oh weary game players to the dawn of man. Tail of the Sun places you in a post
Jurassic setting some several hundred thousands of years ago. Your mission as
tribal leader is to explore this wild Earth, hunting for food, collecting
Mammoth tusks, feeding your village, discovering all types of mysterious
artifacts and just plain surviving.
Your goal is to ultimately construct a "Tower of Babel" with
the Mammoth tusks in an effort to catch the Tail of the Sun. Of course life
back then can be considered rather primitive and often brutal. On your journey
you will face all kinds of challenges and hardships. Oh, one final note, the
Mammoth tusks you need are usually attached to a living, breathing Mammoth that
has grown quite accustomed to them...Gee, isn't caveman life a bitch?...
question. I will not even attempt to pigeon-hole Tail of the Sun into a
particular category. Let's just say that it is primarily a game of exploration
and discovery and leave it at that.
about prehistoric! Besides the use of polygons for character and object
rendering, the graphics are a throw-back to the pre-dawn 16-bit console
era...Seriously, the graphics are nothing to write home about but they are
definitely functional and are used to the best advantage for this game.
As I mentioned, all of the cave-people are polygons and are basically
the same size and shape. They are all dressed in a typical Fred Flintstone
style garb and share identical attributes with all of the other tribal members.
The only way to tell one caveperson from another is the face paint they use.
These designs are very creative to say the least and some are downright spooky.
In total, I would guess there are around 30 different faces to ultimately choose
from. There are also all sorts of other creatures that you will come across
during your many journeys; all are rather crudely depicted, but totally
The animation is also very simplistic for a 3-D system like the
PlayStation. Yes, the landscape scrolls along very nicely and your environment
is totally unrestricted, but the primitive (no pun intended) graphics used for
the game should in no way tax the PSX. That being said, you are often treated
to polygon breakup, dropout, pop-up and razzing. A little more attention could
certainly have been given to the graphics and animation of this game. If it's
the prehistoric feel the game designers were after, graphically they have
succeeded big time!
the first thing I can say is, don't expect any long winded or intelligent
conversations in this game, you are after all a caveperson. Your vocabulary
consists of a few grunts when you slam into trees or attack other characters and
assorted snoring sounds when you crash for the evening. Other note-worthy sounds
include the whistle and crunch of objects as you hurl them at the enemy, a
shuffling sound when you run, the splashing of water when you swim and ummm,
well that's about it. Oh, there are also the sounds to match the wildlife
creatures that you come across (and get to kill). Yep, seems like that
wonderful Sony sound chip isn't getting a proper workout either.
The "tribal music" as the game trailer describes it, ranges
from creative and innovative to downright obnoxious and grating. The music
seems to play totally at random and starts and stops for no apparent
reason...except of course for the tune that plays each time you leave from your
village. At first this tune was rather catchy with it's deep bottom end and
scratchy sounding interludes, but after listening to it 4 or 5 hundred times I
almost feel like going postal!!
I sort of trashed the graphics, sound and music for Tail of the Sun, so do I
keep the streak alive and trash the whole game??....In two words..."no way".
Taken individually, the graphics and sounds effects might make any avid 32-bit
gamer gag, but when put together with the actual gameplay everything just seems
to fall into place nicely. The game after all really isn't about flashy
graphics or cutting edge sound effects, it's about exploration and using your
imagination. That being said, I will attempt to describe the game for you.
Tail of the Sun starts you off with three characters to choose from.
In my game it was one man and two women. You begin the game at your village and
can travel in any direction that pleases you. Your immediate vicinity is
located in the prairies. Ample food and wildlife can be found here. This is
the place to master your tracking skills and find out what each food item is
good for. To the north is the frozen tundra of the Arctic, far south and a bit
to the west is the barren dessert. To your east and west there are mountainous
regions, and all around this there are rivers and oceans. Okay, let's start a
sample journey traveling northeast...
The first thing you will notice is that the character is somewhat
difficult to control and get used to at first, but after a few moments you iron
out the quirks and it's off to work you go. Pressing the select button will
bring up an options menu. From here you can look at a crudely drawn depiction
of your body broken down into six key categories: Brain-to track your
intelligence level, Swim-indicates lung capacity for swimming, Hands-arm
strength for hunting, Propagate-your reproductive capability, Jump-leaping
ability and finally Run-your ability to run down prey. There are six different
colors that each body part can be; from a chalky blue, meaning this part needs
some major help on up to a fully developed body part depicted by the color red.
Strewn all around you are food items that look like they spilled out of a box of
"Lucky Charms" cereal. Each item you eat will have a positive effect
on one of the six body parts. Some items will give you a major boost or just
slightly increase your capabilities. Learning which is which is up to you to
discover, but just to be on the safe side eat everything in site! It now begins
to rain, complete with thunderclaps (ohh, another sound effect!). You decide to
run a bit and seek some shelter. While running you notice the terrain is
beginning to get a bit "hilly" and you hear the sound of the ocean off
in the distance. After several minutes you notice that it is beginning to get
dark. Evening is setting in complete with visions of sugar plums, bananas and
other assorted fruits dancing about in the sky. Things are also getting a bit
tough to see, but you detect a bit of movement in front of you and decide to
give chase. It's a monkey...yes! Fresh monkey meat for the tribe!! Off you go
punching and swinging at the poor little monkey. You manage to connect a few
shots when all of a sudden you fall asleep! The monkey mauls you and the game
starts you back at the village with a new tribe leader to select...
Trust me, this is a very, very brief glimpse into this game. There
are all kinds of things to do. Climb mountains, discover caves, swim the ocean,
discover lost civilizations, cross the desert, discover alien bones...the list
just goes on and on. The real premise to the game is to build a tower into the
sky made of Mammoth tusks in an effort to touch the Tail of the Sun. To get to
this point though, you must develop you tribe. You do this by bringing back
food and nurturing you own body which is just an extension to your people. As
you get smarter, so does your village and with intelligence comes the creation
of new and more powerful weapons. A powerful weapon is needed to defeat the
giant Mammoth and obtain his food and tusks. As you play the game your
character is either killed or becomes old and dies. The next tribe member you
select retains all of the previous characters attributes, and so the journey
continues... As you can see, caring for the tribe is important...it provides
you with fresh stock!
Well, to wrap things up, this game will most definitely NOT appeal to
everyone. Fast reflexes or split second decision making is really not called
for here. Instead, you are presented with a rather time-consuming, relaxing,
ethereal journey through a prehistoric world and a life that continues to unfold
and develop in front of your eyes the further you get into the game.
the game is literally generations long! There are lot's of things to see and do
and mutliple ending depending on which body part is the most developed by games
end...you could easily waste away your weekend playing this game without
realizing it. If you like different, you got it right here. If however you like
fast placed, in your face action though I would caution you to rent first...you
might not see the appeal here.
should be applauded for creating a game as fresh and original as this and Sony
should be commended for releasing the game in the states. It's cute, amusing,
funny, addictive and just plain different from anything else on the market
today. In the end, this game could best be described as the ultimate Seinfeld
episode...It's a funny little story about nothing!