Welcome to the techno-future, a world comprised of towering, dense cities, where huge biomechanical robots--called Slaves--are built by the military as secret weapons. That's right, biomechanical--meaning part of these 65-foot behemoths is human. In this case, that human would be you, absorbed into the Slave, controlling its moves on a mission to take out the city dictator.
From a third-person perspective, players can destroy absolutely everything--including the cities themselves, which seem almost alive with trains, blimps, cars, and other urban dwellers acting independently. You'll need a Pentium 200 and a 3D card to run Slave Zero, but it looks like it'll be worth it.
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It is 500 years in the future and life is bad. Some pretty evil dudes run the world and they are ruining the cities and countryside by disposing of their toxic waste with no regards for the safety of anyone. A group known as the Guardians has stormed the city in an attempt to bring down the people responsible for the pollution. They have set up operations deep in the heart of the sewer tunnels but are quickly discovered by the giant Slaves -- huge mechanical robots. The Guardians managed to steal one of the Slave units and have trained one of their own to pilot the slave, known as Slave Zero. It is up to you to control Slave Zero in an attempt to save the city.
If you have ever wondered what it would be like to control a 20-story tall Mech, Slave Zero will give you a good idea. You will battle your way through sewers, across buildings, and throughout the city. There is plenty of firepower and action going on at all time. You have 13 missions to try to complete, all of which require different tasks. While this game had the potential of being great, it fell short in a few key areas that keep it from achieving that status.
This game is tough to classify. I guess the best way to describe it is that it is an adventure/shooter that takes place in a giant Mech. You are armed with a number of different weapons and there is plenty of action going at all times. The game can be played from both the first and third person perspective and I personally preferred playing from the first person perspective because the Dreamcast does not have a first-person shooter yet so I thought I would see if this fit the bill.
Let's start out with what I liked about the game and then move into where it may have come up short. I guess the best thing about the game is the Mech itself. I think this is a really cool idea. I know that it is not completely original but it was neat to play as a Mech in a contained environment like a city. All of the other Mech games I have played are very open and one-dimensional. This game uses all of the different directions. You will spend a good deal of time jumping up and moving along the top of buildings. I actually would forget that I was in a huge Mech sometimes.
Another thing that they did a good job with was the scale of objects. If you really stop for a minute and look around, you will see that you are peeking in the window of a building 20 stories up. You are fighting your way through a city so there are tiny little cars driving by and little people running in the streets. If you are not careful, you can step on the cars and squish the people (they leave cool little blood spots). The point is, you are huge and the developers did a great job of making you feel huge.
They also did a good job with the weapons in the game. You will start off with a machine gun type weapon but it is not long before you find some rockets and will be blasting them. A few levels in, you will find a gun that shoots a burst of energy. All of the weapons can be upgraded and pack quite a punch. A few more weapons would have been nice but I actually felt that these were realistic weapons for a Mech to be equipped with so it helped add to the realism that you were actually in a huge Mech.
Unfortunately, there are a few things that will keep this game from ever achieving true greatness. The first, and most important, is that the gameplay is too repetitive. I just kept feeling like I was doing the same thing over and over. Sure, they would throw some new environments and enemies at me but I never felt like I found something totally new and different. The game just had that 'more of the same' feeling and after about five levels, it was difficult to motivate myself to continue forward because I knew nothing would change. It did get a little better later on but I was tired of seeing the green flowing rivers and the city. Give me more variety.
Another problem with the game is that it is slow. I will talk about this more in the Graphics section but if there are multiple enemies on the screen at one time, the game grinds to a halt. I think that because of this the overall game itself feels slow. I felt like I was crawling along through the game at a snail's pace, which made it tough to keep my attention focused on it. I understand that I was in a huge Mech and that it does not move a great speeds but it really needed to be faster than it was.
My final complaint with the game is that it just seems that the little details were missed. I found myself getting stuck on corners all the time. My Mech would just get caught on the edge of a polygon and it was difficult to break free. There were other times that I was able to walk through objects that should have been solid. I don't know what happened with that but I just walked right through a structure. It simply seems like the little details were missed. Oh, and by the way, I hope you are familiar with the Dreamcast controller because you will be using every button, trigger, stick, and pad. It gets confusing during heavy action.
The graphics in this game are a mixed bag. On one hand, they did a great job of creating the feeling of size. I felt huge and other things around me felt small. On the other hand, the frame rate issues were just unacceptable -- the multiplayer game is almost unplayable because of this. During the single player missions it does not happen as badly but when it does, it is the worst because that means you have multiple enemies taking shots at you. Other than that, the game has a dark feeling to it but this was done to create the atmosphere so they were successful with this. The other Slaves looked pretty good and the explosions looked decent as long as they were not in slow motion.
I was looking forward to this game and would have to say that I was ultimately disappointed. While it is not a terrible game, it could have been so much better than it was. If you are looking for a good multiplayer game, I suggest you keep waiting. This could have been a cool game to play multiplayer if you played from the first person perspective too. You will probably tire of the single player missions after about mission four or five so I suggest a rental at best.
Based on Accolade's upcoming PC title. Slave Zero is a giant mech action game extravaganza. You start in the sewers and progress through the city, eventually making your way to the tops of skyscrapers. You'll be able to pick up passing cars and throw them at enemy mechs, climb onto overpasses or stomp on tiny pedestrians in this game. Slave Zero is set for a late September release.
Get for, some' big-ass mech-bashing in Slave Zero. Based on the .idea that size does matter, Slave Zero engulfs the placer in'the funjristic wortdiof'SIt?, a huge metropolis where ,60-foot-tall biomechs run wild, scaling buildings and leaping across freeways. Running at 640 x 480 :(the maximum resolution for a television screen), the game already looks impressive and plays smoothly. There will be weapons by the truckload, and the particle effects on the explosions vyere unbelievable. Slave Zero adds up to a promising battle this fall.