Review: Red Faction
Version Reviewed: 1.0
10 years ago was Doom - from the middle of nowhere, a small company started selling a game through the then derided shareware mechanism.
Put simply, it scared the crap out of everyone. Players loved the gameplay, the deathmatch, the atmosphere; and other software companies were working out how the dammed thing worked and how they made so much money from shareware?
Now, no computer platform is complete without a 'first person shooter' game, that pushes the graphics to the limt, and attempts to fully imerse the player in the computer world. And Red Faction is the first attempt on the N-Gage. And it has a huge advantage...
Yes the man behind Red Faction is John Romero, the god of Doom - so the mechanics of the game are up to speed. But the infinite number of Monkeys behind the level design of Red Faction leave a lot to be desired. Hamlet this isn't
In fact if there were 5 primates working on these levels inside Monkeystone, I'd be surprised. The controls and handling are on a similar level to Doom, and while the console based games have moved onto bgger and better things (Half Life, Quake, heck Doom 3 if we want to be picky), Red Faction is purely in the same league as the original Doom, rather than it's more advanced 'Full 3-D' cousins. Which for the modern games players isa bit of a let down. With what feels like a ten year old engine, the level design would be crucial.
The levels are very boring and flat. As seems to be typical in modern gameplay you have no choice in where to go. All the levels are linear, there's no feeling of exploration, rather the fact that you're following a pre-programmed route. Couple this with an incredibly tight limit on your ammunition, and once you loose your armour, you can pretty much take on board two, maybe three hits from the enemies littering the levels and watching for you as if they knew where you'd be coming from.
And the look of the levels is plain as well. It took until level 3 to find a wall that wasn't the 'rock' texture. And while that may be sensible as you are in a mine, it shows zero imagination from the designers. It's a struggle to reach that third level, and many a time I was wondering why I was bothering? For all the proclamations, the levels seem to be on a single level, with a token ramp thrown in to try and give the illusion - and they rapidly turn into a series of rooms connected by single corridors.
The levels themselves are more a test of memory. Which weapon do I use round the next corner? Which enemy is round here? How much is that health pack worth? Harking back to the first person shooters that work, I've never had such a cerebral mix that doesn't work, and feels like a graphical demo rather than a fully fledged game.
The only thing that drags Red Faction up from mediocrity is the bluetooth Multiplayer. But the Deathmatch arenas are pretty small - playably, they're okay for two players, cramped for three, and downright busy for the (technically) impressive four player deathmatch. The weapons are just too powerful, so it's a case of run around until you see someone, and whoever lines up the gun first, wins.
So Red Faction compared to modern day shooters is below average. On a mobile device though, it's very impressive, and is about the same level as Doom. Mind you, there's nothing to stop you going and downloading Doom, and when that gets some multiplayer support, then Red Faction will have a run for it's money on the Geek owned N-Gages. Until then, Red Faction is the king of the shooters (by virtue of being the only one out there on MMC Card).
It's just missing that vital spark to make it memorable. 65%
Reviewed by Ewan Spence at