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Iron Storm (Windows)

71
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
2.8
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  kbmb (399)
Written on  :  Mar 17, 2004

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful

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Summary

A very original setting; a very forgetable game.

The Good

I really enjoyed the setting of this game. I confess, I don't know a great deal about war history other than we fought zombies and cyborgs in World War II, so I imagine that someone with a little more knowledge would probably get more out of this than I would. The game takes place in the 60s. The only difference is, World War I never ended and it still rages on.

The weapons are pretty cool. By "cool," I don't mean gatling laser chainsaw-missiles or anything rediculous like that. Instead, Iron Storm arms you with clunky "new technology" weapons that might have existed in that era had World War I never ended. They're not accurate, they're not fast, but they're the best we've got.

If there's one thing this game has going for it, it's its original atmosphere and setting. You begin in the trenches, fighting alongside your comrades against the enemy while helicopters fly overhead, bombs go off around you showering you in dirt and debris, and in the distance you hear the echoes of more chaos. Despite its mediocre graphics, the sound, environment and setting can really immerse you in the game.

The Bad

Unfortunately, aside from the original setting, there's nothing in this game that sets it apart from any other first-person shooter. Your options when dealing with NPCs is limited to "hear what he has to say" or just shooting them. 99% of your objectives is basically to get from Point A to Point B alive, which means taking down hordes of bad guys. Now that wouldn't be so bad, really, but the game doesn't give you enough meat with it. Every enemy (save for the...ehm...exploding dog) looks identical, aside from bodies and some blood splatches on the walls there's no real battle remains. There's really nothing exciting about combat. Aim gun. Fire. Advance. Aim gun. Fire.

And combat isn't easy at all. You'll find bad guys just spawn out of nowhere once you reach a certain area, which is really stupid if you decided to take a path the designers obviously didn't want you to take. In the very first level I had about ten bad guys spawn right in front of my comrades once I armed a turret (by the way, another stupid first-person shooter cliche exists in this game: any time there's a turret you can man, there will be a horde of enemies coming at you to chew down...many times in Iron Storm, though, the enemies won't even charge. They just stand around waiting for you to shoot them like it's some target range) and of course, it was up to me to save my buddies since they can't hit anything smaller than a barn.

You also can't lean around corners and shoot, which means in order to get a shot off you pretty much have to expose at least half your body when firing, which really sucks especially if there are snipers around, which tend to kill you in one hit.

Another problem that makes combat really tough is that often times you'll be getting shot at from God-knows-where. Bullets don't leave trails and muzzle flashes are so small you don't notice them at all...if they even exist? Also at times it can be tough to tell if you're getting shot at all. The screen doesn't turn red to indicate a hit or anything like that. Instead, you just sort of slide over a little and your little health meter drops a bit. When there's a lot of explosions going on around you and you're kind of moving anyway, you might find that you had just been shot all to hell and had no idea.

I admit, I did not beat this game. Heck, I doubt I even made it half way. I arrived at a spot in which I was advised to remain hidden, and that seemed an impossible task. The moment I was able to see the enemy, they also could see me, and then a helicopter would fly overhead and kill me forty times over. I could not get past this part, and by that point, I was too tired of dying over and over and over and over again to continue.

The Bottom Line

With such an original setting it's sad that this turned into a bland exercize in quick-saving. The weapons all look cool, the story is neat, and if you have some tolerance you can really immerse yourself in the game. But be prepared for some tough battles, buggy AI and bad game design.