Lets get the obligatory futuristic-type plot rubbish out of the way first, shall we? The year is 2023 and the Earth has some serious problems. Global over-population is the main culprit, causing famine, disease, and other such heart-breaking symptoms worldwide. The powers that be are faced with two choices: sit back and do nothing and watch World War III on their television sets, or send a space ship to look for a new planet for Earths feuding populace to colonise. Fortunately for everyone involved, the decision was made to send the SS Amazon into the solar system to see what it could find. It ran into problems when it got near Saturn, though. Something very big got in the way and the space ship exploded. The only survivor was a rather sexy little female with unusually large expectations. She jumped into an escape pod and got the hell out of the way. Now its up to you to find her. She is your main incentive for jumping into a space ship of your own and zooming off into space to investigate the large object that had the difference of opinion with the SS Amazon. Oh yeah, and to save the Earth too, I suppose. As for the game itself...
Irresistible Intro shock
The graphics and animation for the Creature Shock intro have to be seen to be believed. The movement for the main character (sexy girlie) is quite astonishing and the ship explosions and so on are all suitably over the top. Its a bit of a shame, then, that the first part of the actual game you come to after that is an absolute disaster. Creature Shock is played out over four levels and although the first one is the shortest by far, I still couldnt wait to get the damn thing out of the way. If you can imagine a fairly tacky shareware version of Space Invaders tarted up with loads and loads of wacky sound effects, youve got a pretty good idea what to expect from the first part of the game. Mines come flying at you, asteroid things come flying at you, and you shoot the lot. Half the time you dont know what it is youre meant to be shooting at so you just end up clicking the mouse like mad and hope you hit something. Theres a guardian at the end of it to get rid of but hes no real problem -you just keep shooting him in the eyes and eventually he buggers off. Thankfully, this whole section is fairly easy to get through so it wont drive you mad for ages before you get into the game proper. Just as well really, because from here on it gets better, much better.
Its a game shock
Although you spend the first level flying around having mouse-clicking fits, you spend the rest of the game (or at least as much of it as Ive seen) walking around shooting lots of alien things. If youve ever played Operation Wolf or Terminator: Arcade youll be well at home with the interface in Creature Shock. You move your space-dude alter-ego around with the mouse and er, shoot things.
The left mouse button is for shooting with, and a click of the right mouse button activates your shield. When youre not scrapping with alien bods, a cursor in the middle of the screen indicates which directions you can move in. This interface is very easy to get to grips with and your space dude moves around very smoothly.
As you move around the giant alien asteroid thing, you will, of course, bump into lots of alien things. They all have different weak spots which you have to find and blast the hell out of. This isnt too difficult because if you look closely youll see areas of the nasties that look noticeably different and these are usually the parts to aim at. The animation for all the creatures is absolutely superb and some of them look so realistic they are positively repulsive.
Even better looking is your space cadet hero bloke (i.e. you). When hes disposed of a particularly nasty bunch of aliens you get cut scenes which show him diving about dramatically in his space suit, performing somersaults, pointing his gun dangerously at nothing in particular, and generally looking super cool. When you first play the game (I mean from the second level on, forget the crap Space Invaders bit at the beginning), you could be forgiven for thinking its a bit too simplistic.
Initially, it seems to involve nothing more than walking ground lots of tunnels shooting the odd alien, but as the game progresses you are constantly faced with hordes of new aliens (some of them are a nightmare to get rid) and it gets increasingly harder to stay alive. Help comes in the form of power-ups which youll find in containers hanging from the walls and when you grab one of these youll find that youve suddenly got a lot healthier, or your gun has just got a lot more dangerous. So generally. Creature Shock is a much better CD shoot-em-up than the current crop that weve seen but its not perfect, not by a long shot.
Bits missing shock
One part of the game that must definitely be filed away in the missed opportunity cabinet is the music. Considering the game itself is very brooding and atmospheric, the last thing youd expect to hear as youre wandering around the tunnels looking over your shoulder, waiting for the arrival of the death-dealing alien which you just know is about pop up, is an absolutely crap, over-jolly, badly written, disco-type backing track. They could have had an absolutely amazing sound track for this game. Creature Shock is just crying out for sparse, moody, atmospheric melodies but what you get instead would not sound out of place in a Russ Abbot sketch. Another niggle is that you can easily get Jost when youre trying to get to the end of a level. There are lots of twists and turns and you have to remember where youve been all the time. There is no auto-map so you are left with no choice but to get out the old pen and paper and map the bloody thing as you go along. Okay, the levels arent very big but I thought wed left the days of sitting in front of a computer game with a notepad behind. The reason this is so annoying is you only have one life and when you die you are sent back to the beginning of the level youre on. The only other problem I have with Creature Shock is the price. Fifty quid is a lot to spend on any game. My advice if you Tike the sound of Creature Shock and think its definitely your thing, is to shop around. With a bit of luck you should be able to pick it up for about $35. Dont let the minor problems Ive highlighted with the game put you off too much. Of all the CD action games weve seen over the last few months, Creature Shock is definitely one of the best. It looks absolutely amazing, it gets harder the further you get into it, and the levels are big enough to keep you occupied for at least a week or two. Try getting it for a lower price, though.
Download Creature Shock
Variety is the spice of life, and variety is all that spices up this routine shooting game.
This two-disc game gives you five missions with three distinct styles of gameplay: Total Eclipse-style canyon skimming, Doom-style corridor stalking, and Virtua Cop-style shooting galleries. All the missions have sci-fi themes as you venture to Saturn, explore the insides of alien ships, and shoot it out with toothy aliens.
Unfortunately, the controls don't bring enough life to this planetary party. You have only one weapon for each mission, so this is mostly a one-button game. Also, the cursor moves too sluggishly and shots are fired too slowly for you to meet the challenge of the many ships and creatures obstructing your way. You know where to shoot and when, but you still won't be able to nail the slowly advancing slug in front of you.
Shock to the System
The sounds and graphics don't add much drama. What should have been intense alien screams and a stirring soundtrack are instead just interesting groans and bland background music. The graphics are inconsistent: The flying sequences seem pixelated and undetailed, but the weird creatures in the corridor levels are quick and imaginative.
Creature Shock won't do anything too shocking or too stimulating to capture your imagination. The gameplay may change, but your interest level won't.
- When flying to Saturn, dodge the asteroids. Don't waste time trying to shoot them.
- Stay low as you fly through Tethys; most enemies float above you.
Creature Shock was originally published exclusively for the pleasure of CD-i owners, but Sega Saturn lovers (and before too long, PlayStation fans) will very soon be able to play this futuristic shooter that brings to mind some kind of unholy union between the Alien movies and The Seventh Guest.
The year is 2123. You're part of a rescue crew, sent to the moons of Jupiter to discover the fate that befell the crew members of the exploratory vessel Amazon. Communication has broken down between Earth and the ship, but a mysterious distress beacon leads you to its last known location.Your mission: discover what went wrong.
Creature Shock is set up into two types of game.There are very impressive 3-D exploration sequences in which you wander through the claustrophobic confines of a mysterious alien structure. Rendered aliens attack you from all sides, and the atmosphere is heavy with death and decay. Chilling. The other half of the game is all 3-D, shoot-'em-up outer-space action. Rendered cut scenes which impress and bedazzle. Cool.
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