American McGee presents Scrapland

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Description official descriptions

American McGee presents Scrapland is a third-person 3D action game set on an asteroid called Scrapland, a ruined paradise rebuilt by robots, the only inhabitants now. The player controls D-Tritus, a self-constructed young robot that has just arrived in Chimera, the main city. The adventure begins when he accepts a job as journalist and strange things start to happen...

The game is a mix between free-form outdoor levels and indoor levels with combat and puzzle-solving elements. During said indoor levels, the player can instantly change his form between 14 robots, all with their own advantages and special abilities. Utilizing those robots is important to solve puzzles or mini games, e.g. only a tiny robot can fit into small spaces and only certain robots are allowed into some areas. However, those disguises can be seen through by certain enemy types. Then it is a good idea to change to a robot with fighting abilities - aiming is basically done automatically by the game.

The outdoor levels can be freely explored, but there is not much more to do than flying to next the mission objective or indoor level. The parts of the spaceship can be upgraded individually; better parts are gained during the game and by solving optional missions. The player can have up to nine different spaceships and switch between them as needed - a heavy one is better suited for fights while a small one is useful for races.

Additionally, the game features various outdoor areas which can be started outside the campaign and three multiplayer modes.

Spellings

  • Scrapland: Хроники Химеры - Russian spelling
  • 废都 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 75% (based on 32 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.2 out of 5 (based on 34 ratings with 2 reviews)

Shiny, repetitive, half-baked GTA for children.

The Good
Technically solid, no bugs. Install and play.

The designs and graphics are nice. You can kind of see the style McGee showed in Alice peeking through, although where Alice was twisted, Scrapland has kid-friendly futurism (an odd follow-up). Particularly nice is the Temple where the floors fly up from below to form steps as you walk. Nothing really special here though. If you're looking for eye candy see Myst IV - Revelation (you'll find this jewel in the same place for about the same). The only thing the graphics do for the gameplay here is lag.

The gameplay is easy enough to pick up and master, controls are intuitive if limiting. It plays like a Quake 3/Descent hybrid. You fly around semi-indoor environments laden with powerups. The AI, when almost dead, dives toward the nearest powerups to restore health. Although it hardly matters as once you figure out how to change weapons, use the hook and afterburner (somewhere after the first fight), they die in about 2 seconds anyway, no challenges here ... just an endurance contest.

The Bad
Always, ALWAYS, doubt games with X-Box releases! Anything that is touched by the X-Box is doomed to simplification. Apparently anyone who owns an X-Box, despite having enough stamina to withstand hours after hours of rinse and repeat can't be bothered to have conversation choices, tactical gameplay, or any amount of realism. Scrapland as a prime example is oversimplified to the point of absurdity.

Where the fine GTA series walks the line between disposable environments and effective consequences, Scrapland nose-dives into the former. Nothing you do in this game, no side game, no money grabbing, has any consequences whatsoever. You can die over and over, only to take down a few ships for enough money to buy five times the lives you lost without so much as breaking a sweat (and this is is on hardest difficulty!). Boooring!

And oh yes, speaking of the highly acclaimed customizability and 15 different robots with oh so different abilities--not so fast. The "customizability" consists of linear upgrades limited only by the vast hordes of cash you can accumulate in about 2 seconds of aimless flying. All robot abilities have something to do with stealing cash or killing other robots nor does it matter which robot you use when really as all are available to you from the start at no real cost. All you end up doing in-doors is chasing waypoints or evading cops GTA-style (well almost, basically you walk around a corner, stand around for a few seconds and they forget all about you.) There is NO gameplay here!

If all that weren't enough, this game was translated from SPANISH to English. This won't apply to those of you who get a Spanish copy and can actually understand it, but for the rest of us, we have to put up with lifeless voice acting and mind-numbing dialogue (which probably sucks as much in Spanish as it does in English). McGee, have you never played Grim Fandango?! Games can have stunning voice acting! This game is downright painful!

The only community this game has around it is bad reviews. Look anywhere else and you will find poor reviews of this game decrying these same pitfalls, even on the official forums! There are NO online servers, no mods (despite a fairly solid engine), nothing.

The only excuse, repeated over and over, is that this game is for kids. Someone has finally thought of the CHILDREN! American McGee, our savior! With games like these, our children will grow up into half-wit office drones from Dilbert (if even) running from waypoint to waypoint without a thought between their ears. If you are really thinking of the children, buy them a BOOK.

The Bottom Line
I feel ripped off and I only paid $14.95. McGee, what are you thinking?! This is NOT the Alice 2 we wanted!

