BugRiders: The Race of Kings
For a thousand years, the Entymion Castle has stood, and within it 33 rulers have passed. It is now the passing time for Leptus the 1st, and so begins the Summoning. "Just what is this Summoning you speak of?" one may ask. Basically, that is the whole premise and basic objective of this game. The Summoning is a race between kings to decide who will be the next ruler of Entymion. You must choose from one of eight contenders, each with their own varying stats such as speed, agility, training and power. Then you must hop on some sort of mutant-bug and fly that around through a series of events in each of the five host regions. I would go on, but the 6-line story included with this game leaves a lot to the imagination, so on with the review!
It's two o’clock in the morning, and I’m huddled beside the computer screen playing this game. Not because of some new breakthrough engine. Not because the half-page story is utterly engrossing. But because from the first time I played this game, I didn't like it, and I held it off until the last minute to play this monstrosity all the way through. With that said and done, let me tell you how bad the game really is.
Upon first entering the game, you have three options: you can load a game, start a new one, or quit. After choosing to start a new game, I was allowed to play in three ways -- Campaign, Battle, or Time Trials. After choosing campaign, I was greeted with the hero selection screen. You have eight heroes to choose from, each varying in power, speed, agility and training.
The basic premise of controls is a fairly simple one. The arrow keys turn you left and right, while also pitching you up and down. CTRL fires your primary weapon, and ALT fires your special weapons (if you have any). However, there is one major flaw in the controls. In order to go faster, you must ‘whip’ your bug to make it accelerate. However, to ‘whip’ your bug you have to repeatedly hit the space bar, which is very tedious -- especially when you’re trying to fire at the same time. And while the controls are completely customizable, I was unable to find any configuration with the keyboard that was efficient.
Coupled with terrible controls comes equally suspect gameplay. For some odd reason, the designers felt a lime limit would help this game. Well, it didn’t. It might have been good for time trials, but not for campaign mode. This wouldn’t be so bad, but since you're constantly hitting the space bar, shooting enemies, and flying through rings, it gets very taxing on the head trying to keep track of all those things.
I could go on about the bad gameplay, like the ability to race in only 5 levels, or the fact that when you install the game it automatically installs itself somewhere on your hard drive. But we need to move on, so I will stop at that.
Since 3Dfx caught on over the summer, every month brings more games and wider support for 3Dfx. But nowadays, 3Dfx isn’t enough to cover malicious gameplay. And while the graphics in Bug Riders are splendid, they aren’t enough to make you want to keep playing this game.
The graphics, are, of course, 3Dfx. And since the tracks are small, you don’t get any of those fogging effects, or the effect when graphics "pop up" out of nowhere. The different stages are very distinguishable, taking you places like the sandy beaches of Nessel, or the forests of Borasia. The bugs you ride look slightly amateurish, but are still nicely detailed and rendered. The landscapes are also very well-done, complete with statues of the current king, cities, trees and rocks.
The sound for Bug Riders brings a mixed verdict. For the most part, the music is pretty bad, except for one track, which I particularly liked. Most of the music sounds like they just played the demo on one of those electronic keyboards and recorded it. And for a fantastical game such as this one, the synthesizer and lame-o drums don’t work.
Reflecting the music, the sound effects are no better. Most of the weapons sound the same, except for maybe a little more bass on the powerful ones. There are no taunts from other racers, no cheering or booing when you fly by the crowded markets, nothing that could in any way enhance the gameplay or atmosphere of the game.
The documentation for Bug Riders is, quite frankly, some of the poorest I have ever seen. The manual is contained in the front of the CD jewel case, and is very small (26 pages). It does a reasonably good job of explaining concepts and other key elements of the game, but it still could have been much better.
Required: Windows 95, P133, 16 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, 1 MB video memory, DirectX compatible sound card and video card, supports Direct3D and Microsoft Force Feedback
Reviewed On: P200, 32 MB RAM, 8X CD-ROM drive, Monster 3D, 2 MB video memory, Microsoft Force Feedback Pro Joystick
I have said this before, and I will say it again. The game had an interesting, if not original, premise. However, it suffered from bad execution. It plays too much like an arcade game, with elements such as the time limit, and that’s not good for a PC title. The uninspired gameplay and unwieldy controls did not help, either. However, there were some good elements that kept this game from getting too bad of a rating, such as the silky-smooth FMV and the small but good level design. But those were not enough to save the game; therefore, I gave it a 57.