It was an idea waiting to happen: A fragfest combining the car combat of Interstate 76 with the first-person mayhem of Quake. Accolade's answering the call with Redline, a promising title where you engage in dicey warfare between two rival gangs. The mission-based gameplay involves run-n-gun battles behind the wheel as you race toward your objective, as well as plenty of combat on foot in areas your car can't reach. There's even some arena combat for sheer, unadulterated bloodshed.
A mild RPG element adds depth with such things as experience points that pave your path through the ranks of your gang and into the later levels. Visually, Redline erupts with spectacular, futuristic scenery, but beauty comes at a price as the game requires a 3D card. That's a small price, though, for what has the potential to be one of the hotter action games of '98.
It's 2066 and the world is a different place. While the privileged insiders live in fertile domed cities, the rest of humanity fights for survival in the wastelands. Rival gangs battle for supremacy, turf control and valuable resources. In order for a young man to succeed, he must make the right choices about his future. Basically it is a kill-or-be-killed environment with absolutely no way out.
As the game begins, the player takes the role of a "rookie" gang member attempting to join the Company gang and prove himself as he battles against the opposing gang members of the Templars, Red Sixers and the Lepers.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
The gameplay for Redline is pretty straightforward. You basically run or drive around, shooting anything that gets in your way. How hard can that be, you ask? Well, it can be very hard when the opposing gang members seem to appear out of the woodwork. There didn't seem to be any practical reason as to why I would go into an empty room and find four or five guys "hanging out" there. Now I have to be fair; there were a lot of rooms with boxes and different things in them. But I did have some questions about the artificial intelligence of these gang members. It seemed as if they didn't have any. Most games coming out now take advantage of AI and give the enemy a little bit of a fighting chance. The enemies in Redline seem to just stand there and take a beating instead of running away and trying to find help. While this was great in the original Doom series from id, it just doesn't work in a day and age of Half-Life and Sin.
One thing that I did like was that I could either drive my car around outside or get out and go on foot. I don't suggest that anyone do this, though, because the enemies will run you down like a dog unless there is a building close by to duck into. But it was kind of cool anyway.
The graphics for Redline are the highlight of the game. I have to admit that the explosions, while in the car, are really good. As a matter of fact I really liked driving the car around and shooting stuff more than getting out and running around (and I am not a driving game nut). It was kind of cool running people down in my car. It reminded me of Carmageddon.
The game ran smoothly most of the time on my computer. I have a AMD K-6 2 333 MHz machine with a Monster Fusion video card and it only bogged down when there were a lot of corpses around that were blowing up (when you kill someone, the corpse splatters everywhere after about five seconds).
The sounds in Redline were okay. Some of the dialogue sounded as if it was read right off a cue card, though. There were times when I would be standing in a room and suddenly I would be getting pelted with shrapnel, but I could not hear the enemy shooting or figure out where in the world they were. I don't know if it was my sound card screwing up or if it was the game messing with my head.
AMD K6-2 or Pentium 200 MHz processor, 4X CD-ROM drive, DirectX 6.0 or higher, Windows 95 or higher, 32 MB RAM, 300 MB hard drive space, 3D accelerator card & Windows compatible sound card
Redline doesn't have any documentation to speak of. You basically get the CD-ROM, and that is it. The inside cover gives you tips on how to install the game, but that is pretty simple when you think about it. It would have been nice to see some descriptions of the various weapons and maybe a little more background on what happened to the planet. It gets to be kind of tedious when you have to keep going to the options menu to find out which key does what action.
Room For Improvement
This game had a lot of potential. I think that if Accolade had made just a driving game it would have been so much better. Whenever I was in the car I really enjoyed the game, but when I got out and had to run around the halls of a building I found myself getting bored. I didn't see anything that made my mouth drop open and say "Wow."
Another annoying thing is that when you shoot someone while out of the car, there isn't any battle damage. Heck, the enemy doesn't even flinch. Most of the time I couldn't tell if I was hitting them or not. They just stood there shooting at me. It would have been nice to see some sort of reaction when you shot them. When you are in the car, though, the enemies' cars show battle damage. Now why did the programmers give the cars battle damage and not the humans on foot? I stick with my theory that they should have stayed with a driving game.
Anybody who has played Sin will tell you that long load times can be a pain. Now I don't mind waiting a few seconds, but when I can microwave a bag of popcorn, tuck the kids in bed, change the oil in my car and then trim my toenails before the level loads, something needs to be done. Seriously, Redline takes about a minute to load a level. I think that could be shortened a tad bit.
Redline has moments when it really shines, like when you are driving around the countryside, but once you get out of your car the game blows a tire and gets flat.