Tanks patrol desolate city streets. Turrets and missile sites threaten the skies. Robot warriors carrying pulse rifles surround military installations. What's become of Earth? Machines have taken over. Corporate greed and rapid technological advancements have made humans the pawns of their own creations. During the first 15 years of the 21st century, MegaCorp began to dominate the computer technology in both peacekeeping and war-fighting applications. As the giant corporations churned out better and better technology for manufacturing and warfare, humans were relegated to the service industries or to working as drones on PC terminals. Does that sound familiar to you, gentle reader? Well, it should; I'm pretty sure half of the games out there today revolve around the storyline of "big bad computer company ruins the world with their technological advances." On that cheerful note, welcome to the video game Recoil, a first-person tank shooter that reminds me a lot of the old stand-up game Battlezone. You are in control of a Battle Force Tank, which has a vast array of futuristic weapons. There are six missions in the game; each mission contains between 4-6 objectives that must be met before you can move onto the next mission. On the multiplayer side of the game you get seven missions in which you and your friends can beat each other to a bloody pulp, where you each have your own tank and weapons.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
When I first played Recoil I tried to use the joystick and found that I could control the tank much better using the mouse and keyboard. The first couple of times playing Recoil was heart-pounding because of the explosions going off and the enemy vehicles darting in and out of my view, but once I got past that, it became a methodical game that has choke points of enemy units that must be destroyed before moving on. Something about this game makes it really fun the first couple of times, but after that you are just wanting to get to the next level because you are bored with the scenery in the last level.
If you are in close proximity to things while playing, you can see that attention to detail was a priority. All the hills and valleys are created very nicely; the enemy vehicles are really neat, but only if you are in close to see them. Which brings me to my first and loudest complaint: The only way you can see anything really well in this game is to be about 10 inches away from whatever you're trying to look at. You have some great long-range weapons at your disposal, but you have to drive up really close to a vehicle to see if that particular weapon will work on it. Once you get close to things, you can really enjoy the effort the graphics guys took in making the game. Enemy vehicles are awesomely done; you've got flame-throwing vehicles, huge battle tanks, and quick and fast troop vehicles. It's just too bad that you can only see that kind of detail when you're up close and personal. On a side note, the best graphics of the game are when you make another vehicle explode -- that really is the high note of the game.
Ninety percent of Recoil's audio revolves around explosions and things dying and melting or just plain getting destroyed. The computer hackers that lead you through the game via your tank's communication system are pretty good. Other than that, there is not a whole lot to the audio. Let's face it, how much can you do with the audio when it is mostly explosions?
Windows 95/98, Pentium 166MHz, 32 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, 240 MB of hard drive space, video card with 2 MB VRAM, DirectX 6
Multiplayer: 2-8 players LAN, 2-4 players Internet, 2 players modem, free access to Westwood Online
I like manuals that spell it out for you very quick and precisely, especially if the game you're playing is a shooter. The Recoil manual does just that. It gives you pictures of all enemy vehicles, and weapons that you can pick up throughout the game. By just reading the first couple of pages you can be up and running around this futuristic world in no time.
I love first-person shooter games; there is no better game to play after a hard day of work. Unfortunately Recoil misses on that note greatly. I judge a shooter by how much I think of tactics and ideas when I'm not playing. Not once while Recoil was in my possession did I find myself thinking of tactics and ideas for the game. I'm also pretty sick to death of this "computers take over the world" crap; can't anybody come up with fresh ideas anymore? There are some great possibilities for a first-person tank shooter -- just take a look at SSI's Panzer Commander; that was a great first-person tank game that was believable. Some of you out there might find this game very engrossing, or maybe I'm missing the point, but either way I recommend you wait for this game to hit the close-out bin until you buy it. With that, gentle reader, I give this game a 60/100.