|a game by||GTE Interactive Media|
|Editor Rating:||7.1/10, based on 6 reviews|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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Critical Depth is a nice addition to the Twisted Metal type of game Single Trac is known for. The graphics are a bit better than Twisted Metal 2 but still aren't incredible. But that's what's weird about Single Trac games so far, including this one. They may not be the bestlooking games around, but they sure are some of the most fun. At first, I wasn't sure if I was going to like more of the silly characters, but then once I started getting into the game, I wouldn't want to play the game without them! The weapons were mostly cool, but others were kind of lame (i.e., the silly piranha missiles). The levels were well thought-out, and the enemy Al worked just fine. One problem that could get kind of annoying is the whole idea of strategy. What's to stop you from waiting for all of the enemy ships to kill each other off, while you pick up loads of power-ups? Then you can just take out the last enemy who has all five pods, thus beating the level with little or no trouble at all. Of course, there's the idea of will power, but when it comes down to it, this is a problem they could've addressed. Why not throw in a time limit of some sort, or something else that would have alleviated the problem. Overall, with the Battle Mode, loads of undersea levels and cool characters, this one is well worth the money...there's only that problem of winning too easily.
Sure it's just like Twisted Metal, but that's a good thing. The addition of a few cool features, like the shield usage and the solid engine of TW, make it a great game. The Story Mode is cool and the multiplayer is nothing short of head-to-head mayhem. I wish they'd used the Critical Depth concept more, but the open 3-D field can get a little confusing. Still, it plays tight and is very hard even on medium. This would make a great PC game.
Critical Depth is made by the same developers of Twisted Metal, and obviously, this was designed to offer the same type of gameplay. I love Twisted Metal, and the novelty of underwater warfare kept me interested in Critical Depth for a little while until I realized one important thing: Fighting with sluggish subs isn't nearly as fun as decked-out cars. This isn't a bad title, but it's too slow and unexciting for the action game it tries to be.
Critical Depth seemed nothing more than an underwater version of Twisted Metal 2. The graphics are decent but the frame rate suffers when the on-screen action gets hot and heavy. Cruising around the ocean and blowing other watercraft to smithereens was vaguely fun at first but the novelty wore off quick the further I played into the game. Keep in mind, I wasn't a big fan of Twisted Metal 2 either so take my words with a grain of salt.
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Gamers were wowed with the first generation title Warhawk for the PlayStation. Then Twisted Metal came out and owners of the Sony 32-Bit system couldn't believe their eyes. More recently SingleTrac released Twisted Metal 2 and received an even bigger reaction. It seems as if they can't lose. So what's next, if this is the case?
Some say that if it ain't broke then don't try to fix it. For the moment, this seems to be Single-Trac's mentality. Critical Depth, SingleTrac's new pearl, for the PlayStation, should have gamers swimming for joy if all goes as planned. After all, it's the first game produced and published solely by SingleTrac.
A little confused as to what happened to the relationship SingleTrac had with Sony? Check the sidebar for more info, but to sum it up quickly: SingleTrac has definitely proved themselves, and now with Microsoft on their side, what could possibly go wrong?
Even though it's early, it's obvious to see the similarities between Twisted Metal/Twisted Metal 2 and Critical Depth. Let us break it down...
We have a central figure (e.g„ Calypso or, in Critical Depth's case, an odd monolith) and a group of characters that want to obtain whatever this figure can give them. Guess what else? Each of the characters has his/her own special vehicle, weapons and story line.
We know there will be those who'll say, "If I wanted another Twisted Metal, I'd go play the sequel." These people should remember the statement: If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it.
SingleTrac is confident that Critical Depth is more improved than Twisted Metal 2 with better graphics and an improved engine, but they also know that there wasn't anything really wrong with Twisted Metal 2 begin with. So the phrase "just add water" born, and so far, this shouldn't a bad thing.
In all fairness, there is a team of talented programmers, artists and producers working on Critical Depth to make sure it's top-notch, so there really will be more than just water added (but our readers would know that, right?).
First, we have a story line that starts with a strange electromagnetic energy emanating deep from beneath the ocean. A scientist by the name of Doug McKracken starts looking for this center of activity and finds a monolithic structure. Once McKracken reports his findings to the appropriate authorities, the race begins.
Government organizations and scientific communities (being how they are) want to use the energy for various reasons, whether for good or for evil-perhaps to simply unlock its mystery.
So are the scientists and government goons the only ones involved? A hearty NO resonates off of the ocean floor from a diverse band of characters, each with his/her own craft.
Adding up to 13 all together, the submarine vehicles (and their respective operators) will surely make good competition for one another as they race to get the mysterious powers from the monolith-whatever those may be.
Several of the subs from the game are pictured in the middle of these two pages. Since it's still early, some may change in the final version. After all, it's no more than a couple of months into production.
