Mortal Coil: Adrenalin Intelligence
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CANDY. Not really a brilliant name for the next generation strategy/shoot 'em up, is it? Luckily, developer Crush! has had the foresight to change "Candy" to the eminently more impressive and hip, Mortal Coil. Much better.
So why was it called Candy in the first place? Was it originally a shoot 'em up set in a sweet shop? A strategy-fest spectacular that pitted ruthless Rolos against terrible Twixes? No, silly. That would be stupid. It was originally called Candy because the game is based on a character called Candy. One mean and moody chic with an attitude; not too dissimilar in appearance and demeanour from Tank Girl. Candy works for the World Super Government as a special operations agent for a covert trouble-shooting agency known as Mortal Coil (hence the new name).
It seems the government is having a bit of trouble with some frightfully destructive terrorists (who, in fact, turn out to be aliens sent from the future - see top right, extremely long caption), so they decide to send in Candy and her merciless band of super-tough mercenaries to sort them all out.
So it's a shoot 'em up then?
Well, yes it is. But it's more than just another Doom clone; it's got loads of strategy to it as well. I know that you've probably heard all that before, but this time it's true. Top bod at Crush! and one of the developers, MD Jon Dean, maintains that you can just play it as a 3D shoot 'em up if you wish, and run about shooting everything that moves. But if you want to play it properly and work your way through the fairly intense mission structure, you'll have to come up with some kind of strategy, and develop your tactics.
In this respect it's best described as a 3D shoot 'em up that's gone out to its local, bumped into a couple of old mates (say Space Hulk and maybe SEAL Team), had a quiet pint in the corner with a bloke he works with (UFO, perhaps), spilt his pint over some other drunk called Doom and started to talk about football, girls and cars in the corner. They've all piled out of the pub at closing time, completely rat-arsed, and are now jostling for attention at the counter of the kebab shop. You're sitting in your car outside (in your dressing gown - you got a case of the midnight munchies), quietly eating your kebab, when they pile out of the eatery and start to kick the shite out of your car. This is a serious mistake 'cos you're well 'ard. You are harder than that hard place people talk about when they figuratively speak of being stuck between a rock and "a hard place".
You now have two choices: the strategic "put your foot down, phone all your mates and dash back to the kebabery en masse to kick some arse" choice: or the "dash in, guns blazing approach, where you leap out of your car, wielding a snooker cue and attempt to smash the shite out of them and anything else that moves" choice. The latter might work some of the time -until you encounter some extra tough, lagered thugs or discover that they are, in fact, off-duty policemen. The other choice might take a bit longer, but will probably mean you need less stitches and you might get on Crime Watch. You will probably be able to claim on your insurance with greater success, too. Mortal Coil is a bit like this.
Errh... So it's like a kebab shop fight?
Well, yes, in a way. But there is more, much more. (Sigh of relief - Ed.) Crush! has spent eons developing an AI which is so quick, intelligent and sophisticated that you would think a huge, throbbing brain had crept into your pc and was controlling the enemy. It's all down to a new Al system called vibe (Virtual Intelligence Behavioural Environment - see boxout again). This vibe really is very clever because it works out how different aliens and groups of aliens would react given the circumstances of the confrontation, and decides whether to fight it out, call in for reinforcements or just leg it. And it's all in real time, so no nipping off for a quick cuppa and a fag while you work out what to do next.
You've also got a choice of views and a movable camera (so you can play it like Doom or from an over-the-shoulder view), you can switch to any character at any time, and even split the screen into four and watch what every character is doing at the same time.
And as you're the boss, you can also choose what formation you stomp around in; set up special manoeuvres for bursting into rooms etc, and send your chaps on special scouting missions (by seting up way points), or get them to guard an area or lie in wait to ambush the enemy.
Now all this, you gotta admit, is pretty cool, but when you see the aliens you're up against, you realise that you are gonna need a few good tricks up your sleeve. There are simply loads of different aliens, all with their own particular tactics, special attacks and manoeuvres to battle against. And (thanks to vibe) they're all intelligent, which means they lie in wait for you, set traps, gang up and generally act very hard. Apart from the Leaders, that is, who hang around at the back, hurling missiles at you and getting ready to leg it at the slightest whiff of danger. The thing is, they don't just run away and hide, they run away and go and get reinforcements, re-group and plan another method of attack. So basically, it's tough, and it just gets tougher. This will not be a game for wimps.
It's gotta have VIBE!
One of the key features that makes Mortal Coil so damn tough is the rather super Artificial Intelligence system (which was specially developed for the game), known as VIBE (or Virtual Intelligence Behavioural Environment).
Every time a player encounters an alien (or aliens), VIBE works out what the best course of action would be, given the circumstances (ie state of the players' health, weapons available, ammunition, escape routes etc,) and then it acts accordingly. What this means in terms of gameplay is, you actually feel like you're playing against a real person (who plays against you with different strategies and tactics) and not a machine. Every type of alien behaves differently, according to who it's with and what it's been assigned to do, and you'll have to develop your own tactics if you want to beat them.
Download Mortal Coil: Adrenalin Intelligence
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP