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Forsaken 64

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Reviewed by Raymond Almeda One of the most noticeable and important differences between the two versions is that story of Forsaken 64 is much more extensive. The basic events, such as the Earth being destroyed and put up for loot, are the same, but a strong, direct enemy has been added. In this version, a global defense network called the Mechanoid Defense Force (or MDF) is directly responsible for the Earth's destruction. Your goal is not only to get rich, but to also rip up the MDF in the process. That may not sound like something that would greatly improve gameplay, but it gives you a reason for demolishing the hordes of enemies you encounter. It also lets the developers work with true mission-oriented gameplay: instead of simply flying around a level searching for the exit, you may have to destroy a specific enemy, collect certain items, or wipe out all opponents. The anti-grav pioncycles you use to complete these missions have also had an overhaul. Like their PSX counterparts, the N64 cycles can still move and pivot in all directions. However, the cycles on the N64 are able to move much faster than those on the PSX, especially when going forward. These pioncycles live up to their names (well, sort of, if you think of "pion" as sounding like something fast as opposed to something wet)-- instead of plodding through tunnels like garbage scows, they zip along corridors with the power and agility you'd expect from flying fighter bikes. Forsaken 64 has a nice feeling of speed and momentum to it. Even the slower cycles have just the right touch of maneuverability. Unfortunately, in one the game's most obvious flaws, there's nothing to tell you which cycle and driver is better in which attributes. You have to puzzle out the speed, handling, and armor of each driver from the way they look, which is a risk that can get you wasted quickly in multiplayer mode. Speaking of which, Forsaken 64 allows deathmatch capabilities for up to four different players. The speed and agility of the bikes keeps these fights from being straightforward strafe-and-shoot slugmatches and encourages you to zoom around the tunnels in search of your opponent's flank. Forsaken 64's levels contain plenty of sniper spots and quick escape routes to keep things interesting, although it can be a chore to find your opponent on some of the larger levels. There are a few weapons, such as a missile that shakes loose powerups and a black-hole style bomb, that are made specifically for multiplay. One-player mode is a much less frustrating experience in Forsaken 64. While this version still lacks badly needed automap and radar features, the enemies you face are less likely to teleport in behind you and chew your tail off without warning. In fact, there are places in Forsaken 64 when you can sneak up on an opponent and get the first strike if you're stealthy enough. However, although the MDF story does help, most of the enemies still lack the kind of personality and pizzazz gamers have gotten used to. Also, the 'bot's metallic bodies have a tendency to blend into the backgrounds and the shadows, making them difficult to spot until they're right next to you. However, it's possible that I was simply too distracted by the beauty of the backgrounds in Forsaken 64 to notice the laser beams cutting across my hull. As opposed the eternally cramped quarters with bad textures on the PSX, the environments in this version can be expansive and breathtaking. Forsaken 64 is quick to flaunt its advanced capabilities-- every level has at least one translucent glass corridor or wall. The colors are rich and deep, especially those associated with lighting. I can say, without reservation, that Forsaken 64 contains the most brilliant and varied lighting effects that I've seen on the N64. Weapon fire illuminates walls and corridors according to the color of its shots. Squeeze of a few pulsar rounds and they'll flash bright green on everything around them, while heavy missiles light tunnels with a steady, dull red glow. You can find powerups by following their blue strobes and avoid floating mines by keeping an eye out for their deadly shade of yellow. Unfortunately, you'll often have to rely entirely on the visuals to tell you what's going on. The sound effects in Forsaken 64 tend to be muted under its decent techno-style soundtrack, no matter how you adjust the volume. Using the Rumble Pak greatly enhances gameplay, if for no other reason than to let you know when you're being hit. Despite these sound problems and the sad omission of an automap and radar, Forsaken 64 combines excellent graphics with a precise sensation of speed to produce a solid title for the N64. If you're not claustrophobic, go ahead and rent this game and give it a try. If you don't like it, you can at least say you played it and, if that's your bent, brag about how good it is the next time you need a solid point in a certain argument.

Overall 8.7 out of 10

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