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Pick up your axe and save the world.

By Troy Roberts     August 17, 2001

Owners of the Playstation 2 have seen three different types of games since the system's launch. They've seen the good games, which have been few and far between. They've seen the mediocre games, which have been the most abundant type of video game on the Playstation 2. And then they've seen the bad games. While there haven't been a ton of bad games on the system, there have been more than gamers want to see. Well, chalk up another one for the 'bad games' genre, because we have another one here in RUNE: VIKING WARLORD.

The concept of RUNE: VIKING WALORD starts off pretty nicely. You are the Viking warrior Ragnar, handpicked by the gods to defend humanity and charged with the task of dealing out justice on the bloodstained edge of your battle-axe. Your goal is to stop the coming of the day known as Ragnarok, the day legends say man, gods, and giants will wage a war and destroy the world. Nice.

This being for the Playstation 2, I was expecting some pretty decent graphics. Unfortunately, these visuals would have been considered decent during the days of the original Playstation, but not in this generation of system wars. I really cannot recall anything using the UNREAL engine looking this bad. Even at certain times, when the game does actually try and deliver some decent looking scenes, there's a problem called clipping. This is one problem I cannot deal with in a game. And the camera angles, at times, can be atrocious. When the camera shifts right in behind Ragnar, most of the time you can't even see what's going on!

But graphics don't make a game, correct? It's the gameplay. Well, the gameplay isn't any better here. Take 2 Interactive boasts "unparalleled control over movement and combat," but I just can't find it in this game. The controls seem a lot like TOMB RAIDER at first, until you try to spin and䜀 you just run from side to side. Apparently, you have to use one of the analog pads to turn, which is more than just a little annoying. The side-to-side/spinning problem will plague you throughout the rest of the game, if you attempt to make it that far. Even if you manage to master the controls, I cannot see you having that much fun with this game.

Now, while I can't recommend it, there are a couple of cool features that you will find in RUNE: VIKING WARLORD. Using torches to light up the walls is pretty cool, and the ability to beat your enemy with his own severed limbs is classic. And the multiplayer mode adds a little bit to this game, allowing players to go head to head in a death-match style mode where you just literally beat your opponent to death to win the match. But, ultimately, even a decent multiplayer mode cannot save this game.

I have to say this hasn't been my best gaming experience. I'm not sure what Take 2 Interactive had in mind when they began development on RUNE: VIKING WARLORD, but I'm positive it couldn't have been this.

Rune: Viking Warlord

Grade: D-

Platform: Playstation 2

ESBR Rating: M

Genre: Action

Players: 1-2

Save: Yes

Developer: HumanHead Studios

Publisher: Take 2 Interactive

Suggested Retail Price: $49.99




Graphics: D-

Sound: C+

Gameplay: D-

Replay: A

Fun Factor: D-

Reviewer's Wild Card: D

Overall Grade: D-


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