World War II ended back in 1945 with a decisive German victory... No, of course it didn't. But Polish developers Mirage Media would like us to think it did, if their new historically inspired 3D action game is anything to go by.
You see, the Allies failed in their attempts to thwart the plans of Adolf Hitler and his motley band of anti-Semitic cohorts, and now the whole world is suffering at the hands of their megalomaniacal plotting. In this instance the date is 2060. You are a futuristic soldier called Jurgen Mortyr, a man disillusioned by the current Nazi regime, and investigating the disturbing decay of Earth's environmental stability. Jurgen's investigations uncover the presence of a prototype time machine, capable of sending Nazi agents forwards and backwards in time. He also concludes that this insidious dabbling with the laws of time is the prime cause of the devastating weather conditions, and vows to do something about it.
This something, however, involves sending his son, Sebastian Mortyr, back to World War II to rewrite history and "kick some Nazi butt" (as the supplied game overview so eloquently puts it), while Jurgen stays at home by a roaring log fire with nothing but his pipe and slippers and a bottle of schnapps for company.
Despite the tenuous plot, and the fact that Mortyr: Killing Time essentially trivialises a harrowing period of modem history, the game itself looks like being lots of fun. Essentially Mortyr owes a hell of a lot to Quake and chums, being a first-person shooter, although we've yet to ascertain whether it's going to be straightforward blasting and not much else, or something more substantial like Half Life.
T\venty single-player levels are currently on the cards, ranging from missions that take place on moving trains (which we've seen and fully approve of), to exploratory sorties that span huge, sprawling castles adorned with sinister pseudo-Nazi imagery. Clearly this is one game that is unlikely to see the light of day in Germany (unless they change red blood to green and turn all the soldiers into fluffy bunny rabbits, that is). There'll be at least 12 realistic weapons based on WW1I counterparts, and a smattering of futuristic devices such as jet packs and night vision goggles too. And, of course, there'll be a rocket launcher tucked in there as well.
Graphically, Mirage Media are hoping to pull out all the stops with a vast array of effects such as: stained glass windows that affect the hue of the lighting and disintegrate realistically when shot; mist, fog and heavy rain; reflective surfaces; progressive texturing. Although the game will run in software on the minimum spec (P200 with 32Mb RAM), a 3D accelerator card is obviously required in order to see these in full effect. Oh, and there'll also be 3D sound courtesy of Intel's RSX Sound (whatever that is).
Currently pre-Beta, Mortyr: Killing Time is slated for a mid-March release. As things are added, and a more rounded picture of the game's strengths and weaknesses is formed, we'll let you know if it's worth buying or not. Watch out for our definitive review.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
You thrilled World War II in black and white (The Dambusterdi'. You gawped at World War II in colour (World War II In Colour. You pooed your pants over World War II in big-screen gore-o-vision (Saving Private Ryanf. Now prepare to sit stoney-faced through World War II in full interactive 3D! Yes, Mortyns here - and it's, urn, not very good really. That's all you need to know - but don't tear this article out and hurl it into a big burning bin just yet. Carry on reading and I'll do my damnedest to keep you entertained.
When the first Mortyr screenshots trickled down the newspipe and onto our monitor screens, everyone at towers said and thought the same two things. Thing number one: "That looks a bit like a hi-tech Wolfenslein3D."And thing number two: "It also looks a little bit tasteless."
Funny, that last bit. There have been countless wargames and simulations set in the thick of World War II, yet nobody says anything. Represent the same era in full-on Quake-o-vision, however, and we start getting all woolly and uncomfortable. Hundreds of thousands of people are killed during the average 20p one-player game of arcade shoot 'em up 1941, and nobody cares, but stab one SS guy in the throat from a 3D first-person perspective and we're all writing to our MPs. Cuh. Perhaps it's because the Quake viewpoint really does cast you as the main protagonist, rather than merely letting you sit back and operate a tank or plane by proxy. Still, it doesn't make the action any more realistic - although you wouldn't think this was the case judging by Mortyr's advertising campaign, which has made much of the game's alleged life-or-death authentic grit It's utter bullshit of course - Mortyr is about as valid a representation of the earthy reality of armed combat as The Muppet Christmas Carol.
The story behind Mortyr is a bit like a cross between The Guns OINavaroneanO Back To The Future Part II. The game's poorly-translated manual relates a tale in which the Nazis develop a secret weapon, win the war, and rule the world for about 150 years, until you - yes, you-are sent back in time to 1944 in order to bung a spanner in their works.
Yadda, yadda, yadda. Cue lots of running around shooting and killing - and searching for key A in order to open door B. This is a no-brainer. Architecturally, Mortyr is reasonably impressive: plenty of looming gothic interiors, stained glass windows and extra 'show-off' effects (such as reflective surfaces and fogging) for those with appropriately muscular accelerator cards. The much-vaunted Mortyrengine is capable of great things. Before long, though, the environment starts to feel terribly 'samey'. There's little to distinguish one level from the next.
Furthermore, the character models and animations aren't much cop (the guard dogs in particular are incredibly bad, looking like an animated sequence from Taxidermy The Movidj. The sound effects don't help - some of the Nazis actually say "hello" when you walk in the room, while the supposedly 'amusing' comments uttered Duke Nukem-style by your character appear to consist mainly of flat statements of fact delivered by a Dutchman.
Furthermore, the levels have been designed to engage the eye rather than the 'engrossment glands' in your head - there are far too many cavernous spaces with little of interest to fill them up, save a fancy ceiling and some pretty coloured glass. Enemy AI seems practically non-existent - foes simply run at you until you find yourself machine-gunning them in the eyes. If the real Nazis had been this stupid, World War II would've been over by lunchtime.
Then there are the unforgivable clipping bugs - sometimes it's possible to pass through impenetrable surfaces and find yourself stuck fast in the dreaded 'glitch dimension'. Finally, and worst of all, there's the indefinable overall 'feel' of the thing. It just doesn't seem right. It never sucks you in; you never forget you're merely playing a game.
So, it's a load of old shit then? Well, no. Not completely. It's actually quite playable in a funny sort of way - provided, like us, you a) haven't paid for it and b) don't have anything better to do at the time. It's about as entertaining as, say, doodling a moustache on a picture of Posh Spice in the paper while you're waiting for a train. Or jumping over a puddle. Or slicing the crust off a bit of wet bread and then throwing it at the wall for no good reason. That much fun. But no more than that.
Quick history lesson for the kids, id software's Wolfenstein 3D, as referred to in this review, was the predecessor to Doom, which in turn begat Quake, and so on. It's hard to convey how much impact Wolfenstein had in its day - your correspondent can remember literally gasping in amazement at its smooth, high-speed 30 visuals. In case you never played it, it was just like Doom, but minus stairs, or any angle sharper than 90 degrees. Oh, and it was bright red and blue, and instead of fighting tomato monsters and scary pink behemoths, you were gunning (and knifing) your way through a never-ending parade of young German soldiers (who screamed as you killed them). Banned in Germany, it was both a technical marvel and a breathtaking exercise in tastelessness, kick-starting the trend for ultra-gory 30 shooters that continues to this day.
Of course, were you to download and play It this afternoon, you'd think it was crap - but that's hardly the point, dumb arse. This is our heritage, maaaan.