In memoriam, Donald Sutherland

William Shatner's TekWar

Moby ID: 2420

Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 60% (based on 14 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 2.4 out of 5 (based on 36 ratings with 4 reviews)

I strongly suggest you play this title for yourself before you pass judgement.

The Good
When I was really bored one day I decided to root through the local electronic boutique bargain bin. In it I found a host of games I had no desire to pickup. This particular title, however, caught my eye. The graphics looked dated but the promise of a freewheeling universe to journey through at my hearts content seemed appealing. To make a long story short I bought the title and took it home. First off the box made the graphics seem far worse then they actually were. The engine can do 640x480 buffered VGA, and it looks pretty good. The sprites are all clearly identifiable and even the 3d objects have nice textures on them. We all know that graphics do not make a game, so rather than ramble on about them I will discuss other elements. The music is basic midi, its neither amazing, nor is it very bad. Its in there to fill the long distances between objectives ( more on that later ). The sound is fairly grainy and I found myself having to turn it off after a while. As for the game play itself, this is where Tekwar both shines and fails. The huge immersive environments are chocked full of details, but not much can actually be interacted with. For example, on the first stage there are these buses that drive around the city. The only purpose they have is to shoot at you, they don't ever stop to pick anyone up. Anyway, beyond that the game is a typical doom shooter, and I can't be to critical of a style I love so much.

The Bad
There is a lot I didn't like about this game, the aforementioned buses are just one example of the games many flaws. Also, the game has cops in it that are supposed to look out for the welfare of the citizens. thus whenever you pull out a gun in public, u become hunted and shot at. Yet your enemies can pull out guns wherever they please. Not only does this add a lot of frustration to the game, but it also makes being tactful and stealthy almost impossible. My biggest complaint against this game is that the objectives are so mystifying that most of the game is spent running around without any idea as to what you are supposed to do.

The Bottom Line
Tekwar isn't necessarily a bad game, but its also not a very good one. I could see how if you were in the right mindset and new what to do, then this game could be very entertaining. I did find myself enjoying it at times, when all of the games elements work together it is an amazing thing to behold. Alas, those moments are few and far between. I can only recommend this game to people who like dealing with large futuristic worlds, that are also willing to overlook any of the games flaws.

DOS · by J9 (2) · 2001

Another one of those BAD merchandising games.

The Good
William Shatner's TekWar deserves credit for being, to my knowledge, the first FPS that takes place in a regular/realistic-looking city (New L.A.). While walking around on the streets you get the feeling this city could exist. There are cops on the streets that will fire at you as soon as you draw a weapon but ignore you otherwise. Moreover the city is populated by a lot of innocent civilians, who start screaming when you pull out a gun. You can decide to leave them alone or use them for target-practicing purposes. Try out your flamethrower on them and they will run around in blind panic. Looks hilariously silly.

Some aspects of the graphics are not too bad. Surroundings like the hospital and the museum look more than decent (if you take the age of the game and other FPS games from that time like Hexen into account).

The Bad
You've probably noticed TekWar's rather low MobyScore. I fully agree with this rating, as there are a lot of things about this game I dislike:

  • The intro movie must be worst one that I've ever seen. I had absolutely no idea what was going on. The quality of the FMV sequence is pathetic. Take a look at screenshots 2 & 3 and you'll know what I mean.
  • Each of the seven missions starts with a briefing by Shatner. Technically these FMV briefings are a lot better than the intro (higher resolution) but they are not exactly useful. Basically every briefing comes down to: kill this or that guy and if you don't I'll have you put back on ice. I think they filmed those briefings before they even designed the levels. There are no real instructions, no tactical map, no mission objectives, no coordinates... nothing at all. Just Shatner ranting.

    Once you enter a level you won't receive any info or intelligence either so you'll just have to search every nook and cranny of the map till you've found & killed the particular Tek Lord. This makes the gameplay unnecessarily confusing.

  • All the seven regular missions play exactly the same. Every level comes down to "search the entire map and kill the Tek Lord"; and of course you're always required to, first find the red keycard to open the red door and the blue keycard to open the blue door, in order to reach him. Sigh.

    You'll face the same enemies in each of the levels, and unfortunately these enemies are rather stupid and not very interesting. The surroundings do change, you'll fight in a sewer, a park, a museum etc.

  • There is no real connection between the different levels. What you've done in mission A (for instance killing 25 civilians) does not affect mission B. Shatner gets mad at you during the post-mission briefing but it does not affect the gameplay.

    Some of the seven missions are divided into two or three sub-levels and you'll have to use the subway to travel between the different maps. Then the following thing happens: you have completed the first sub-level and go back to the subway (you leave the first map). When you enter the second sub-level the computer loads the new map and you lose all of the weapons you collected and the game has forgotten your previous health/status. This does not exactly help to immerse the player in the game-world.

  • The combat in this game just is not very engaging. As I mentioned before, you'll face the same enemies in each level and since they're not very intelligent or strong it doesn't take much to defeat them.

    There are no pleasant surprises in the weapons department either. You've got the obligatory rocket-launcher, four handguns, a flamethrower and a electro-shock weapon. These last two have a rather short range so you won't use them very often even though they bring the most fun to the game. The four handguns work more or less the same (one fires bullets, one lasers, on fireballs etc. but you all use them in the same way). There's no machine-gun or grenade-launcher that let's you lob a projectile over a wall or something. None of the weapons has a cool sound effect or reloading animation like the shotgun from Doom. When hit, enemies just kinda fall to the floor (except for when you waste them with the laser or flame-thrower) in a rather silly way. The bullets don't have a very satisfying impact.

