It's sequel time again - only this time we're talking about the sequel to a Playstation game that never made it onto the pc in the first place. That was Loaded, a 3D top-down view shoot 'em up for one or two players, which was a kind of ultra-violent take on Gauntlet. Guns, guns and more guns was the order of the day -with gallons of claret sloshing around for good measure. Initially, it sold very well, although since there weren't many games available for the psx at the time (but there were lots of psx owners), that's hardly a big surprise. Despite a few fancy lighting effects, and being good fun for a couple of hours, it soon got tediously repetitive and absurdly difficult. I've seen piles of copies for sale in second-hand shops. So why should you give a toss about the sequel?
Can you dig it?
Good question. Well, Gremlin Interactive could probably give you a few answers to that. To wit: ReLoaded (the snappily-titled sequel) will feature more characters, more weapons and, hopefully, far more variety. It seems that many of the faults of the original have been addressed.
For starters, whereas the Loaded of old was just a shamelessly brain-dead exercise in non-stop murdering, ReLoaded actually requires the player to solve puzzles in order to make decent headway. There's also the chance to shoot bloody big holes into people while they're begging for mercy - a truly heart-warming prospect. Players have a choice of six characters, ranging from a lobotomised imbecile in baby garb (Mamma), to Magpie, a roving cyber-nun. Each comes complete with their own personalised weapon and special attack (one of the characters eats corpses), and all of them look rather spiffing (some of the related artwork, by 2000AD geezer Jason Brashill, is quite superb).
Many of the details are a little sketchy at present - there's no sign of Pop Will Eat Itself so far (they provided the bulk of the soundtrack last time round) - but who knows, maybe they've signed Joan Baez instead.
Whatever happens, it looks certain that ReLoaded is likely to be one of the most tasteless games ever to hit the pc, and if that doesn't warrant at least a little attention, then I don't know what does. Keep 'em peeled for a full review as soon as we get our paws on the whole shebang.
Gremlin - A bunch of sickos or what?
True fact: Included in my special Clazy journalist' interactive presspack thing (apart from a bloody virus) was a Word document which appears to be a rudimentary description of proposed game components, presumably written by one of the design team. And by Christ, you can almost smell the unhealthy relish. Here's a few choice quotes: The blood letting in the original game was adequate but little else... in this sequel we should strive for a truly blood sodden product...
Limbs and other body components will be seen to fly off... this should provide much more amusement (maybe if a player shoots all of these components before they hit the floor he will gain a bonus)..."
The recipient of enough plasma will melt away into a fine pink spray... which will lift up from the play field toward the player's view. Some of it will stick to terrain features, making them resemble Jackson Pollock's splatter paintings."
(Discussing the effect a Cflame weapon' will have upon the enemy) running around... crackling and spitting and screaming and smoking... if he runs into the wall he will break into a few smoking chunks. ...bodies should explode into a mess of flesh and exposed bones...
Wounded enemies might fall to their knees and beg for mercy, this will give the players a smashing feeling of power...
For those of you who didn't get enough blood and violence from the first title, Loaded, Interplay has indulged us with a sequel. This sequel promises to pick up right where the original left off, with a revamped cast of characters just waiting to blast anything and everything that crosses their path. Loaded was a very original game that was a huge success, due to the graphic violence that had never been seen before in a video game. Will this be enough to sell the sequel, or have they brought something new to the blood bath? We'll see.
Reloaded starts right where the first title left off. The evil FUD escaped at the end of the first title. FUD's brain pod shot out of the scene and plummeted through the galaxy. After floating for an indeterminate amount of time, FUD's brain pod finally happened onto a planet. As his pod entered the atmosphere, it heated up and crashed to the desert sand. The sand planet is inhabited by a colony of 1000 starving artists. The first artist to find the pod was named Manuel. When Manuel discovered the pod, he mistook it for a smoldering comet. So, like any starving artist, Manuel used the only thing he had on him to cool down the comet, which happened to be a bottle of wine. FUD was not too happy to have a bottle of wine poured directly on his brain. When night fell, Manuel decided to climb inside his new trophy and catch a few winks. As soon as Manuel fell asleep, FUD decided that he would implant his brain in the body of Manuel. Upon awakening, Manuel did not feel like himself. That was for good reason, because he was not himself. He was now the house for FUD. Manuel went to the village and everyone immediately noticed that something was not quite right with him. For starters, he insisted on being called CHEB, which stands for Charming, Handsome, Erudite Bastard. The following evening, CHEB robbed all the sleeping artists of their meager savings and left the camp. That is when we are dispatched. Since we failed to stop FUD in the original, we surely won't let him survive in the sequel, will we?
Reloaded is a top-down shooter. You have an assortment of six different characters, each with unique weapons and personalities, to hunt down CHEB and finish him off for good. A 2-player mode lets you and a friend jump in a kick some serious alien butt.
Each of the six different characters sports a different back ground and arsenal of weapons. The first character is called Mamma. Mamma is a motherless son decked out in a pastel romper suit and Panda slippers. This baby-faced character definitely does not fit his appearance. The next character is Bounca. Bounca is a buffed-out doorman with a bad attitude. Sporting a new triple barreled shotgun, Bounca is one of the most effective characters. Thirdly, we have Magpie. Magpie is a Cyber Nun that has malfunctioned. Fitted with a huge gun, she will have the enemies saying their prayers. The fourth character is The Consumer. She has rockets fitted to her shoulders that shoot Agent Orange explosives, leaving all of the victims blown up and cooked in a nice orange sauce. The fifth character is Cap'n Hands. His body has been ruined and he is a walking skeleton. The last of the characters is Butch. Butch is a cross-dressing ex-con. Don't ask how this happened.
After selecting your character, you will battle through 12 worlds trying to stop CHEB. At the beginning of each world, you will be briefed on your mission and you are to stop at nothing to accomplish the goal. Every world has unique enemies waiting for you to cross their path. When you do connect with on of the bad guys, all that remains is a blood-stained skeleton on the ground. The idea is to kill everyone and everything. It is that simple. It is that overdone. We want something fresh and something new.
The gameplay in Reloaded does become a bit tedious after awhile. Each world is vastly different from the last, but after a few minutes in each, you will find yourself wanting more. The characters are also equipped with a special weapon that basically kills everything on the screen, which is cool but still not enough. There are some new components added to levels to make them a bit more exciting, like lifts and teleporters. These things help the game a little, but are not the savior.
The graphics in Reloaded need to be broken into two separate categories. The first category is the intro clips for the characters. These are awesome. They did a great job with each and every one of the characters. I have never seen fire look as real as it does on these intros. The next category is in game graphics. We all know that the intro graphics are neat to watch, but don't amount to anything when it comes to playing the game. This is where I was a little disappointed in Reloaded. The graphics were average and nothing really stood out to me. This game just suffers from average graphics and a seen-it-all-before look.
The two-player mode is the only thing that saves this game from being a dog. I really enjoy playing games in a team environment and with Reloaded, teamwork will mean survival. The lackluster graphics and gameplay just are not original enough any more to make this title a stand-out. The original title broke new ground, but this title just treads water. If you are a fan of the original title, I'm sure you will like this one, but if you were not too impressed the first time around, you will be disappointed the second.