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

The Wheel of Time (Windows)

82
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.5
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Thexder0 (529)
Written on  :  Sep 28, 2002
Rating  :  4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars

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Summary

Very refreshing shooter with a story (90/100)

The Good

This game was excellent. The graphics are top notch and moody. The soundtrack is kind of a mix of "medieval" with "new agish", but it does fit the atmosphere and I found myself wanting to listen again to some of the tracks. Voice acting is quite good, too, and the story is entertaining and well told (a world well set helps a lot with the background, I suppose). But the awards really go to gameplay and level design.

Level design seems to depict "real" places instead of "random arenas", but without ever getting you lost. Some levels are quite memorable (Shadar Logoth's creepy monsters and simple but moody soundtrack; the White Tower heights; the Black Wind levels are *really* creepy). Also, while most of the time you do just kill monsters to keep going, some levels are about *defending* places instead -- a very nice change of pace in an action game.

As gameplay goes, we are given 40 spells to try out and they do feel different from each other. While some of them do work as "guns" (dart, fireball, seeker, etc.), some others have interesting defensive and strategic uses (reflect, swap places, detect traps, etc.). Once you are through with the game, you will realize that you will have used all spells in different parts of the game. While I have only played the single-player campaign, this huge number of useful options suggests that multi-player must be a blast.

And finally, it is refreshing to play a woman character in an action game that is NOT half-naked NOR "cold as steel" (though there are plenty of fairly visible big bosoms for some other characters). :)

The Bad

The cutscenes' graphics are well drawn, with good dialogue and acting, but the physics of the models used in them is just horrible. Female characters have hair that looks like hard plastic; paper letters look like they are made of hard plastic; clothes often behave like hard plastic; the big bosoms I mentioned before... well, you get the idea. While I do appreciate the difficulty of making good physical models for cutscenes, these defects can be a bit distracting at times.

Some people might be put off by the fact that this is a HARD action game, while hardcore action gamers might be put off by the fact that there is a "slow" story unfolding and the main character is not a cigar-chewing Arnold Schwarzenegger look-alike. I particularly did not mind this first fact, and ENJOYED the second one for a change.

The Bottom Line

"Unreal" gameplay meets a "The Longest Journey" story. A very enjoyable game.