Before I start this review, I must warn you that I may use the words "hooters" and "ass" quite frequently throughout the entire review. I apologize if this comes across as sexist or chauvinistic. I just want everyone to remember that most of the heroes in video games are big-biceped and barrel-chested males. I think it is only fair that when a game stars a female heroine, and the developers choose to dressed her very scantily, it should be O.K. to make reference to her hooters and ass (see, I started already). Others, like my girlfriend, find it completely demented to even notice the anatomy of a video game character. I guess I need therapy.
It is the year 2069 (I need therapy?) and the good old earth is under attack. Who is attacking the earth, you ask? Why, it's those nasty aliens again. The aliens are now dropping meteorites from above and upon impact, the meteorites release metallic tendrils that transform organic material, including plants, insects and animals, into deadly mutants. People are transformed into deadly mutants that will stop at nothing to kill everything.
Scattered throughout the vast worlds are survivors that have managed to hide from the attacks and mutants. These people are mostly unarmed and just hiding until someone comes to rescue them. The armed forces have also managed to send out special forces units to various areas throughout the country but they are out manned and outgunned.
Luckily, one of the pods malfunctioned on its way to the earth and some scientists managed to find the pod and try to study it for weaknesses. During the examinations, the pod comes alive and infects the head scientist's daughter. She has become hybrid, half human and half alien. The pod has not affected her brain, so there is only one option to save the earth. Send her in to the infected cities and stop the aliens.
Steel Harbinger places you right behind the G-string of Miranda, the half human, half alien fighting beauty. The basic object of Steel Harbinger is to explore different cities looking for various items and killing as many enemies as possible. Apparently, the standard military issue garment for half human, half alien warriors is a very revealing top and a G-string. Good thing that you play from behind the character perspective so you don't miss a single cheek shot.
Your first mission puts you deep in the heart of Kansas City. Your basic job is to kill everything infected, save everything not infected and collect weapons and credits along the way. There is no warming up, because you are thrown directly into one of the hottest areas in the country. After securing the area, you will move on to missions that go from Las Vegas to San Francisco and down to Los Angeles, then over to Nebraska. After some pretty fierce fighting, you make your way to Houston, Cape Canaveral, Washington and finally, the Moon.
All of the worlds are vast and difficult. This game does not have a difficulty setting, so everyone has to battle at the same level. It should take you quite a while to work your way through all of the different cities, save all the humans and kill all the aliens. Scattered throughout the cities are video phones. These phones are used by the scientists to relay any helpful information and data to you. The phones are free to use, but most of the time the information is pretty basic or the phone is just out of order. The first phone you see in each city is helpful because it tells you of your mission which usually goes something like "kill all of the enemies and activate the Satellite Net Node."
To help you along the way, you will find Telepads. The Telepads will teleport you to any city that you have the appropriate teleport card for and enough money to pay the fee. This adds to the objective of your missions. Between killing aliens and staying alive, you need to mix in searching for teleport cards and money. These are located throughout the world in various locations. Also, when you use the teleports, the camera zooms in on Miranda and we are graced with a close-up of her. She is nice enough to turn around completely so we get a full front and rear shot (insert your own hooters and ass comments here).
Steel Harbinger also has a ton of hidden power-ups and new weaponry. There never seems to be a shortage of ammunition located around the cities. One of the coolest parts of the game (besides the ...well, you know) is the way you increase your health after being damaged. There is the traditional health power vials scattered around but if you are running low and can't find a heath vial, just chomp on the remains of the enemies after you shoot them. That's right. Just pick up a limb and start munching away. As if that is not good enough, there is a little graphic on the bottom of the screen to let you know which part you are actually eating not to mention the lip smacking, chewing sounds.
In many of the cities, you will encounter secured areas. These areas are secured by palm print readers. This means that the gate will only unlock for the correct palm print. No problem. Just find the arm that has the correct hand on the end of it, remove the body it is attached to and bring it over to the reader and unlock the door. Cool!
The graphics in Steel Harbinger are decent. I don't think you will find anything revolutionary, but you will find some pretty hard-core violence and some of the most revealing character shots around. The enemies are pretty original, ranging from the dogs with the lasers strapped to their muzzles to the giant centipede thing. The levels are all fairly dark and you will see some draw in, but it does not affect the gameplay. You have really good control over the camera angle during gameplay. I found it easiest to play with the camera zoomed out as far as possible so I could see around me. When the camera is zoomed up close, Miranda's, ummmm, special features are visible, but it is difficult to prepare for attacking enemies because they are on top of you before you can see them. There are some fairly cheesy FMV scenes and I don't understand why they scattered laser discs around that make you watch a FMV commercial for some futurist product.
For a fairly mindless shooter, Steel Harbinger is a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the vast cities and played for hours. The programmers definitely did not waste the Mature rating that the game received. The game has a good mix of blood and guts with some very unique and humorous features. I found myself apologizing to the innocent humans that I accidentally blew aways but had no hesitation in chomping on their arms or legs to replenish my health supply. Difficulty in the aiming of the gun and the almost impossibility in making accurate jumps was a bit annoying, but not overbearing. One last thing. I am not a psycho, and in real life I don't think chomping on arms would be cool. The G-String and hooters, on the other hand...