was a B-movie, no doubt about that. But it was an enjoyable B-movie.
So enjoyable the developers JoWood decided to make a rip-off of it
and turn it into a game. Of course, it doesnít say so in the
official description, but a while into the game, you can predict
exactly what is going on and what movie with biceps the size of a
melon they decided to base this on.
That these developers also are what created the magnificent Gothic 2
is quite stunning, with two so very unsimilar games. Gothic 2 was
free, big, challenging and exciting. Chaser, on the other hand, is
extremely linear, not at all as big (bit quite long for a FPS, if
you count the number of levels), but almost more challenging.
Challenging in the way that putting the keys back in the keyboard
after a fit of rage including cursing the level-designers, their
mothers and their pets. Because this is the really big problem with
Chaser, but I will get back to that later.
The story is as follows: You wake up on a space ship with no memory
whatsoever and people are trying to kill you. Get out of there and
try to find out more about your past and why they are trying to kill
you. Thatís it. The first thing you notice is that the levels are
extremely linear, and most of the time, there is only one way to go.
There are a few exceptions, but it is like that through most of the
The second thing you notice is that this is as much of a leap
backwards as half-life was a leap forward.
Realism is non-existent, a physical engine is nowhere in sight and
you can carry as many weapons as you want.
I was in heaven the first few levels. No thinking, just blasting.
During these first episodes you sometimes experience flashbacks and
memory images that occur while you are playing the game. I liked
this, and would have wanted to see more of it, but my wishes went
And after a while, my expectations went down a bit. Was still an
amusing game, but nothing worth full-price (so Iím glad I didnít buy
it when it cost that much).
The graphics look a little old, in many cases, but the characters
still look good, despite being a bit tacky. The biggest graphical
problem is the in many cases boring textures of the environment,
which really could have made the game more full of life and
atmospheric. This in combination with sometimes very long and linear
levels make for some dull gaming where all you seem to do is running
through endless similar corridors, shooting at occasional enemies.
The sound is good, but not exceptional. The weapons sound just like
they should, and all the sounds of enemies gloating and shouting are
there (as it should be). The background sounds are good, and makes
the dull parts of the game a bit more exciting to play. A very good
example of this is the level in Siberia where you have to get into a
military base, running through the woods, hearing snow crunching
under your feet and wolves howling in the distant, blending into the
cold, biting wind. That is atmospheric for you. The sound is a bit
of a countermeasure against the dull parts of the game, making it a
bit more enjoyable.
And why did they have to choose a guy like he got a pea stuck up his
nostril or something? I couldnít believe it was him, the tough guy
John Chaser talking at first, but more figured some kid from middle
school had snuck into the bar where he was. Not the case.
There is unfortunately no in-game music. At least I didnít get any.
Too bad, since the music at the main menu seemed promising, very
much like the Syndicate Wars-music. A game I loved. (And itís
Controls are good, shooting tons of enemies is always fun, some very
atmospheric parts, lots of and fun weapons and based on a
science-fiction movie nobody in a sane state of mind can dislike.
What is the catch? The levels, enough said.
I liked them at first, I must admit. They were linear and as varying
as they could be in the early game. Then came the more unrealistic
levels, with totally illogical ways to handle problems, and after a
bit of that, the game leapt 13 years back in time. I think they
tried to make it more ďopenĒ, whereas it actually came out more as
Doom-style, which means you have to run around in very big levels
(because the levels are huge for this type of game) looking for a
switch, an access card, a toy doll, whatever trinket the developers
came up with. Not fun at all. And then thereís the extremely
frustrating underwater levels, where you drive a personal submarine.
It wouldnít have been so bad if it actually had decent controls, but
now it just feels as maneuverable as a pregnant whale.
All in all, it is actually a quite fun game now and then, with some
dull parts, which means that if you are a FPS-fan and can stand
running around looking for switches and the occasional keycard along
with some stupid level design, this would be your game.
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