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THQ's PC shooter destroys all (literally)

By Dan Weiland     October 17, 2001

Think of first person shooters. WOLFENSTEIN 3D was the first step. Then DOOM. QUAKE busted open the realm of network gaming. Then UNREAL, HALF-LIFE... between all the copies and rip offs, an occasional groundbreaking step is made. Volition, Inc. has managed to do just this with the PC release of RED FACTION.

You are an ordinary man put into extraordinary circumstances. The revolution has begun. The Ultor Company has oppressed the miners of Mars for too long, and now it is time to strike back.

Now that the plot's out of the way, let's get to the good part. Volition likes to call it Geo-Mod technology, but basically that's a nice way of saying you can blow the crap out of anything you want. Go through walls, around doors, basically anything that isn't air can be destroyed. Drop on top of enemies from above, or maybe shoot the ceiling out and just bury them in rubble. The designers even included a bonus level called Glass House. Do I really need to explain that?

"How am I going to cause all this mayhem and destruction?" some readers might be asking. With a wide range of weapons, including grenades, plastic explosives, rocket launchers, as well as non-explosive items such as sniper rifles and rail guns. You have a whole world of death at your fingertips, not to mention the ability to dispense the baddies while piloting five different vehicles, all loaded up with more ammo than you could possibly use (although I encourage you to try).

In graphics, the realm of first person shooters is always improving, and this is no exception. The lighting effects are superb, especially when some of the more, well, explosive guns are fired. The character models are nothing to get real excited about, but the textures are great, and on the whole, everything looks stupendous.

The sound is pretty decent, although the terrified shrieks from the innocent bystanders get rather annoying at times. Standard explosions, gunshots and death screams are all here, plus good voices that help guide you in the game.

Right about now you might be asking yourself, "Well this is good and all, but why not just go and buy this for the PS2?" Good question my friend. First of all, the control is far better on the PC, using the mouse and keyboard that we have all come to know and love as the preferred way to play FPSs. In the PS2 version things get a little hairy with the game controller. But the real improvement from the PS2 version is the multiplayer mode, simply because you go from the option of up to four people playing on a single TV screen to 32 people in some serious network mayhem.

Now don't get me wrong, the PS2 multiplayer action is good and all, but the more the merrier right? Plus, with the Geo-Mod technology there are brand new ways to decimate your friends. Make a sniper nest in the ceiling and rain down death from above. If you don't want to deal with your enemies in the tower, blow out the supports. The possibilities are endless. Basically, blow stuff up. Go ahead, it's fun.

RED FACTION is another great advancement in first person shooters. With a good plot to keep you involved in the one player action and huge networking capabilities, this is one that will keep you entertained for quite some time. Just blow stuff up. Oh, and blow stuff up. And don't forget to blow stuff up.


Grade: A-

Platform: PC

ESBR Rating: Teen

Genre: First-Person Shooter

Players: 1-32

Save: Yes

Developer: Volition

Publisher: THQ

Suggested Retail Price: $49.99




Graphics: A-

Sound: B

Gameplay: A-

Replay: B+

Fun Factor: A-

Reviewer's Wild Card: A

Overall Grade: A-


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