|Playstation > Whats New > PlayStation Reviews > Staff Review|
|A.P.I Review:||V 2000|
No.1 No.2 No.3
|Distributor:||Grolier Interactive||1 Player|
|Game Type:||Strategy||Memory Card|
|Review Date:||October 1998||Analog Compatible|
Setting the Scene
Back in the days when sprites were simply young children, a
clipping was what they received for back chatting an adult (twins
would receive a dual shock) and chipping units involved
damaging the kitchen cupboard, a certain game called Elite appeared on
almost every available system.
A few years later the games creator, David Braben, updated this title onto the Commodore Amiga. Suddenly a polygon was no longer thought to be a missing parrot as Virus succeeded in moving several of them around on a 16-bit system for the first time.
Over a decade later, as we rapidly move towards the millennium, what better time to reignite the flames of fear that a deadly virus could sweep across the earth and totally wipe out mankind. Possibly even quicker than it would have taken womankind.
Alien Creatures are invading the world. Hell bent on spreading a deadly virus wherever they go, these creatures are determined to find themselves a new friendly habitat venturing from world to world via their hives. The player has the task of saving the remaining 30 worlds and their people from these deadly creatures putting to use everything each world can offer. Natives need to be rescued and used for your own gain, villages saved and weapons made while strategic puzzle solving is essential to the job in hand - rescuing the world in time.
V2000 boasts a unique blend of strategy and action. Demanding skill
from the player to fly their craft while solving thought provoking
V2000 is the follow up to the classic 80's hit 'VIRUS'. Developed by the legendary David Braben and his team at Frontier Developments. V2000 incorporates state of the art technology while trying to capture those addictive elements of the original Virus.
While the eighties version of Virus was constructed from a small
number of polygons, V2000 is jam packed with the triangular bodies... and
mighty impressive it all looks. There's no intro to set the scene
therefore you must wait until you are thrust into the actual game before
witnessing the stunning world that is about to be invaded. A small
deserted island is where the action begins. It may be deserted of
humanoids but this is where your factory is situated and your first task
is to transport workers there from the mainland.
The surrounding seas look very realistic with waves ebbing and flowing. When your craft's in hover mode the surface of the water is slightly disturbed as a white foam is created directly below. You can actually crash dive into the ocean creating a huge splash upon entry. Should you take the craft below the waves you are treated to many splendid underwater scenes as shoals of various types of fish move around their habitat. On the sea bed you can actually make out lobsters and crabs as they move from rock to rock disturbing the sand on their travels.
Back on dry land your craft is provided with a helpful shadow which allows you to judge the precise height that you are flying at. The black craft is fairly basic in design with the only sign of movement coming from the rear propeller which constantly turns. Put it this way... it definitely won't have you rushing out to buy a replica model.
The terrain constantly changes dependant on the section of world that is presently being saved. From lush green fields where small workers tend their crops to lily white Antarctic regions where heavily dressed Eskimos ply their trade. Whatever the make-up of the region the earth is gradually being stained blood red as the alien insects move across the land. Should you fail to complete the mission in the allowed time then the world falls into darkness and all becomes bleak and gloomy as you fight to regain control.
The alien creatures are basically bugs. That's correct, those harmless little insects that scurry around our gardens are the enemy of the future. I say little bugs... in fact they are about the size of the average tank! Spiders, cockroaches, ants... there's even a few wasps thrown in for the average gamer who is not already an arachnophobic.
Overall the visuals are excellent... except from a few blocky explosions, some awful re-draw, a little slow down and the horrendous viewing angles. I'll explain. Because there is so much going on at one time you are treated to a background of mist from which enemy creatures pop in and out of, seemingly at will. This can be so confusing when attempting to clear the area of enemies both in the sky and on the ground. When you finally get several enemies grouped together for the probable turkey shoot the game slows right down and flickers making targeting almost impossible.
Finally the viewing angles are not impossible to work with... but they do make life very difficult indeed. Considering you pilot a craft that sets out to capture humanoid workers, destroy masses of creepy crawlies and gather the power up that will upgrade your weapons you would have thought that a first person perspective (Doom style) or a third person perspective (Lara style) would have fitted the bill perfectly. Unfortunately what you get is a side on view and in my opinion this angle may be okay in a platform game or a side scrolling shooter, but it simply does not work in a 3D world.
