With all the success of games like Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem, etc. it's natural for companies to try to up the ante, compete, and get their chunk of the action. I have no problem with a well-thought-out, genuine effort to make a product that commands my hard-earned dollar. What I hate is one of those "nice looking on the outside" sort of efforts that gets me interested in buying a game, only to let me down, way down, when it comes to overall quality.
XS from GT Interactive is, in my estimation, another Doom clone (not even that good) with a couple of twists -- in other words, a half-hearted attempt to score some bucks from those die-hard gamers who get sucked into the glitz on the cover. I mean, if you gotta have every first-person shooter out there then you may as well collect this gem also, but if you are looking for an awesome first-person experience, stick with Duke.
XS is set sometime in the future, and your goal is to defeat all the bad guys by fighting arena-style through levels until you win. It's not like Quake or Doom where you can find secrets and get keys to get to the next level. It's like fighting a series of grudge matches in Mechwarrior; you are up against 3 other opponents and whoever is standing last wins. You then continue to the next arena and repeat the process, and on and on it goes. I found this approach rather dry, but it is by far the least of my complaints.
If you have played Doom and Duke and the others, then try the controls on XS; you will feel my pain. You must use the mouse and keyboard to run and turn and fire. Some games do this rather well; not XS. When using the arrow keys, up is forward, down is backwards, right is side step right, and left is side step left. In order to make a right hand turn, you must press the up arrow, then move the mouse to the right ... AAAAARRRGGHH!!! I was disoriented half the time, and even when I got used to the configuration it was still uncomfortable. I wish people would rip off other peoples' proven control schemes; ain't nothing wrong copying something that works.
One of the original ideas incorporated into XS is the different personalities of the enemies. Some will run at you guns a-blazing, while others wait for you to come to them or hide and stalk you. This idea works fairly well, but sooner or later you'll figure out the computer's tactics and these added traits don't mean much. Plus you can play with friends head-to-head or over a network, and there's nothing like hunting down your friends. Overall, the gameplay of XS does not even match up to the original Doom. Sad, but true.
I'm a graphics guy; I love great graphics. Games with bad graphics suck 9 times out of 10 for me, especially in a 3D shooter. The graphics in XS are a step below the original Doom. Let me back up. The intro movies and the interface in between the action are fabulous. This is where XS really shines; unfortunately, this is the only place XS really shines. Again I am reminded of that nice tasty-looking outside with no meat where it counts, a real tragedy. The game arenas are also very dark, with no gamma control. I got frustrated looking for enemies and feeling my way around. What a nightmare.
Just average shooting sounds, etc. The audio was nothing special—besides, I was busy trying to find … well, anything.
Windows: The game was a little jerky on my P-100 but it ran acceptably.
Recommended: GT recommends a P-133, and I don't know what for.
Just another jewel case insert, very inadequate. Not a real downer for most games, but for this one it's yet another nail in the coffin. There is a rather nice interactive archive where you can view enemies between missions, sort of like X-Wing.
Is one necessary? Don't be fooled by the fluff; XS gets a 30 out of 100 for a nicely-done intro.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP