look identical, up to the posters on the walls(presumably photographies of the developers girlfriends), every single gas station on the map looks like every single other one etc. Especially when compared to the recent GTA:San Andreas, which also has a big map, the repetitiveness becomes apparent.

Apart from the aforementioned bases and named locations, next to nothing can be discovered during jungle trips. This is even more serious since the game involves a LOT of travelling around in slow vehicles along curvy roads where each gas station and roadblock looks identical to the one before. A lot of the missions will have you travel fifteen minutes to a location, do a task, and then travel fifteen minutes back to earn your reward. This is eased a bit due to the fact that you can work for more than one employer at a time, sometimes combining several mission goals in one trip, but still, on many occasions you'll have no choice but to take a long trip for the 10th time. And while quite a few missions sport rather interesting objectives and have you discover new places or new stuff to do (like flying planes, which can only be done on missions), at least an equal amount of them feel general and have you doing boring stuff you have done several times before. On top of all, everything is basically without consequence. Kill Major x, Commandante y or Don z on a mission, when you visit town next time, he'll be back alive and kicking.

And while the visuals, albeit repetitive, are OKish, there's sound. Music, while apparently passable, will only be playing at all on rare occasions. Sound effects, on the other hand, are a nightmare. Especially running cars (in which you will spent a huge amount of your playing time) sound downright terrible. Listening to the radio, like in GTA, might have helped quite a bit here, but unfortunately, car radios are a thing unknown in the game's world. The utterings of the various characters you meet are uninspired and as repetitive as the artwork. I for myself have played most of the game with my volume set to 15% (I usually have them at least at 50% when playing a game), so I can barely hear when somebody shoots at me or I'm addressed in a conversation, but can usually ignore any sound, treating it like background static.

Next comes a topic which is present in a disturbing number of games released on PC these days: bugs. Boiling Point is bug ridden, literally. While many of the bugs are merely nuisances most of the time (like the disappearing vehicles bug), some are lethal. There are a few quest stoppers, you can fall through the ground when driving through the jungle - a clipping issue which has you fall into the void, with the bottom side of the landscape slowly disappearing above your head, sometimes the game will dump you to the desktop etc. On top, the performance of the engine is awkward. If you have ever played Diablo 2 (or any similar game) online, you know situations where suddenly the screen freezes, leaving you paralyzed a few seconds, and when you are back in sync, you find that the monster you had been battling has killed you in the meantime. Lag has struck. Boiling Point is probably the first offline game I have played that features lag. It's not rare that you drive around in your car, suddenly everything freezes, and when the screen moves again you find that you car performed a stunt you could never pull off while "actively playing", taking the lives of a few pedestrians that happened to stand in your path with you in the process.

The Bottom Line

Given a little more work, this might have become a real gem. Unfortunately, though, there are too many things that didn't come out in a favorable way, like the ever present repetitiveness, lack of atmosphere and persistence, the bugs and the lack of polish ... it's sad, but can't be ignored. Anyone who enjoys the likes of GTA and would like to play something similar with more focus on FPS shooting and set in a different scenery might want to give it a shot. People with a low tolerance on the things I mentioned above might want to pass, however.