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Review by: Bob Mandel
Published: July 13, 2004
Croteam’s excellent Serious Sam series reintroduced all of us to the joys of brainless blasting in a first-person shooter on the personal computer. Rather than complicating matters with story, puzzles, or strategic decision-making, this refreshing franchise got us all back to the basics of what makes the genre so much fun. Well, developer Delphieye Entertainment has decided to further this lighthearted approach by releasing through ValuSoft a new first-person shooter called Nitro Family. Can a Korean developer imitating a Croatian game create a release that is fun to play?
The story is rather bizarre: An evil corporation, “Golden Bell,” kidnaps the child Red Chief of the Nitro family. This company manufactures a product called “Healthy Family,” which not only converts users into addicts, but also turns them into mutants and forces them to do its bloody bidding. So the Nitro family dad naturally grabs his shotgun, his wife jumps on his back with her bullwhip, and off they go determined to get their son Red Chief back. Rather than attempt some form of hostage negotiation, their approach to retrieve their offspring is basically to shoot everyone and everything in sight.
The selection of locales in Nitro Family is just as offbeat as the plot itself. It turns out the family has to travel all over the world to try to get Red Chief back. You specifically travel to South America, Southeast Asia, China, Russia (Bloodviostok), and the United States (Hoover Dam and Las Vegas). As you progress through 15 levels clustered into five stages, you find yourself in crowded urban environments, a temple, a desert, a fancy hotel, and even an aircraft carrier. I cannot figure out why the particular included environments were chosen, but they certainly end up being extremely diverse.
Nitro Family has a weapons’ arsenal that is smaller (in terms of totally distinct weapons) than in many other first-person shooters, but the release has some special features in this regard. The usual shotgun, grenade launcher, missile launcher, and sniper rifle are available, and you may upgrade combo weapons. Unlike virtually all other titles in this genre, you may tote around two different guns at the same time, one in each hand; this “dual-hand weapon system” allows you to calculate what mix is best for each situation. There is even a special “Euphoria” mode, temporarily triggered when you have enough kills under your belt, when everything slows down around you and so you can shoot foes with abandon and dodge bullets more easily.
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