User review spotlight: Carmageddon (DOS). Released in 1997.

Revenant (Windows)

77
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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MobyScore
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Written by  :  Jeanne (75601)
Written on  :  May 16, 2003
Rating  :  2.8 Stars2.8 Stars2.8 Stars2.8 Stars2.8 Stars

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Summary

My hero! Return! Our final destiny has not yet been revealed.

The Good

(This is a review of the single-player version with the v1.22 patch applied.)

Revenant's background story is akin to Planescape: Torment .. a "Who am I and why am I here?" type of thing. Many things about it are different than other RPGs - including the ways level advancement, magic as well as navigation are handled.

In my opinion, the best things about Revenant are the Special Effects during spellcasting and the Sound Effects during battles and death scenes, both of which are a notch above other RPGs I've played. Watch your spells take effect on-screen with flamboyant light, atmospheric swirls and sounds. Some even include a music clip. Cast the "Lava" spell and your enemy will be sucked beneath the surface in a swirl of muck. Listen to the monsters howl, growl, groan, gasp and cry out in agony. As ghouls dance around you, listen to their giggles, yips and yipes. Your character screams in pain and arches his back when hit hard. (This effect is especially good when he gets in the way of a dragon's fire stream!)

I should comment a bit on the other graphics, which are all-in-all pretty darned good. In a way, the top-down look reminds me of an Ultima. The graphics of the buildings, towns, caves and countryside are drawn realistically in top-down, 2D fashion. Monsters are as lifelike as you might expect. I give top marks to the proportions of the monsters in relationship to your character's size and stature. Giants are tall and, well, giant. Ground creatures, like spiders, are small. Oh - and I loved the color-coordinated armor and the way it looks on-screen when worn.

The magic use is innovative. Spell scrolls are mere recipes, and you won't need reagents or other such paraphernalia. Find element-based talismen and combine them together to make your own spells. The number of times you can cast a spell is only limited by your mana. And ... if a monster's icon is shown on the screen, even if you cannot see his bodily form, you can hit him with a spell - even if he is behind a wall!

The teleporters are another nice feature. They allow you to hop to and from the town to stock up on supplies. Going back through the teleporter magically sends you to the exact spot where you were.

I also liked being able to choose which stats to increase beforehand. It seemed to give me more control on what my character specialized in (magic or weapon use).

The Artificial Intelligence was good and seemed to be consistent overall.

The Bad

Reading the manual and keeping it handy is a MUST because the workings of Revenant have a huge learning curve. Speaking of the manual, it contains everything you need to know, but it is split up rather poorly making it difficult to find what you're digging for.

The rude, obnoxious, loud voice of your character might turn you off at first, but it does get a bit better over time. After all, how would you feel if you were brought back from the dead to do somebody else's bidding?

Movement is handled using both the keyboard and the mouse - and neither is perfect. There are too many obstacles in your way making negotiating even a simple staircase a big pain. This is probably because all of the game is angled 30 degrees. You'll notice the awkward movement most while trying to circle an enemy to avoid being hit.

The map is too small. It can be enlarged somewhat, but not full-screen which I prefer. (One good thing about the map, though, is that it does show where the monsters are positioned so you can prepare.)

Too much on-screen "stuff" gets in the way of playing. You'll be constantly opening and closing windows and there are too many of them (spells, stats, inventory).

The inventory management system has a few quirks too. Pick up an item and it might go into a storage sack - or it might not. Simply finding that item can be needlessly time-consuming.

Training for special combat moves is only available at specific levels. This means if you advance in the middle of a dungeon somewhere and can't get back to town, you may miss the chance.

I like romping through caves as much as anybody, but, believe it or not, there are too many of them strung altogether in one section. Once you go into "the caves", there seems no end to them. And, the exits of those caves are too well concealed.

Your saved games are arranged alphabetically, instead of by date. If you've left the game for awhile, figuring out which game to load is harder. "Quick Save" is available, but each one is saved in a separate slot. Inefficient and unintuitive.

I never became endeared to the character - actually never cared about him one way or another. And, because of some unknown quirk, I never saw the ending no matter how many times I defeated the final boss! Believe me, I was disappointed and pi**ed off, to say the least!

The Bottom Line

I grew tired of the "hack and slash" about mid-way. I suppose that I wanted more story, more informative NPC conversation, more background history ... basically more adventure. In the fighting department there's plenty to do, but I found it lacking in the "quest" department.

I guess I've been spoiled by better RPGs. I can't say this was bad because there were many things I liked about it. But, it was not worthy of all the hype it was given.