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Chase the Express
"The game's storyline played out rather well and contained some nice twists and turns. most of which you can see coming from a mile away."
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Developer  Sugar & Rockets Game Type  Strategy
Distributor  Sony Review Date  Sept 00
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Setting the Scene:
      A French ambassador-to-Russia and his family are en route from St. Petersburg, Russia to Paris. He is riding on the worlds most cutting edge high speed transport train known only as "Blue Harvest". The reasons for his trip are currently unknown. and why would he bring along his family??

The train he travels on is reportedly designed for the fast evacuation of refugees and the speedy transport (400+ MPH!!) of medical supports. What is strange though is that this train is also loaded to the hilt with enough firepower to level a 3rd world nation.

On board with the ambassador and his family are a few of his most trusted assistants/bodyguards and associates. Oh, there is also a full compliment of security personnel on board Looks like a smooth ride ahead.until.

Out of nowhere, a helicopter appears over the train and begins firing! Troops begin dropping from the copter, taking advantage of the confusion. The security personnel are completely overwhelmed, with every one of them being killed.except for you.

You manage to slip through the "nets" of invaders and start to make your way through the train. As you progress you pick up memos and other clues that have been left behind by the victims.

You also overhear that the team that has taken over the train calls themselves the "Knights of the Apocalypse" and they are holding the ambassador and his family for 20 billion dollars!!

You are now frantically going through the by car in an effort to locate the ambassador.all while trying to remain undetected. Luckily you are armed with a pistol and the invaders have carelessly dropped ammo throughout the train.

Of course it is impossible to evade everyone so you are forced to take some of the thugs out! You roll to the right in the confined area and drop to a crouch.and then carefully squeeze off a couple of carefully placed rounds into the attackers body.time to move on.nothing more to see here.hehehe.

Type of Game (Genre):
      Chase the Express is a 3rd person action/adventure title much in the same vein as Metal Gear Solid.

Sound and Vision:
      The sound effects and music contained in Chase the Express is certainly a good mix of both highs and lows. On the plus side the voice acting is quite good, sound effects for all of the important things going on around you are in there and the musical score ebbs in and out at almost all of the right times.

On the minus side, the soundtrack just isn't all that engaging or apparent during gameplay. Yeah, it's there but it does little to build up the suspense when it needs to. The game instead relies on its claustrophobic environment to generate tension. While the sound effects are liberally applied throughout the game, a lot of them are rather muffled and laid back. When I fire a machine gun I expect to be treated to a nice solid punching sound instead I got a rather wimpy "pop, pop, pop". The constant clicking of the train riding the rails began to grate on me as well.

The graphics in game are what I would call functional. Colors for the most part are rather drab in most places and there is very little creative lighting used to enhance the atmosphere of the gameplay.

I thought the character models were put together quite nicely and animated very well for the most part. While the textures were a bit on the rough side, the characters are pretty large and easily distinguishable from one another.

The backgrounds ranged from very nice to messy. Since most of the game takes place inside of a train, 95% of the backgrounds consist of the inside of railcars. The lower level rooms were mostly uninteresting in appearance and consisted of passenger seats, sleeping rooms, a kitchen and cargo cars. The upper cars on the other hand were generally much more interesting and alive with color. These rooms consisted of suites, medical provisioning, radio room and control rooms. For the most part the upper locations had a good deal more intricacies and details.

Overall though I felt the graphics had a rather grainy look to them and I was surprised that the quality couldn't be a little better considering the fact that such small, controlled environments were being displayed. Because of the confined environments of the railroad cars, you never have to worry about pop up to be sure.

On a final note, I must mention the camera angles and control of such.they are not too good. For the most part the camera follows out hero from behind and provides a decent view of what is coming up. Unfortunately there are times when your point of view is much less than optimal. For instance, when you are turning into a room, the camera has a tendency to stick where it is and you are treated to a side view of your character instead of it swinging around to your back. The result is that I was often taken by surprise and shot several times by someone lurking in the room because I couldn't see them! This proved to be annoying.
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