John Romero's Daikatana (Windows)

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Critic Score
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Michael Lum (3)
Written on  :  Jun 19, 2000
Platform  :  Windows

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An entertaining game with variety and a sense of humor that requires patience to appreciate.

The Good

Daikatana offers something different for those burnt out on the likes of "me-also" FPS games. The sound effects, sidekick commentaries, frag comments are hilarious. Aside from the occasional frustration with frame rates, multiplayer execution is eloquent and incredible. The variety of weapons is unmatched by any FPS games I have played, and scares away amateur newcomers to multiplayer games.

With Daikatana, multiplayer skill tactics certainly have a learning curve that most people don't seem to have the patience for. The physics of gameplay, weapons characteristics, maps familiarity, etc., all are extremely important for multiplayer matches. In multiplayer, gameplay is not just about quick reflexes and aim. It takes skill, strategy, and thought.

This game spans four separate episodes in four different time periods, and includes more than 25 weapons, many quite unique, but frustrating to some. I hear most newcomers and some veteran FPS gamers complain that some of the weapons require minimal aim or are simply too powerful; they claim that these are no-skill weapons. I beg to differ as in reality, these weapons tend to kill their users more often, and can require plenty of skill to avoid getting fragged by them.

The Bad

This game is based on a modified Quake II engine. The graphics don't appear as sensational as they do in Unreal Tournament and Quake III. Lips don't move when the sidekicks talk, but all this is trivial to me.

For the record, I do not like the single player mode. The sidekicks are certainly entertaining, but the artificial intelligence that controls the sidekicks is a bit annoying to me. For instance, when Superfly follows, he sometimes will stop in a doorway, let the door close on him, and get crushed to death. Bear in mind that my style of gameplay might be skewed by the multiplayer experience in which quick, stealthy movement is essential. For someone accustomed to the likes of quick strafe jump movement, and frag-on-the-fly capabilities, being followed around by your sidekick friends in single player mode is like playing lazer tag with grandma and grandpa at your side to back you up. You are busy fighting your battles while g'pa and g'ma are flirting with one another.

Multiplayer team play, CTF, deathtag and coop modes are fun.

The Bottom Line

If you are someone lacking in the patience department or judge books by their covers, you will not like this game at first glance. People seem to expect Daikatana to look like Quake III or Unreal Tournament, and equate anything with a lower polygon count as subpar. In my honest opinion, the multiplayer Daikatana experience kicks some major posterior rumpus, and I prefer it to the games I mentioned above. The graphics are not bad.

In single player mode, gamers seem to be discouraged by the green swamp, green sky, green everything and killer pests that greet you when starting the game. Accept this as a challenge, and not an annoyance. The game story will unfold and you soon will be greeted by different challenges.

The multiplayer gaming aspect requires more than just aim and quick reflexes. You have to give yourself time to get familiar with the physics, maps, and learn shortcuts in addition to strategy associated with weapons use. Most gamers who say Daikatana sucks and that UT and Q3 are much better don't have the patience to realize this. The variety of episodes, weapons, and physics make Daikatana skill mastery a bit more complex than one might expect.

This game is not duck hunt, and does take some degree of patience and openmindedness to appreciate at first. If you can humble yourself and not be frustrated by killer frogs, mosquitoes, and killer veterans in multiplayer games, then you'll enter a new level of gaming that is pleasantly similar but remarkably different than other FPS games. The multiplayer fraggage is intense and the payoff for climbing the moderately steep learning curve for this game is extremely rewarding.

Prepare to be frustrated or entertained.