Driving? Shooting? Slamming? Alternative soundtrack by God Lives Underwater? MTV label? What more could any gamer wish for? Is this game a blessing from above (or from Underwater)? Can I ask any more questions?
That's right, Viacom New Media and MTV have joined forces (actually, they are owned by the same company, but that's not important) and brought Slamscape to the party. The story goes a little something like this: Players, along with a group of other captives, get caught up in this little experiment. The experiment hooks everyone up to a Slamscape Remulator. All of the prior attempts to debug the virtual simulator have resulted in imprisonment of the 16 volunteers' Ids. Now here is where you come into play. Hackers have found a way to shoot you into Slamscape's 20 regions to rescue the guinea pigs.
You are crammed into a hovercraft, the Slamjet. Your mission is to fly this hovercraft through five mindscapes, beat each of the bosses, and free all your companions' trapped Ids. All you have to do is fly around, blow up a few enemies and you're done. Right!
Slamscape definitely lives up to Viacom's claim of being fast and ultra-intense. This game is on the move from the get-go. The Slamjet is a hyperactive, I-ate-too-much-candy type of ride. The best advice I can give you about driving is to use your brakes. Normally in racing games, brakes are just added for novelty. In this game they are a necessity. Next, you have a ton of weapons to choose from. Each weapon has its own best time and place to use it. The problem is, people only have two hands. Slamscape is just too fast-actioned to worry about switching and firing specific weapons. In this type of game, the more straightforward the controls, the better.
Once you get the feel of your ride, you have four very distinct levels to conquer. The first is called Carnivalhalla. It takes place in a demented carnival. The Ids are strategically located on, or in, some twisted ride. The Rotospoke and Scary-Go-Round are both quite impressive. The second world is called Uraniumania. This is an outer-space world highlighted by The Mighty Atom. Keep an eye out for the Brainfish Bowls. The third level is called the Repsychler. This level was added for our environmentally-conscious gamers. Who else would be concerned with Beyond Toasterdome, a dome guarded by old toaster coils? Finally, we have The Endless Bummer. This level house the best-named creature in the game -- Crabzilla (maybe I am a bit biased). Mixed in throughout the game are little surprises like Frightmare Clowns and the cute Shreddy bears.
The graphics in Slamscape are pretty impressive. The game moves by at a healthy 60 frames per second. Full 360-degree visibility and 3D graphics enhance the looks and play of Slamscape. The enemies are well done and the various traps that house the Ids are quite clever. Some creativity went into this one.
This is where Slamscape really shines. First, the soundtrack done by God Lives Underwater is perfect for this game. It is techno and fast-paced. Keeping up with the gameplay is a difficult task, but they did it. MTV picked a band with the right sound for this type of game.
Slamscape also uses the audio to help you. Each enemy has a theme song. As the enemy approaches, the song gets louder. This is very helpful when maneuvering at 8 zillion miles an hour. Audio rarely enhances gameplay, and when it does, it deserves to be acknowledged.
What production with the MTV label on it would be complete without videos? That's right, you also get three videos from God Lives Underwater. Even if you are not a fan of the band, the videos are worth checking out just to see how far FMV has come.
Slamscape was a frustratingly difficult game. I am all for challenges, but when it takes one hour to get the first Id in the first level, that is a little extreme. The complex controllers leave me wishing that humans evolved with a third arm. This game would have been excellent if it was more straightforward. The concept, graphics and audio are top notch, but we all know that it comes down to gameplay. I really wanted to like this game more. The brain only has so much room available. If I were to memorize all the controls to Slamscape, I would probably end up drooling all over myself or forget how to walk. All in all, if you're up for a tough challenge, give it a try. If you want a game you can hop into, turn the key and start kickin' ass, this may not be for you. With this in mind, Slamscape gets an 83.