Sounds and Effects
I believe that the music was performed by Sentience and goes a long
way towards creating the creepy atmosphere in V2000. They have used the
mixture of styles to great effect.
The sound effects are equally as good providing a perfect balance between action involved and tension created. They actually become part of the gameplay, especially when the humans call out for help as you pass over above. Explosions are fairly accurate while the screams of a dying alien insect make the whole job worthwhile. Even when all is quiet you can hear a selection of background noises that give a little ambience to the occasion such as birds innocently chirping oblivious of the spreading disease.
If you have ever played Bullfrog's Magic Carpet then the gameplay is
very similar. You must traverse through 30 levels over six different world
types - Green Worlds, Underwater Worlds, Rock Worlds, Swamp Worlds,
Mediaeval Worlds and Alien Worlds. Apparently 16 levels are needed to
complete the game at the absolute minimum and there are over 50 secret
exits. Obviously I didn't make it that far.
The player is awarded trophies that build up as a ranking system with each trophy giving the player 20% of a new ship. Trophies are awarded for beating the clock to save the world and may also be discovered or awarded for finding secret exits.
Diving straight into the options there are a number of adjustments that may be made to personalize the game such as control and vibration sensitivity. The controls are analog compatible with the right stick used to move the camera around while the left directs the craft. Face buttons are used to fire weapon, accelerate, reverse and switch between hover and fly. Shoulder buttons toggle weapons and rotate cargo.
You begin the game floating over the ocean within the Peasant World. There's plenty of time in hand therefore this may be used as a training mission. As soon as a level begins the alien creatures will start spreading their evil virus across the land. Directly in front of your craft is a small island where your factory is based. To operate the factory humans must be collected from the mainland and brought back to the island. Once the humans are set to work they will produce weapon upgrades that will help you to destroy the growing virus.
There are three ways in which to travel. Your craft may hover within a few feet of the planets surface which is ideal for flat terrain or crossing the ocean. By collecting fuel loads your craft may switch to fly mode which is essential for passing over the undulating landscape. There is also the option to add a heavy weight to your craft and submerge below the water where you will experience a whole new world.
In summary; collect humans and set them to work, collect weapon and health power ups, destroy all moving alien creatures before finally exterminating the nest. Once the nest has been pulverized a time warp appears that will teleport you to the next world.
Should you fail a mission then each of the 30 levels has its unique Dark World. A dark and barren land, in which all the landscape and its population have been annihilated. If the player is successful in defeating all aliens in the Dark World, he gets another chance. Don't bank on it though.
Now this all sounds very cozy until you set your craft in motion. It may not have a life of it's own but due to the awkward camera angles is certainly seems to. Hover mode is not too bad after you play around with it for a while but I found flying the craft with any sort of control was nigh on impossible. In the past I have always eventually mastered the controls in flying games such as Descent, G-Police, Agile Warrior... even that damn Magic Carpet! V2000..? No chance. When you wish to go forward it virtually disappears in the misty skies... hit the reverse and it nose dives into the water. It's such a shame because there is so much about the game that has been developed right.
Value for Money
I very much wanted to get to grips with V2000 but alas, the craft
defeated me. It's very nice to look at and those who eventually mastered
the controls of Magic Carpet (and I know there are many) may just have the
kind of temperament suited towards this title.
As far as replay value goes the game will be completed differently every time it is played depending on trophies, secret exits and puzzle solving on each level.
hope that the developers take note of my comments concerning the
visuals. I feel that they may have taken a good hard look at Bullfrog's
Magic Carpet before working on this title, but everything that was wrong
with that game has been included in V2000. There's the annoying cloud
effect which enemies use to completely frustrate the player. There's
also the inevitable slowdown when too many creatures are on screen at
the same time.
Had the viewing angle been first person and perhaps a little more tightening up on the control of the craft then this could have been a winner. It's such a shame because there is so much that's right about V2000.
As it stands, only the strong will survive. Maybe next time.