Windows · by Risujin (8) · 2006

A Grand Theft Auto killer in a large, gorgeous robotic city

The Good
The graphics, the graphics, the graphics. I cannot BEGIN to emphasize how flashy the graphics are. From the heat shimmers on the dozens of differently modeled (and colored) engines, mounted on the multitudes of vastly different-looking ships, that you can build and configure according to your desires, these graphics are eye-popping. The cityscapes are gigantic, and each has its own mood. The Commercial district feels like Casino Night Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog, but done up in 3D DirectX 9 splendor. Even after spending hours flying around that district, there’s always another new detail that will catch your eye after rounding the next corner. All the districts and buildings are like that. Similarly, all of the character models in the game are intricately detailed and animated, and are worth admiring. Of all the things this game does well, graphics are what it does best, and there are absolutely no complaints in this department, only endless praise.

The setting is also outstanding. An all-robot society that dwells in varied environments throughout the city of Chimera, which is situated on an abandoned human planet. As the robot D-Tritus, you’re given missions that fit your bottom-rung status in an all-robot society. Similar to the Grand Theft Auto series, you’re a pawn in the schemes of the bigger players in the game world, and your carry out your errands in a tricked-out ride of your choosing. You can take your time about it for the most part, and complete side missions in between the story missions. This is frequently done by taking on the role of other robots through Great Database terminals that are scattered throughout the indoor environments. This adds a very interesting twist to the game, which is highly reminiscent of the game Messiah, though its execution is about as different as it can be.

The Bad
The biggest part of this game is the combat, and it is not good. It’s pretty, it’s fast, it’s frantic, and it’s terrible. The AI takes on an air of cheating that is almost unbearable. The very second you push an enemy ship past a certain damage point, it instantly beelines to the next health pickup, regardless of where it is, even if it’s completely out of the line of sight, since the AI knows exactly where in space that all pickups are. The first dozen times this happens it’s... interesting, and the next hundred dozen, it’s infuriating. Especially with greatly annoying combat mission directives that are thrown into the mix, presumably to make the combat more interesting. Neither the questionable AI behavior nor the added mission directives add anything positive to the combat. The on-foot combat inside of buildings isn’t all that much better, but at least there are no health pickups for your quarry to dart for the second you take him to 25% health.

With the wide variety of ship chassis’, engines, and configurations of the ship as a whole, it really feels like there are only a few base ship classes, since all ships invariably feel like one another, especially since you’ll end up configuring them basically the same every time you upgrade. And upgrades are not really necessary, besides engines and a few of the earlier weapon upgrades. I usually ended up upgrading only when I wanted a change of pace, and usually just switching engines was enough to satisfy that desire.

The English translation of the game is very poor at times. While I caught the gist of nearly all of the cutscenes and narrations, there were a few late in the game that were completely off the wall due to the words choices. The voice acting suffers greatly because of this poor translation, I’m sorry to say, so the game frequently comes off sounding like a poorly dubbed (and subbed) foreign movie. The story was the one thing that suffered greatest from this, in my opinion. There is a lot of good humor in the game, and I can’t help but wonder if some of the humor that helped the story along in the most necessary of places was lost in the game’s translation. As it stands, many of the cutscenes are just laughably embarrassing to watch, with some of the worst offenders being downright uncomfortable. These are the scenes that I’m sure that some bizarre humor was lost during the translation, especially considering the well-done humor at other times in the game.

Finally, the game is very short. I have conflicted feelings about this, because towards the end of the game I just wanted it to be over. The questionable tactics of the AI, the bizarre story with no help from some of the English translations, and the same basic missions with some new ships, engines, and weapons thrown in; it all ended with a rushed desire to finish the game. In the end I lost sight of the Las Vegas-like vertical cities, and just focused on ending the game. Unfortunately, the end-game is drawn out to the point of absurdity, with one aggravating combat sequence topped by the one that followed it. I was shouting obscenities at the screen during most of those combat sequences, and that’s not playing on the Hard difficulty.

The Bottom Line
I really wanted to like this game, for the most part wasn’t disappointed. Going into this game, the setting and whole idea had me sold well in advance of playing it, and that sell let me float through three quarters of the game, enjoying every minute of it. Graphics, missions, everything; since I’m the kind of guy that actually enjoys a little bit of tedium in missions (as in Grand Theft Auto), the variety of the missions in Scrapland satisfied me, and exceeded my expectations most of the time.

By the end of the game, however, anger had replaced the joy and wonder that had accompanied the first three quarters of the game, since my tolerance level for certain AI difficulties started to get to me. Even with the detailed game world, it starts to feel small after a while, due to the limited number of places you actually interact with in the world. And the flashy ship configuration just ends up being a way to kill time, or mount new engines.

Windows · by Bet (473) · 2005

Trivia

Cancelled version

A PlayStation 2 version was announced, but was cancelled.

Title

Contrary to what the game title implies, American McGee didn't design this game; he is credited as the executive producer.

Information also contributed by Big John WV

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  • MobyGames ID: 15814

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by vEK.

Xbox added by Kabushi.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Sciere, Scott Monster, Klaster_1, Patrick Bregger.

Game added December 11th, 2004. Last modified February 22nd, 2023.