Some of the characters include: the whacked-out host of a children's show who gets fired for reasons that he deems unjust. Thus, he wants to kill everyone in the world since the show was his life. He hopes that the monolith will aid him in his conquest
Another one is the C.I.A. sub that wants to get to the monolith first to cover up a peace treaty with aliens signed in 1948. The monolith may be something left over from those aliens. Other subs include those from the Navy Seals, terrorists and a French oceanographer among others.
Critical Depth will also feature a good number of environments to play through. Some early sketches are also pictured on these two pages. Some levels take place beneath the polar caps, others in the Red Sea-basi-cally, the levels are all over the world.
The object is not only to get to the monolith but to obtain the seven pods from each level. These pods energize the passageways between levels, ultimately taking gamers to the final level where the monolith lies. The fun comes in when an opponent has a few pods. Needless to say some rockets start to fly.
Other features may include sea creatures that inhabit the deep, weapons that are in sync with the style of the ship and hidden levels and characters.
They say the Earth is made up of 75 percent water, so it's no surprise that SingleTrac put all that wasted wet stuff to good use. They've surfaced to give us a look at a nearly complete version of their first title for publisher GT Interactive, Critical Depth.
The game puts players in the cockpit of one of more than 10 subs. Each of them has its own driver and personality (i.e., Captain Cutlass rides around in a pirate ship-esque sub). Sound a little like Twisted Metal? It should, considering SingleTrac describes their new game as a cross between Twisted Metal and Warhawk with plenty of surprises and additions to boot.
In the game, players need to recover four pods per level to open a slipgate that sends them to the next stage. Within each level (besides the power-ups, pods and obstacles) are three other enemy subs that try to stop you from getting the pods. The arsenal on your sub is just as powerful as the enemies, and at times more powerful depending on what sub you've chosen (like how powerful Mr. Grimm was in Twisted Metal) since each of the subs has their own attributes.
The levels are scattered in far-flung locales, including the Red Sea, around a sunken city and other oceanic places. Critical Depth also offers a Two-player Splitscreen Mode.
- MANUFACTURER - SinqleTrac
- THEME - ACTION
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2
With Critical Depth, Singletrac takes the vehicle-shooting theme of Twisted Metal underwater. Gamers get to choose from ten submarines, each with varying maneuverability and weapons systems. You're pitted against other subs as you try and reach the Threshold, an object of awesome power. Depth features several weapon power-ups, and your sub can take damage if it goes too deep. Let's hope this title can take the pressure this fall.
Critical Depth turned out to be just what it looked like in the preview versions--an underwater Twisted Metal. You pick a sub (each with a different captain and abilities), then engage other subs in a cap-ture-the-flag game, battle a friend in two-player action, or slowly progress through an area by accomplishing certain tasks in the mission mode. CD also sports a number of hidden areas a la Twisted Metal, but you cannot exceed critical depth.
The graphical details are dim and somewhat bland. The problem is that enemies are usually too far away to see, and when you do gain ground on them, they zip past you.
The sounds could have used some voice overs, giving the ships more personality. Eerie underwater sounds like the cries of dolphins echo from the arenas, but for the most part, you're stuck with a blaring, boring pseudo-rock soundtrack.
What sets CD apart from Twisted Metal is the game's slow pace. Even with a sub's turbo kicked on, the game drags as you search out enemies in levels that offer too many hiding places. You also find yourself wasting a lot of missiles as enemy craft avoid lock-ons at the last minute.
Critical Depth isn't a bad game--it just isn't as fast and as frantic as Twisted Metal. Destruction maniacs may find the game an underwater blast, but unless you like your metal twisted and wet, you should rent before you dive in these waters.
- Sometimes breaching the surface will reveal more power-ups.
- In Battle mode, pick subs that can latch onto other subs (like Lockjaw or Le Grifte), and while you have an enemy embraced, fire missiles into them for multiple combo damage.
- Blast through the metal grates in the Pacific Rim's streets to reveal a hidden area.
- Use regular torpedoes to blast everything (trees, boxes, and even structures). Host objects hold hidden power-ups.
Get ready to twist some undersea metal with Critical Depth. Cool ships, rockin' explosions, and creepy underwater lands await you... water you waitin' for?
Deep Sea Danger
The best way to imagine Critical Depth is to think Twisted Metal underwater. You pilot one of 12 unique subsurface craft--from a pirate's galleon to a secret C.I.A. prototype vessel--as you explore 10 areas, including Atlantis and the Baja Coast. You can complete set missions, battle against a friend, or even square off in a death-match battle mode.
Swimmin' with the Enemy
Although the corny characters (like environmental terrorists named Mean Peace) aren't as funny as Twisted Metal 2's chaV-acters, the subs are ingenious. And like Twisted Metal 2, some of the craft definitely have stronger attributes than others--some control better, while others are faster and deadlier. And while the mission scenario is entertaining, the game really rocks in the multiplayer mode.
Up the Drown Staircase
This 70 percent version of Critical Depth lacked speed, which is essential for such a watery Twisted Metal clone. Some more detail in the backgrounds and nicer explosions also wouldn't hurt (although battle damage registers with realism). It's like eating before a swim--we need to wait a half-hour before plunging into these Depths.