Pages: 1 2 3
Review by: Jordan Thomas
Published: November 20, 1997
I stood alone in the room, staring at the box in my hands. Emblazoned on the cover was a thoroughly ugly and vicious looking creature which seemed ready to explode forth, Alien-style, and devour me. I knew the game was advertised as a bold new action thriller, and I was looking forward to the chance to meet this demonic figurehead face-to-face. What I was to encounter, however, was far more daunting than the beast’s monstrous grin.
Defiance. To choose a single-word title for a game implies strength and quality, and the word itself has heavy connotations of power. Much to my horror, I found the game’s proud declaration to be a tragic misnomer. To some degree, it’s the equivalent of bestowing the phrase “He Who Rules The Galaxy” on a decrepit local taxidermist who has just reached the first stages of senility.
I wanted to give this game a fair chance, but every time I picked up the hoop for it, and shouted “You can do it!” in clear, encouraging tones, it either fell flat on its face or kicked me in the shins. Sigh. There are a million Quake clones forming an army in cavernous bases below our fair communities. When they are ready, they will stream from their dank underground lairs and bang on our doors with suspiciously familiar weapons, shouting, “Buy us! Spend your food money on us!”
This we cannot allow. Defiance is a poorly implemented hybrid between Quake and Descent, and has somehow managed to spotlight the weaknesses of both games while altogether ignoring their higher points. What is up with that? I’m sorry, but if you’re going to steal from Quake, pilfer the flawless system of game control, or the exciting combat dynamic. Do not copy the weak plot or drab color palette! Direct3D was not meant to be under-used.
Defiance puts you in control of an experimental hover-combat vehicle, code-named SABER. The cutscene begins, and the primitively rendered animation sequence bluntly explains that you are about to test this new weapon on a live-ammo obstacle course. The passable voice-over issues you your orders, and you are dropped unceremoniously into actual gameplay. It is there, dear readers, that the nightmare begins. And not from terrifying monsters or creepy environments, chilling your bones or thrilling your darkest desires to blow things into little chunkies. Oh no, nothing so entertaining. The fear you face now is that you will destroy your own computer in frustration at this title’s all-encompassing lack of quality.
After fighting a furious battle with the keyboard configuration just to find a setup which I found comfortably similar to my typical 3D-shooter interface, it dawned on me that this game has terrible control. Because the wall textures, enemies, and items appear so similar to Quake, I made the naive mistake of assuming that the game would also mimic Quake‘s fantastic fluidity of movement. (Allow me a moment to cry…) No! Defiance forces the player to conform to the SABER’s highly limited range of motion, and couples this debilitation with terrible gravity control. This provides the rather unpleasant sensation of sliding helplessly on three inches of Vaseline!
Pages: 1 2 3