Requiem: Avenging Angel
We've seen some far-fetched gaming storylines here at PC, but this one takes the cake. Requiem is an ultra-violent first-person shooter in which you're going gun bonkers on behalf of God himself. We're not kidding: you play 'Malachi', an angel sent to 21st century Earth to wipe out the Fallen - a group of fallen angels - who, sickened by everything mankind stands for, are planning to instigate the apocalypse. You're a holy commando.
We're all for it ourselves, but we can't help wondering just how this is going to go down in US's Bible Belt. Presumably they're going to love the fact that for once the player is aligned with the big G, but just how they'll react to the sight of an angel toying with rocket launchers, machine-gunning people in the face - and at one point shouting "Jesus!" with surprise - is anyone's guess. Hyuk hyuk.
Yes. Yes. But...
Okay. What of the game itself? Well, glance at the score if you haven't already: we're happy to report that Requiem rocks great big holy bells. This is a particularly pleasing outcome because - well, we'll level with you. For the first half-hour or so of playtime, we thought it was a bit... crap.
Dunno why. Maybe we were in a bad mood, or maybe it was something to do with the unusual opening: you start out wandering through "the realm of chaos" -which looks a lot like Hell to us -using your hands to fire balls of energy at a bunch of ugly beasties. Whatever. The prospect of spending an entire game playing a sort of 'magic angel' simply didn't appeal.
But, we were proved wrong. Following a brief jaunt through the wibbly-wobbly chaos realm, you're transported to Earth and things start to seriously pick up. It's dark. It's dank. You're in a big, grimy city. Pigeons flutter by. Armed guards wander around, beating civilians. Intrigued, you start exploring. And before you know it, a couple of hours have passed without your permission... and that's it You're hooked. It's sucked you in.
Requiem unfolds in a similar way to Halt-Life - although don't get too excited, it's not quite of the same calibre. The levels blend into one another to form one gigantic, sprawling whole (although it does cheat a couple of times by having you suddenly teleport into a location). Like Half-Life, it's similarly rock-hard in places - health is depleted extremely quickly when you take a hit - and also makes use of occasional scripted sequences to perk your interest. The main difference, in fact, is that RequientsM pales into insignificance alongside Half Lifefs - people and monsters often seem to just run at you, guns blazing. Still, the variety, the visuals, and the quality of level design make up for it.
Pretty Little Angel Eyes
You can't possibly have failed to notice from the screenshots that Requiem looks pretty good. Weirdly, the visuals seem to improve the longer you play - the opening stage looks downright ropey compared to later levels. Aside from the architecture and the fancy coloured lighting, there's those impressive character models that move in all kinds of unpleasantly believable ways, for instance, when shot, guards don't always just slump to the floor - they often roll around squealing in agony for ages (just as you'd imagine they would real life). Some of the monsters are genuinely frightening too - especially the ones that leap at your face and start peeling you like a banana. The gameplay itself also improves with play.
Not only do you start getting hold of more weapons, but there's also a range of fancy angelic powers to consider. In practice, many of the best ones (usually the most violent) are hard to use in the heat of the moment, but others, like the 'deflection' shield and the 'insist' spell, which turns an enemy into an ally, are indispensable.
Still, there are niggles. In some ways, the game feels a little rushed - which is unusual when you consider that it's nowhere near Christmas -and a few glitches which really should have been ironed out turn up to throw something nasty in the party punchbowl from time to time. For one thing, some of the guards seem to have a bizarre ability to suddenly leap from the floor onto higher surfaces in the blink of an eye. This is particularly disconcerting if you happen to be standing on the said 'higher surface' yourself. Also, the weapon sound effects seem a bit weedy - the rapid-fire assault rifle in particular makes a sound not entirely dissimilar to rain pattering against the window during a thunderstorm. Rambo would never have stood for that. Still, Rambo wasn't an angel.
If the EEC passed a bizarre law requiring all videogames to have incredibly accurate titles, Requiem would probably have to be rechristened The Weird, Holy 'Quake-a-Like' That's Not As Good As Half-Life But Is A Damn Fine Chunk Of Entertainment In Its Own Right Nevertheless. Not that that would fit on the box. Anyway, if you're tired of waiting for Kingpin and you fancy a bit of HalfLife-style fun, give it a spin in your CO drive. And who knows, maybe all that angelic goodness will rub off on you, and you'll stop spending so much time looking at filth on the Internet. No - thought not.
The Munsters Today
Requients scary monsters
Like Half-Ufe, the enemies in Requiem are a mixture of outlandish beasties and real-world human beings. The guards are cool, but the monsters are even cooler. Not only are they well-designed and animated, but several of them pull off the difficult trick of being genuinely scary. Why? Well, they have beady little eyes, big, sharp teeth, and an ability to suddenly leap huge distances, right into your face. And, like this chap (above), they tend to lurch into view unexpectedly. What more could you ask for?
Let's Do The Time Warp Again
Some of the spells in Requiem are genuinely entertaining, and can provide your character with some miraculous powers...
The 'warp time' spell actually slows down time, turning all your enemies into plodding, slow-motion cannon fodder. It's all quite eerily atmospheric - the sound effects even slow down too. In fact, it's exactly like a slow-motion sequence from a John Woo movie, with recently shot victims spiralling helplessly through the air, spewing and groaning in a surreal, drowsy bloodbath. The second most entertaining spell? The 'pillar of salt' effect, which makes your enemies slowly crystallise, disintegrate, and blow away in the breeze. Lovely stuff. If there's one thing this game deserves recognition for, It's the sheer number of ideas Cyclone have managed to cram into It.
Download Requiem: Avenging Angel
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Requiem is living proof that not all first-person shoot 'em ups, from the good to the downright mediocre, end up being hits. Since you probably missed this one on its full-price release, now is the perfect time to check out its bizarre blend of heavenly magic, futuristic urban chaos and good old-fashioned splatterfest.
As Malachi, an angel sent to the 21st century to rid Earth of some nasty fallen angels, you have a divine licence to kill. Unlike Bob, Messiah/s cute cherub with a similar mission, you're armed with both terrestrial weapons (guns, rocket launchers) and divine spells. The latter definitely adds a different level to the gameplay, with spells that slow down time, turn people into pillars of salt, create a shield around you and even turn enemies to your side. Not that those enemies are particularly intelligent, displaying none of the AI that really turns an average shooter into a great shooter.
Most people will be put off by the first level, which is set in the realms of chaos. It looks suitably hellish, in a Clive Barker, fleshy kind of way, but plays like an absolute dog. Another problem is that later levels are just too similar to Quake II. From the brown pastiness, to the weapons and the soldier models, Requiem feels like an inferior clone. If you're an FPS fan looking for a cheap fix, however, this is one of the best bets on the market.
Just imagine what would happen if the forces of Heaven and Hell had a fight in a pub car park. Picture it: the Archangel Gabriel tearing his shirt off and clumsily wrestling a fiery-eyed demon to the ground. St Paul glassing Judas Escariot. Our Lord Jesus Christ slamming Satan's head repeatedly against a lamppost. It'd be chaos - but hugely entertaining chaos.
Now extrapolate this scenario all the way up to the level of a full-scale military conflict. Lose the car park. Increase the number of combatants a hundredfold. And transport it all into space. That's right: a futuristic war between Heaven and Hell. There'd be some insane shit going on there, right? Yeah? Congratulations, you've just imagined the background storyline for this here game, this Requiem: Wrath Of The Fallen.
Two Tribes Go To War
In the game, you take control of Malachi, an angel, one of the CGood Guys'. This may sound boring, but wait up: just because you're an angel, it doesn't mean you're going to spend all your time hovering around in the sky, blowing trumpets, healing the sick and the lame, and generally being divine. No, this is a computer game, remember - so instead you're an angel who kicks ass. According to the makers, Requiem's angels aren't the beautiful cherubic angels found in today's media, but secret agents from beyond seeking to carry out divine justice. Just like any other 3D shooter, Requiem is chock-full of good old-fashioned violence, largely perpetrated by you. Enemies (the forces of Hell, no less) fall like flies around you.
Religion is always a touchy subject, especially in the States, so aren't developers Cyclone playing with fire here? Do they anticipate an outcry? Only from the ignorant few, according to Phil Co, level designer: It wouldn't be surprising to learn of strong opposition to the game from those who don't understand it. The story is straight out of Milton's Paradise Lost, except Milton claimed he was only a channel for God to talk through. We do not claim this. Now there's a relief.
