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Country:

USA

Release Date:

29 February 1996 (USA) See more »

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Crack dot Com See more »
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Highly entertaining and addictive, exciting and intense
23 June 2006 | by TBJCSKCNRRQTreviewsSee all my reviews

I recently found this game and realized that I hadn't played it in years... despite thoroughly enjoying playing it back then. I immediately installed, and have been playing it ever since, until now, as I type this, within minutes of having played through the game for the second time. The story, while certainly neither complex nor deep(but how many games before the turn of the century can honestly be claimed to possess one?) is well-written, if short and to the point. It has you controlling Nick Vrenna(who is only mentioned by name in the opening crawl), a wrongfully imprisoned man who's being held in a high-security penitentiary in a dystopic society of the future(which, by now, according to the game, is a mere three years away...). At said pen, grotesque and inhuman genetic experiments are being conducted on the prisoners. One such experiment has transformed its subjects into vile, aggressive creatures(rather eerily reminiscent of the Xenomorphs of the Alien movies...), and this substance is what the game is named after... Abuse(and yes, I realize that I could have made a rather alarming amount of puns in the one line summary... "I don't have to take this from you!" or "It's not just for drug addicts anymore!" just to name a few. However, I respect the game far too much to joke about it in the title of my review of it). The mutations are highly contagious, and the main character is the only one to show immunity to it. In the midst of a riot, chaos breaks out, the cell doors are all opened and the virus spreads out to everyone... leaving you the only human being left in the building. The threat of the mutated beings notwithstanding(I guess due to the fact that they are contained within the thick walls), the game has but the following objective; for you to fight your way through the levels of the prison and reach the control room, where you must prevent the contaminated water of the institution from reaching the water supply of the rest of the world, and infect the Earth's population. You put on some battle armor(which, in addition to looking wickedly cool and obviously offering some protection from outside dangers apparently also enables you to suffer no damage from falling whatsoever...) and this is where the game starts. The graphics, for a game that's no less than ten years old and fairly simple, are very nice and the dark, cyberpunk-ish mood of the game(as I've attempted to describe through telling the story) is strongly supported by them. Like many games of this period, it's a platform game, though the camera is dynamic and the screen moves along as you move(as seen in the Commander Keen games, as well), instead of being a large, stationary display, showcasing an entire level, like is the case with many, if not most of such games of this period. The weapons are very military- and sci-fi-based, ranging from a laser rifle that you start the game with to, for example, a napalm-launcher. Highly futuristic. The game has no actual blood... anything you destroy basically falls apart, in body parts in the case of living(or should I say, dead) beings and explosions and metallic dust in the case of robotic ones. That comes with the setting(location-wise as well as time-period-wise) and the (story, not game) genre... robots. Lots of 'em. The interesting thing here is that they're somewhat neutral... whilst you are technically still considered a threat by them, so are your transformed foes. More often than not, you can therefore utilize the strong defense network in the pen to help dispatch of the mutated beings. Fixed turrets, all armed with one specific of the weapons you(and the former humans you're fighting, who've also only got one gun each, though you can collect them all) pick up along the way(oddly enough, though, all are collected simply by picking up some ammo for it...), who more often than not fire uncontrollably on a fixed area, which gives you opportunity to easily dispose of your infected enemies by simply luring them into the range of these automated guns. The security is also upheld by various flying robots, some firing plasma(one of the few weapons in the game that you, yourself, sadly, cannot equip), and one walking/standing mech-like robot. There are also dangers in the form of booby-traps, mines and some form of what appears to be an automated cleaning machine that pose threats of varying size. The level design, while at times somewhat repetitive and linear, is great. Dark, dreary and seemingly endless tunnels, security areas and the likes... there are even some areas that appear to be rain-forest, which I guess is due to the Abuse-creatures. With elevators, automatic(but not always easily opened) doors and teleporters, the futuristic charm of the entire product is ensured. Though I will say that the creators went quite a bit overboard with the easily demolished walls(introduced early as 'weak walls', but later found disguised as regular ones) in the later levels. The game-play is incredibly entertaining, with running, jumping and gunning down enemies, living and robotic alike. The frequent saving(there are 'stations' where you can save and they are found often on most levels, and you can often return to them several times) removes most possibility for frustration from the game, though some is still left, due to the monstrous difficulty found in a few portions of the game. The difficulty, apart from that, is well-rounded. With four different settings, nearly everyone should be able to play it, and most will enjoy the challenge that even the easiest of them offers. Adding spice to the game-play are the three power-ups... speed, flying and health. Each giving a notable boost in their respective field and room for only one at a time makes things much more interesting(and that says a lot!). I recommend this to anyone into science fiction and action. A decade old... and still going strong. Rather impressive, really. 8/10


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