Theatre of Pain
|a game by||Mirage Technologies (Multimedia) Ltd.|
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Sounds like an old Vincent Price movie, but alas it's not. Theatre Of Pain is a fighting game which, according to the press release "cannot be seen to have that much competition on the PC". Hmm. Still, here's what you get for your money - a fairly sluggish beat 'em up which seems to have been heavily influenced by Capcom's X-Men arcade game. Make no mistake, some of the visuals are fantastic - the fighters (2D sprites, rendered from incredibly well-designed 3D models) in particular look really cool, like grungy 2000ADanti-heroes springing into life. Sadly, this doesn't translate into high-quality gameplay - it's all fairly standard, despite the inclusion of an apparently innovative 'anti-stabbing system' (something which should be issued as standard to all London school teachers, not squandered in trivial computer games). The days of the 2D beat 'em up have been numbered for some time now. and it's simply impossible to get excited about a product like this, pretty combatants and all. Mirage have had plenty of practice at producing easy-on-the-eye, dull-on-the-wits combat titles (such as the notorious cack-carnival that was Rise Of The Robots), and you'd have thought by now they'd have got the message and given the PC gaming public what they really, really want -a fast-paced. 3D fist-frenzy to rival Tekken 2 on the PlayStation. The best we have to date is the now ancient FX Fighter and more recently Virtual Fighter which is pretty mediocre unless you have a 3D accelerator card stuffed inside your Pentium. Judging by the models used to create the sprites. Mirage have the benefit of some top-notch 3D designers on the payroll - so how about applying their undeniable talents to something a little more up to date? We're waiting. Impatiently.