  • Some parts of the TekWar's graphical presentation are really bad. There is hardly any color in this game; everything looks very bleak. The game has a lot of ugly looking brown & gray textures. The enemies and civilians that populate the levels are primitive sprites which don't integrate very well into the surroundings. They kind of seem to float above the ground.
  • The music is crap and so is the on-disc manual (I bought the jewel case version).
Anything else? Yes, after you've killed a Tek Lord you receive a matrix symbol. With this symbol you can enter a special matrix level. This matrix level is one of the worst & confusing levels I have ever played. Without any explanation about what you are supposed to do, you're dropped into the matrix. You control a sort of projectile firing VR-glove that floats through some early nineties visualization of a cyber-net. Lots of odd textures, red & yellow lights and weird silver enemies that should probably represent viruses or a firewall or something but no, I repeat NO, clue or info whatsoever. I tried to complete it but after two hours of wandering around aimlessly I gave up. Dear developers, if you're gonna be this vague, please write something about it in the damn manual!

**The Bottom Line**
Rubbish, just like almost every other game by Capstone. It has some features that could have set it apart from all the Doom clones that appeared in the early nineties, but it turned out to be a very poor game.

DOS · by Roedie (5239) · 2001

One of the WORST licensed games I've ever seen in my entire life (and I thought there was worse...)

The Good
Well, where to begin? Ok, not everything about the game is totally terrible. The music, for instance, doesn't totally suck (the CD Audio music, anyway), and there were a couple of interesting weapons and some nice looking environments, but I'll have to end it there.

The Bad
Ohhhh boy...here's where I'm about to blow out all the pent-up hatred I have for this waste of programming. Get ready kiddies, it's going to be a bumpy ride...

First off, the FMV intro sucks. It's supposed to be a snippet of the intro for the TV series, but it's in such a horribly low resolution that I can't make out crap. Second, all Shatner does is just sit there and tell you (in an FMV clip, of course) what your mission is, and yells at you if you even DARE shoot one civilian (which is pretty easy to do, let me tell ya). As for the game itself...the AI is probably the stupidest I've ever seen in any 3D shooter yet. One example: there's supposed to be these jibaku (suicidal or self-destructing in Japanese) androids in some stages that rush at you and explode if they see you, but they don't even do ANYTHING! They just look like normal people, and when they see you, all they do is beep loudly and run around in circles. Also, enemies don't even fire half the time, instead just running around and allowing themselves to be killed by the environmental hazards (of which there are hardly any). The animation is appalling; everything and everyone moves like they have chronic arthritis or something. Which reminds me: your character in this game (who of course has no name and is just some dude you play as) has NO ANIMATION!! That's right! Don't believe me? Just find a mirror somewhere and move around. He doesn't walk, he SLIDES! For this, from now on, I'll call him "Eerie Sliding Guy".

Bosses are a joke, and can be defeated even if you just tickle them with a stunner shot. Enemy strength seems extremely unbalanced, as some enemies just fall when you blow on them, or take dozens of shots and scream for more. And maybe it's just me, but whenever I pull out a weapon, no matter WHERE I am (even in a basement with no one around), people and cops start yelling. Oh, might I also add that the voices are just simply terrible. They sound like they were voiced by janitorial staff as opposed to at LEAST the office staff.

Gameplay is totally pants. You just run through the level, grab a key or two, find the boss, and tickle him a little to make him give up a Matrix symbol. When the level's over, you have to enter the Matrix and try to find the corrisponding symbol to find out part of a puzzle. However, the Matrix is far too big, and you can easily get lost in it. They should've just made the Matrix stages seperate areas that you play in, away from the rest of the area, right after the stage is over.

The gameplay is probably the worst part of it all. The weapons don't seem to be very much different from one another, and their affects aren't worth seeing (save for the weapon that turns enemies into big rib roasts...I swear that's what it looks like!). You have jumping and ducking abilities, but they seem to do no good. You can hardly jump, and ducking doesn't put you any lower to the ground. Also, it's very hard to keep track of three different health bars. You have one for health, one for consciousness, and some other one I forgot about. You lose health, you die. You lose consciousness, you die. WHAT GIVES?? And don't get me started on that AI again...

The Bottom Line
Quite simply, I tell them to avoid this game like the black plague. I bought it at a CompUSA some time ago for $1.88 (yes, one dollar and 88 cents), and I feel like I should've just saved it and gotten a pizza slice instead. This is one of the worst games of all time, and it's also a crying shame because the engine this game used (the Build engine from 3D Realms) deserves better treatment than this. Maybe a true hardcore gamer on hand telling William Shatner that his story was totally trashed in this game would've helped wonders...

DOS · by Satoshi Kunsai (2020) · 2001

Bill Shatner is a marketing machine, he'd sell his soul for a buck

The Good
William Shatner's dreamy visage on the box...

The Bad
...only problem is, Bill Shatner has nothing to do with the game.

I didn't like the concept, story, game play...to sum up: everything

The Bottom Line
I only played it because I thought I'd laugh at it like those crappy Priceline ads. It's not funny, not in any sense. Avoid this one like a disease.

DOS · by sultan12 (3) · 2001

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by jean-louis, Tim Janssen, Tomas Pettersson, Alaedrain, Scaryfun, Patrick Bregger, Wizo, Sun King, chirinea, Ryan DiGiorgi.