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1 Player

Game Type


Mem. Card

Review Date

Sept 1996

Setting the Scene

Opting for the conventional video game story line, about a mentally deranged man who creates an Armageddon device, and threatens to use this weapon to destroy mankind. You must climb aboard your B1 hover-craft and single handed partake in a number of missions, which will thread you through the vast underground tunnels, leading to a final battle with this mad-man.

The short introductory FMV, shows your ship being launched from the mother-ship, then looking back to see it being destroyed. The most noticeable thing about the intro is the cloud formation in space, strange. The graphics are not very clear and look quite grainy, but take no notice of the FMV quality, as Ocean have obviously saved the main budget for the in-game graphics, which makes a pleasant change.


Finalist is the first project from Oceans recently formed partnership with German developer Neon. If you are a fan of Doom type shoot-em-ups, Wipeout racing games, or Descent style flight missions, then read on. Finalist includes all these qualities, skillfully blended together to produce a first class game.


The graphical effects used in Finalist work superbly to create an immensely realistic in-game atmosphere. The craft moves incredibly smooth at high speeds and the visuals look as sharp as Wipeout, this creates a perfect balance between graphics, special effects and speed, which does not sacrifice the flow of the game.

Game developers , Neon, have used the most advanced 3D engine yet seen on the Playstation, and it certainly shows. The tunnel walls are highly detailed (unlike Descent), and don't suffer from the 'see through walls' and other graphical glitches that spoil so many other games.

One of the most impressive features of Finalist are the incredible lighting effects. Whether your craft is attacked by a laser gun, where the piercing green beam may cut your health in half, or the tripod rocket launchers that lob their missiles haphazardly in your direction, the resulting explosions will light up the dark recesses with superb light sourcing. One outstanding lighting effect in the game is shown when an enemy craft appears on the horizon and blocks your path by spewing missiles across the road ahead. As the fully lit craft swoops back and forth, you are stunned by the visual splendor that would look fitting in a blockbuster movie such as I.D. or Close Encounters.

Sounds and Effects

The music is a first class mission score, complementing the action perfectly. It plays quietly in the background during the early parts of the game, and changes to an adrenaline pumping orchestration as you frantically battle through the tunnel in a race against the clock, sounding like a cross between the soundtracks of The Dirty Dozen and Thunderbirds.

The noises of explosions are accurately portrayed, having a slight echoed sound which would be expected in a closed tunnel surrounding.


The options offer a difficulty choice in the form of starting the game with 1 - 6 lives and 2 continues. You may also record your highest scores, load or save a game and make use of the facility to configure your controller. Now this is important, as I must admit that I almost gave up with Finalist through frustration at controlling the craft. I would recommend that you play around with the first level over and over again until you feel comfortable handling your craft. The strafe button was the most difficult to get used to, as instead of using the usual shoulder buttons, you only have one button, which when pressed, changes the D pad to strafe left and right. Without the ability to strafe, this game can become very difficult, but persevere and you shall be rewarded.

OK, lets get into the game. You begin level 1 armed with a puny pea-shooter of a gun, and your first mission is to upgrade your weapons by blasting every container in sight, collecting all the contents of which some are power-ups and others are score points. As your craft smoothly hovers above the surface, you will immediately notice that you are not subjected to the sickly 360 degree acrobatics that are usually associated with flying games and the feel is similar to flying a Wipeout craft. Doors are opened by crossing a pressure pad to allow you to advance through the tunnel. When facing oncoming fire, the best tactic is to take refuge behind a crate, then peek and shoot. If your health drops to a danger point, a warning is given, upon this you must seek out a radioactive container and re-charge. This requires swift movement, as the container must be blown up and the power-up collected in a matter of seconds. Too late and the health bonus becomes reactive and will be rendered useless.

The next two levels are played in much the same mould, and allow you to arm yourself with a triple barrel machine gun, rockets and missiles as primary weapons, with a flare that attracts incoming homing missiles and mines which are used to blow open doors, as your secondary weapons.

Halfway through the third level you are probably wondering why the screen displays a countdown timer and 3 speed ups, when all of a sudden a warning flashes up on your screen to exit the tunnel immediately. Using the map screen for direction, you must race against the clock to complete the level before this section of the tunnel self destructs, so make sure your health is well topped up, as you will not have time to stop. This is just a warm up for the following levels, which are all against the clock.

The game now changes to a straightforward Wipeout type race, as you must manoeuvre around a long winding track, avoiding crates and a couple of annoying drones, to reach a checkpoint in an allowed time. Complete this tricky level and you are faced with further racing levels against the clock , but including a number of missions to complete on your travels. You will find that huge sections of each level are cordoned off, and can only be accessed by opening the colored blast doors that block your way. If you find you face a blue door, you must seek out the blue reactor and destroy it, then race back through all the blue doors before they close and lock you in. Failure to escape has fatal results as radiation sweeps through your ship.

Finalist is one of the most attractive and appealing games I have seen this year and is a credit to both Ocean and Neon.

Value for Money

Fast, Frantic and gorgeous to look at. Doom, Descent and Wipeout all wrapped up together. All the levels look similar but the action changes dramatically. Includes some of the best lighting special effects seen on the Playstation





After a frustrating learning curve, I have now got to grips with the control of the craft and am thoroughly enjoying the varying gameplay. This is turning out to be one of thebest games of the year, and once the game is completed, you can restart and play again for the highest score.








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