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Gunman [old review found]

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Joined: 15 Mar 2005
Posts: 9245
Location: ROTFLMAO in Belgium.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 5:33 pm     Post subject: Gunman [old review found] Reply with quote

Found another one I wrote ......

Gunman Chronicles

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Publisher: Sierra Online Inc.
Developer: Rewolf Entertainment.
Platform: Windows.
1st person view.
Genre: Adventure,Action,Shooter,futuristic,SciFi.
Released: 2000.
Multiplayer: 8,Internet,LAN.
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System Requirements:
Windows W-95 or better.
Pentium 233
SVGA, D3D Card, 16 MB RAM
2x CD-ROM drive
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ESRB: Mature, 17+, Blood, Violence.
PEGI: Not Rated.
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Game modifications enough on Internet, add-ons, levels and whatnots, certainly for popular games. Plenty, plenty, plenty stuff, all you can imagine and even things you can't imagine, all freeware. So when deciding to release a game in retail version that first was meant as a game mod it should better be outstanding and mind screwing. In all honesty said, Gunman does not fulfill the necessary requirements to be released as retail game. We are talking A.D. 2000 here, was the HL engine a good one in 1998, it doesn't compete with year 2000 releases. A dated engine used for a new release that sucks. Even if the graphics, artworks and weaponry are updated, no, no can do. This game should have been released or as freeware or as addon and for cheap.

Rewolf Entertainment has fished up the HL engine and made a HL modification, their creativity also brought a new element in the game: humor. You aren't the standard space marine but look as a southern soldier from the US civil war, in fact I had the impression that it was something as a mixture between southern soldiers and the French foreign legion, March or Die. Now that I have mentioned the space marines, you will not fight your battles on Earth but on several planets, human colonies, you know, space the spinal, whoops, the final frontier.

The story is about human colonies that become infested with alien life forms, brought there by a hostile entity. Your job is to clean those up and whilst you are on it investigate the origins of this xeno-biotic invasion. Dinosaurs, scorpions, arachnid creatures, cowboys, some strange rudimentary looking helicopters, xenophobes, high tech drones, one female mainframe AI, a malicious renegade general, battle mechbots, whatevers and whatnots will get in your way. The game brings you on four planets, you get there or as a regular dropped gunman or by abduction, or hitchhiking a spatial ride with a female mainframe NPC.
That's the story in a nutshell.

The graphics can be cranked up to a 1280x960, software mode, OpenGL or D3D. Software mode is as usual the lesser, but if you have a D3D video card you can avoid this mode. New intro movies and cut scene's, a shame that the flat not so good-looking NPC are also present. Artworks are completely renewed, nothing is taken from half-life except the dated engine.
Nothing from half-life but they have greedily grabbed in many other games to create their game. The Mayan world could be a Tombraider episode, at a certain point the game becomes a System Shock 2 look-a-like included the hostile mainframe AI, complete with a soft-sweet-lovely-sexy-deathly female voice, which further on turns around and becomes your ally. Aaaaaaaaaargh, woman, forget the tediousness when they enters the picture.

The weaponry deserves a special mention, most weapons can change their fire modus. Even the lousy handgun can become a sniper rifle or a rapid firing handgun. The shotgun is able to fire 4 shells at once, devastating, and giving you impressive recoil, oh yes baby. The grain spread can be regulated, narrow rifle like spread or riotgun spread. The narrow spread combined with the 4 shell shot is extremely damaging whilst the riotgun spread is perfect when you are attacked by the fast moving small scorpions or barracuda fishes. Other weapons have the overcharge or defectuous mode, you can reach that mode by overheating the weapon, bringing it into extreme rapid fire, beware: those tactics are risky business for your own safety and gnawing your ammo reserves.
Another innovation is the use of a tank in this hl mod, you will get the opportunity to joy ride and use the full armament of this vehicle in Gunman, cannon and heavy machineguns if you find enough gas to fill it up. And of course if you get the hang of it, steering with keyboard cursor keys whilst using the mouse for aiming purpose using the turret cannon is kind of schizophrenic. Certainly when riding this vehicle in forward direction and being attacked from behind by rapid-fire gun turrets. Those gun turrets oblige you to keep on the move, left right maneuvers whilst keeping your cannon aim at them, crazy stuff there, believe me. Again: IF you find enough gas to keep your tank engine running.
Seems a bit difficult all those weaponry possibilities? Don't worry, the game begins, in fact after some first action, with a compact weapons training, you will easily learn this weapon settings on the fly.

Even if those at Rewolf have shameless taken several other games as base, this isn't a blatant copycat; they have used enough new ideas to keep this game interesting.
Mayan: a tombraider look-alike episode, yes but not fully the same, the level design is in fact better than in tombraider. The puzzles have a logic structure, no running around for nothing switching 20 levers here. Death traps are real death traps, the enemy creatures aren't slow but fast moving creatures whom attacks you on first sight.
The system shock 2 based levels with the nagging female mainframe AI [** no, no Xerxes, quiet please! **] are only slightly SS2 based, after a while you will even join up with the AI and fight your way through the levels with her aid.
The rust episode with the tank ride is a sort of arcade level, but again not fully an arcade, you will have to search for gas to keep the vehicle running, solve some logical puzzles to clear the passage, it isn't a full arcade.
At some moment I even had the idea that they had put a miniature Doom Cyberdemon in, a walking cyborg like sort of creature giving you with intervals a RPG shower, but that will probably be my imagination. Silly me, or would they really ?

This game in multiplayer over Internet is a dead bird. If you want the multiplayer game set up a LAN party.

One last point: ESRB rating 17+, are they feeling well up there in the ESRB tower? Djees man, this is a funny game, neither extravagant violence nor bloodshed, just an everyday arcade shoot-em-up. I have raised three kids, I honestly see no reason whatsoever to rate this game as 17+. Give this game in the hands of 10 or 13 year olds and they gonna have lot's of fun, and daddy and mammy some peace and rest to do some other very funny things.

The good:
Take different games and games styles, stuff it in a blender along with some humor, here is Gunman Chronicles. An enjoyable game. Take a look in the bargain bin, see it? Grab it.

The bad:
An aged HL engine, not up to date in the year 2000 when sold as a full retail game, if you have bought this game full price, you were ripped.

A good funny half-life mod, but not a worthily retail game.

Gameplay: B+
Story: B
Tech details: B
All round: B

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