|Developer:||Parallax Arts Studio|
|Genre:||First Person Shooter|
|Release Date:||May 5, 2006 (UK)|
|Reviewer:||James Barlow (Malis)|
|Buy now at Amazon.co.uk|
Liquidator: Welcome to Hell is not a good game. There I’ve saved you all a good bit of time haven’t I? But…I sense there are some curious ones out there, some who yearn to understand just what this game is. What is it about? Just why is it so bad? Very well then. Read on, and be drawn into a world of nightmares and pain, a world where breasts defy all natural laws of gravity.
Loading up everything seems normal. The menu screens look normal, even slightly slick. The overblown hellish imagery is slightly cheesy but gives this reviewer nostalgic memories of Doom in days gone past. And then the game starts. Or should I say the intro movie starts. Now it’s rare that I’d go into detail on something typically so minor as an intro FMV, but trust me - this one is worth it. Liquidator treats us to what I can only call the worst intro sequence in my personal history of gaming. The movie depicts a nightclub - complete with the most jiggling animated breasts I’ve ever seen - which gets attacked by demons. We’re then treated to a shambolic sequence of attacks over the city, all in FMV that wouldn’t look out of place on a PS1 game. And then the voiceover. Perhaps the worst French accent I’ve ever heard (older readers I ask you to imagine the French policeman from ‘Allo ‘Allo!; drunk and with his tongue ripped out) accompanies a speech to a group of marines that I can only assume is meant to be rousing, and give a story to the game.
Once the movie is over, you’re thrust into the level select screen, where you can choose one of the three levels on offer, or the training mission. Yes, you heard me right three levels. While the levels are reasonably big, any serious gamer will breeze through this game quickly. It feels like Parallax forgot the simple rules of first person shooters while making this game. While I can appreciate that a story is not needed for this sort of game, if you’re just going to give us a mindless old school shooter, give us tons of levels, swarming with enemies. Not just three. Wandering the levels it’s hard to imagine what the designers were thinking. I stumbled across entire sub corridors with no enemies, no ammo, nothing except one health pack. Tedious running backwards and forwards looking for runes (keys) to open new sections of the levels doesn’t help matters. In fact I managed to walk around some parts of the levels without encountering any enemy of threat for at least three minutes.
Speaking of enemies, the cast assembled here could be beaten by Half Life’s Barney - let alone a seasoned FPS veteran. Have Parallax never heard of circle strafe? Because that’s all it will take to beat this motley crew. All that is, except the bog standard skeleton. As if realising that the game might be too easy, Parallax in their wisdom have given this common enemy a lightning style attack that if the enemy can see you, hits you. Hmmm ok. Even with this impressive foe the game is depressingly easy, enemies shamble towards you and queue up to die. It almost feels inhumane to put them down.
This is perhaps compounded by the fact that in a spark of madness we are given every single weapon at the start of the game. For crying out loud, why? These sort of games feed off the frantic search for bigger more powerful weapons: if I want god mode and all guns unlocked I’ll type in ‘impulse9’ in console or something. Think of your standard FPS gun, and it’s in this game: from pistol, to flamethrower right up to sniper rifle. But there seems to be little damage scaling in weaponry. A well placed pistol headshot can take out most early enemies, whilst the abundance of weaponry at your disposal means you’ll never panic if the pistols stops being effective. The sniper rifle seems to be included more for the sake of it than any real need for one - I never found a use for it in my play through. Another annoyance is that there is little to no visible feedback on the enemies to let you know you’re hitting them. No blood or bone splinters - in fact sometimes you only know you’re doing damage when they crumple up and die.
Graphically the game isn’t too bad. It’s certainly not cutting edge but there are the odd nice special effects when underwater or in the hazy heat-world of Hell. The trouble is, in this day and age the bar for graphics is so high that simply ‘not bad’ isn’t good enough for a full-priced game. Truthfully though, the levels are so abstract in design: twisting corridors, sudden open courtyards and the like, that there’s no chance to appreciate the engine anyway. Running around this game’s aimless levels searching for semi-decent enemies to kill, the last thing on anyone’s mind will be the graphics engine.
This is without a doubt a poor game, and it’s a real shame as there is the odd flash of a good idea buried in there. The creature designs can be quite interesting and indeed ingenious (for example one demon when killed goes into a shadow form which races across the ground only to reassemble behind the player). The swamp area also reminded me slightly of old-school Doom and Quake maps. It’s just a shame the enemies offer no challenge. Couple this with bad level design, only three environments, crazy game-play mechanics and abysmal music and there is no reason anyone should be buying this. Consider this; Doom 3, Half Life 2, FarCry and Serious Sam 2 are all available for around £20 each or less. This is a full-priced game.
- Graphics are fair
- Occasional clever creature design
- Better than Wolfenstein 3D Shareware
Not so good stuff
- Far too easy
- Horrible music
- Poor level design
- Flawed game-play mechanics
- Not better than Doom Shareware
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