Now That's Magic
It's not all bang, bang, bang, reload, bang in Requiem. Being an angel, you're all magic, and can turn cool biblical tricks such as making your opponents' blood boil (which also makes them explode, pleasantly enough). Inspiration for these violent conjurings came direct from the world's favourite source of violent imagery - the Bible itself. Phil Co explains: The story of Sodom and Gomorrah comes to mind. The angels in that story turned those cities to piles of salt. They sent fire and brimstone against those who mistreated others. Almost all the angelic powers in Requiem come straight from the Bible. My personal favourite would probably be the Csalt' spell: anguished screams, ice cracking, the sound of flesh drying...
Additional spells are gained as you pass from level to level - and they're not just pretty light shows either. Some are altogether more cunning than a straightforward firework blast - there's a mind control spell, for instance.
And then there's the engine itself, which, unusually for a game of this genre, encourages character interaction: you can talk to the people you meet, be they friend or foe, thereby discovering vital clues. Phil Co: We wanted to blend the action with the interaction in a careful way so that the player won't become bored, and at the same time provide variations of completing different tasks. Characters will reveal parts of the story, add ambience to the levels, present the player with necessary pieces of the game, and provide goodies such as weapons. I.et joy be unconfined.
I'm Both Hard And Soft - Eat Me
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the game is the high-quality character animation effects, which are achieved using a Ctop secret' patented system. Now, as anyone who follows the world of computer games will know, developers simply can't develop a programming tool without bestowing a stupid acronym upon it. We've seen 'em all, from GURPS to SCUMM, and now here's yet another dumb name: this one's called EAT. It stands for Emotive Animation Technology. Kerry Moffitt, Requiem's producer, explains EAT: It's a hybrid rigid body/soft body animation engine. At its core is a rigid body system, so our animation data is nice and tight, and we can run smooth transitions and high frame rates.
Skeletal polygons, then. But what about this Csoft body' stuff? Is it rude or something? Your imagination could go into overdrive. Luckily, Kerry steps in swiftly with an expanation: The soft body-style polygons come into play for covering up joints and otherwise smoothing over some of the areas' of models that are left rough or exposed by the rigid-body stiffness.
In other words, the characters are constructed from a Cskeleton' covered with Cskin', as opposed to a solid lump of polygons, as is the norm. To the uninitiated, this might sound like a minor detail, but it isn't; it lends a superb air of realism to the look of each character, and leads to markedly more lifelike animation: soft bodies, fluid motion.
Intrigued, we asked executive producer Evan Margolin whether this technology could be used to create hard-core pornographic in-game sequences. Well, in vague answer to your question, cheats abound in games of this type... and saying more than that could get me into trouble, he muttered. Wahay!
Yin And Yang
Requiem is due to shimmy its way onto the nation's shelves in the autumn, and on the evidence we've seen thus far, it'll probably do quite well. In fact, according to Margolin, they're already planning a sequel. If nothing else, the general public always loves a healthy dose of Good-against-Evil hoo-hah, but is usually provided with weak, watered-down versions: Peak Practice, BUGS, and Nick Berry's Heartbeat are all Good-against-Evil struggles, they're all popular, and they're all pants. Perhaps by focusing on the ultimate in Good (Heaven) and the ultimate in Bad (Hell), and then pitching one against the other, the makers of Requiem will be able to move us in a way British television hasn't in years.
What am I going on about? Just keep watching this space for more news about the game, okay?
Angels aren't always gentle, a fact you'll learn in 3DO's upcoming Requiem: Avenging Angel. You play as Malachi, an angel of the Chosen, whose mission is to wipe out the angels of the Fallen. This first-person blastfest moves from Earth to outer space and descends, eventually, to the depths of Chaos, as you do extreme battle with the minions of Hell.
Developing a host of angelic powers along the way, you'll mix up weapons such as locust plagues and boiling-blood spells; alternately blinding your enemies with holy light; using the ultimate weapon, Banishment; or frying demons with lightning strikes. You'll gather clues by interacting with other characters, and, because they're not all hostile, you'll have to decide carefully when you should be.
- Hudson Soft for Super NES
Great backgrounds, easy and accurate controls, and plenty of fast and furious gameplay should guarantee a place in any gamer's library for this intense Ninja action game. The only bad parts are the repetitive levels. Oh well, give it a shot.
When God created the Earth and mankind he made a fatal mistake. He failed to realize that man is a corrupt and greedy breed and should never be left unattended.
Over the years some of the Lord’s dissatisfied Angels have watched mankind from a distance and have split themselves into separate factions in Heaven. While some of them would look to the wisdom of the Lord for guidance, others would do what they believe to be the right thing. Without the Lord’s consent, certain Angels have taken it upon themselves to bring about the end of human life. In the process of executing this goal they have become dark, sadistic, and power-mad. They have become known as "the Fallen."
Midway through the 21st century Humankind stands poised on the brink of intergalactic exploration and travel. An interstellar ship, the Leviathan, is almost complete. After its launch, humanity will be able to explore the stars and the heavens. The Fallen cannot let this happen. They will stop at nothing to rid the world of man.
As Malachi, one of the Lord’s chosen, it is your job to make sure that the Fallen do not succeed in the destruction of the world. If you fail, it will mean Armageddon.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Requiem is your classic first-person shooter. The action can be fast and furious at times and then lull you into a false sense of security the next second. Just when you think you have killed everyone in a building people will start to come out of the woodwork. I am not sure where some of these people came from sometimes, but I sure know they would send a heck of a lot of them. I found that one of the Fallen, Lilith, was extremely difficult to beat. I must have pounded her for at least ten minutes, only to have her turn her little doglike creatures on me. After that, she let loose a couple of Zaebos also (Zaebos are creatures with very large claws for hands). I think that it was a little bit of overkill with her. The other big enemies were fairly easy to knock off after you figured out what special power to use.
Oh, I forgot to mention your powers. When you came down from Heaven you lost some of the powers that Angels have. Over time you will gain them back. Some of the powers that you will have are Flight, Warp time, Brimstone, Bloodboil, and there are few others that you can use. I really didn’t have to use them very often because you have a wide range of weaponry at your disposal as well. You have everything from your typical little handgun all the way up to the "Revelations" railgun.
I was lucky enough to find a couple of people on the Internet who wanted to play the game the other night. While the single-player aspect of Requiem was finely tuned, the multiplayer portion could still use a little bit of spit and polish. With only three of us playing, the lag was pretty bad and the maps were not that challenging. I believe 3DO is working on a patch to solve some of the multiplayer issues and it should be out soon.
The graphics for Requiem are just plain awe-inspiring. I could not believe how beautiful they were. I had to play a few levels two or three times just so I could stop and check out my surroundings. The buildings were drawn as realistically as I‘ve ever seen, and the enemies were very lifelike. I really like it when I can go up to a friend or foe and be able to see his teeth or eyes. Now that is detail. I think every game that comes out in the future should be able to do that.
I only found a couple of glitches in the game as far as graphics go. There is an annoying little problem with the shadows. They seem to hover over the person or do something I like to call the "Peter Pan Syndrome," where they have a mind of their own and detach themselves from their respective hosts. Aside from that, and the fact that when you are running up the stairs it feels like you are about six inches tall, the graphics were great.
While I found the audio for the game quite nice, my wife was irritated with some of the "death" sounds. Sometimes when you shot someone they would lay on the ground and make this awful screaming noise. It reminded her of a cat in heat.
It was nice to see people’s mouths move when they talked, but maybe next time 3DO could figure out how to get the mouths to go with the words. It was like watching an old Japanese movie.
The music really put you in the mood for the game. It was really creepy and intense.
Windows 95 or higher Pentium 166 (P200 recommended), 32 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, 116 MB hard drive space, 2 MB SVGA video card (3Dfx or any Direct3D compatible recommended), keyboard and mouse
Requiem has the best documentation I have seen in a game in a long time. It gives you a little bit of storyline and a great book on the different weapons and powers you will use. It gives a background for your enemies and, of course, it gives you tips as to how to set up and run the game.
Within the first five minutes of playing this game I knew I was in for some long nights and unproductive days at work. Requiem has to be one of the better first-person shooters that I have played. The graphics "wowed" me and the storyline was simply engrossing. I actually wanted to finish the game so I could see the ending (not many games make me feel that way). The only reasons that I can give for not giving it a better score were the glitches with the graphics and poor multiplayer play. I was not impressed with the ending and I think the game was far too short. I was left sitting in my chair in disbelief that it had ended. Maybe if I pray tonight the Fallen will send some more minions down to try again ... or maybe I'd better pray for world peace instead. We’ll see how I feel when I go to bed.