|Playstation > Whats New > PlayStation Reviews > Staff Review|
|A.P.I Review:||BROKEN HELIX|
No.1 No.2 No.3
|Game Type:||3rd Person Shooter||Memory Card (2 blocks)|
|Review Date:||May 1998||Standard Joypad|
Setting the Scene
You are Jake Burton, explosives expert, you chose your profession because you like to blow stuff up, and working for the military you've seen some pretty weird things in your career but nothing like you're about to see. You wake one morning to a call from your commanding officer, you've been ordered to the infamous Area 51 to disarm a bomb that has been set by the scientists working in the facility, you don't much care why, you just want to get in and do your job. In this game you take on the role of Jake, a wisecracking marine with an abrasive personality and a taste for C4. The plot begins with the basic:- go in, complete your mission and get out, but it soon becomes obvious that there is more to Area 51 than even the conspiracy theorists believe, and if the truth was revealed to the people of the world, who knows what could happen. The biggest feature of this game is probably the constant use of the voice talents of Bruce Campbell (of the Evil Dead movies, and more recently Pitfall 3D fame). Bruce lends Jake his unique voice and makes good use of the quotes he made famous in his movies. Even if you're not a fan of Campbell, the multiple plot lines and huge levels should still keep you occupied for many hours.
This game is best describe as Tomb Raider with personality, it's a 3rd person shooter but with the extremely interesting twist of having multiple story lines and the wisecracking Bruce Campbell providing the voice overs.
Here comes the inevitable comparison, the graphics in Broken Helix are not as good as Tomb Raider or Deathtrap Dungeon. With that out of the way I've got to say that there's nothing wrong with the graphics in this game, they are fast and smooth and while not as well done as others in this genre. There is some pretty nice light sourcing and texture mapping used in the game. There are no major glitches in the graphics, the occasion wall gets clipped if you stand too close and the floating camera tries to get too close, but nothing that will effect the playability of the game. The most outstanding aspect of the graphics in the game is the Full Motion Video, with over 56 minutes of excellently rendered FMV (most of which is used for death and mutilation scenes of the main character) this game should satisfy even the most demanding FMV junkie.
Sounds and Effects
With over 95 minutes worth of voice samples for Jake and other characters in the game the most outstanding element of the sound in the game is the range and variety of these clips. The sound effects, particularly Jakes' wisecracks, help to keep the serious premise of the game a little light hearted, it's probably a little sick to be laughing as you blow away a defenseless scientist, but I couldn't help it. The in-game music is mostly forgettable, you'll be too busy listening to Jakes dialog to take any notice anyway.
Take a bunch of angry scientists, some try-hard Arnie clones, big guns, killer robots, aliens and lots of powerups mix them all up and throw in Bruce Campbell and you've got Broken Helix. Broken Helix refers to the fragment that is created in human DNA when it is crossed with DNA of another species, particularly a hybrid of alien and humans. This basic idea serves as the foundation for most of the plot within the game, and as it unfolds, brings this game beyond the usual idea of running around killing things, picking up stuff and running around some more. Initially the game starts with you as Jake, having to venture into an underground bunker in Area 51. Your first task is to disarm the bombs that have been set by the scientist with the bunker before they blow up taking you with them. You have a squad of marines backing you up who will sweep through the bunker cleaning up any remaining scientist after you have completed your mission. It soon becomes very apparent that all things are not as they seem; you may get the bombs disarmed, but that is only the beginning of your journey. The majority of the game is spent running from the marines who were actually supposed to be helping you, which means that most levels within the game are time-limited. There really isn't much time to stop and smell the robots, this is my only major gripe with the gameplay. The gameplay is pretty standard fare, run around the levels jumping, crawling and shooting your way through obstacles as you go, collect powerups and keys to get through doors and activate elevators. You can also gain control of various maintenance and combat robots in order to get to normally inaccessible or dangerous areas. Some actions in the game take a combination of buttons to achieve, so control will take a little while to get used to, but the learning curve is no steeper than Tomb Raider of Deathtrap Dungeon. Overall it's the story that holds this game together, while the control could have been easier and the game itself a little easier, the depth of plot more than makes up for any frustration caused. If you are patient enough to play through the game to it's completion, or even to play it more than once to see the multiple story lines involved you will surely rank this game as one of the most interesting, if not graphically stunning, you have played in a long time.
Value for Money
With a reported 1,600,000 virtual square feet to traverse, an in-depth story line with multiple paths and multiple endings involving alien viruses, government conspiracies, alien-human hybrids and a whole lot more this game should keep anyone occupied for at least a few days. Graphics: Good Sound: Excellent Playability: Good Value: Good Overall: 83%
am a huge fan of Bruce Campbell, I personally can't get enough of his "Evil
Dead" character and it's good to see him getting plenty of voice
acting roles in games.
With that in mind I did enjoy playing Broken Helix for a fair amount of time, unfortunately it is easy to become discouraged in the early part of the game and my control pad ended up hitting the wall or floor at high velocity more than once.
Perseverance with minor annoying control and difficulty issues will mean that you will get to see a very involved and interesting plot unfold. If you've finished Tomb Raider 2 and can't wait for Tomb Raider 3, this may be the game that will temporarily fill the void, but I'd recommend you check out Deathtrap Dungeon first.