Take No Prisoners
|a game by||Red Entertainment|
|Editor Rating:||6/10, based on 2 reviews|
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Put down that copy of Soldier of Fortune--Red Orb has something better. Get ready to prove your worth as a maniacal sharpshooter with Take No Prisoners. Designed by Raven Software, the developers of Heretic and Hexen, TNP is an overhead shooter where mass carnage is your primary objective. As Slade, a mercenary surviving on the fringes of a post-nuclear world, you'll battle hordes of freakish mutants and refugees through-out 20 nonlinear 3D territories, using an arsenal of 21 weapons, 24 combat items, and 5 vehicles to aid you in your killing spree.
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Your name is Slade. You are a loner. While other folks gathered together with their own kind after the war and formed gangs of roving punks and hit squads, you chose to hide out in what was left of San Antonio. You vaguely remember the San Antonio of your youth -- before the big nukes rained down. The city itself was left in a state of utter chaos after the bombs hit, and every day has been a struggle to stay alive. Then one evening a group of well-armed ruffians show up and offer you a deal that you can't refuse. They want you to meet their boss, and being that they outnumber you and are armed to the teeth, you decide to take them up on their offer. Big lapse of judgment on your part! Anyway, they fly you in to meet their boss -- he's the typical suit and tie type, but the mission he briefs you on isn't so typical -- enter the glowing dome in the center of town. The deal looks interesting to say the least, and besides, like you said before, you really can't refuse.
Take No Prisoners is a top-down 3D action game with ample amounts of weaponry, specialty items, gizmos, maneuverable vehicles, and enough action to choke a Marine. It also features a lot of blood and guts flying up and scattering -- not the kind of game to play while the kids are around. But what makes Take No Prisoners so special is the perspective. Instead of the typical first-person view of most action games, or the third-person view of games like Tomb Raider, Take No Prisoners lets you view the action from the top down, with several levels of zooming. This provides an interesting twist to action gaming. The only time that Slade is fully visible is when his corpse is sprawled out in a death pose. Even though the action is top-down, it is, nonetheless, a 3D engine, with objects such as chairs and vehicles exquisitely rendered and textured.
Slade's mission in this wonderful 3D world is simple: he must make his way to the dome, along the way collecting data files about people, places and things, and figure out what the dome is all about—Slade has a hunch that the disappearance of other loner-types like himself has a lot to do with the glowing dome.
The gameplay in Take No Prisoners reminds me a lot of -- at least in terms of the character and computer controlled entities in the game. It gives you the feeling that you are utilizing both hands during combat. One hand holds a shotgun or melee weapon, while the other holds a secondary weapon or usable device. The second item is "used" by pressing the ENTER key. So, if you are using the keyboard, you can simultaneously press the CTRL and ENTER key. Imagine firing a shotgun and throwing a Molotov cocktail at the same time. Take No Prisoners makes it possible.
But Take No Prisoners, unlike games like Ultima 7, allows jumping, crawling, climbing up and down, aiming up and down, swimming, and zooming in. The player has a lot of options to consider during combat. For instance, if there is a guard tower above you with a ladder, you can aim up and shoot, or climb up to the level where the enemy is shooting and attack him there.
To add to the atmosphere, there are a number of vehicles that the player can drive in Take No Prisoners; some even have their own weapons system. The sewer skimmer, for instance, is great in areas where monsters swim, because it is a water-based vehicle. Why is this significant? Because any enemy in the water can be run over. So the sewer skimmer becomes a motorized killing machine. There are other vehicles, of course -- the utility cart and the Whiner. I wish that there had been more vehicles, such as jeeps or trucks utilized in Take No Prisoners; there was certainly room for more.
The environment doesn't just consist of chairs or walls that will explode, but includes computer terminals, med-kit stations, crates and ladders you can jump up on and climb, walls you can crawl through, and grates you can crawl under. A lot of detail went into Take No Prisoners that needs to be noted. For instance, there are signs and street lights that obscure your view, spots of blood, and gun turrets that you can take control of and use to attack the enemy by hitting the space bar. In the post office there are safety deposit boxes and wanted posters. While this may not seem significant, aesthetics are very important to a game of this type, as it makes the gameplay seem more realistic.
It is very important that Slade manipulates his environment to succeed. Sure, there is a bit of find the key in Take No Prisoners, but there are also other factors that are important. Finding data files, disks, and accessing remote terminals is very important to moving forward in the game. Data files sometimes give clues, or give info about creatures and weapons. Sometimes terminals hold coordinates, and maps to a specific area. Leave no stone unturned, no terminal untouched and no window intact. Which brings me to another point. Take No Prisoners provides a lot of an environmental interaction such as breaking glass, destroyable items such as coke machines, plants, and glass. When an item is shot apart -- whether organic or not -- its matter is thrown upward and spreads out, falling to the floor below. A very nice touch!
Multi play is strong in Take No Prisoners as well, with support for IPX, Internet, commercial play on Mplayer, and Red Orb's own matching service, Red Orb Zone. Depending on the type of play you choose, up to 8 players can participate at once.
Take No Prisoners is a DirectX game. This means that it can utilize whatever extra hardware that DirectX recognizes under Windows 95. Take No Prisoners also provides solid support for 3Dfx-based and General 3D accelerator cards. Display modes can be changed, of course, and while a 3Dfx-based mode obviously won't go as fast as a 320x200 resolution, it sure does look nice! 3Dfx is heavily supported in Take No Prisoners, so if you have a card based on that particular chipset, you can expect some very sharp graphics -- even in the demo version. No matter what video modes you use, the detail on the little things makes Take No Prisoners a fun and handsome game.
The sound effects and music in Take No Prisoners is adequate, though a bit redundant. This observation applies mainly to the voices of enemies. On the other hand, the many wonderful observations spoken by Slade himself are cool. The music is adequate as well. One thing I will say about the sound effects for weapons, explosions, etc. is that they sound very realistic. The sound does not do the gameplay and the game in general much justice. But that doesn't mean that the sound is a complete waste; it just means that it could have been done better.
Minimum: Windows 95, Pentium 90, 16 MB RAM, 640x480 256 color SVGA display, 4X CD-ROM drive, SoundBlaster 16 or compatible sound card, 35 MB hard drive space (requires that CD be in drive while playing)
Premium: Pentium 133, 24 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, 256 color SVGA display or 3Dfx-based video card (or any 3D accelerator card), 16 bit sound card, 200 MB hard drive space (CD need not be in drive)
If you are at a point where you have a limited amount of money and can't decide which of the many 3D action games to buy, here's a simple solution -- go buy this game. I recommend this game if you have a 3Dfx video accelerator and more than 16 MB of RAM, as this game is beautiful, a lot of fun, and packs a lot of gameplay options, weapons, and diversity to make it worthy of high praise. Take No Prisoners offers a new way of looking at shooters -- its top-down view on things is a refreshing departure from the myriad of "wannabe" 3D games that are about to flood the market. My only problem with this title is minimal -- a lack of documentation from the technical standpoint -- though at this point in time, it is too soon to decide whether or not this should detract from the game. Hopefully Red Orb will release the specs to this game, so that the spirit that is so widespread among Quake fans can find support in the Take No Prisoners community.