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Old October 9th, 2005, 07:35 AM   #1
martok2112
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Default Game Review..battlestar Galactica

I know I may have made some comments on this game before, but I thought, for the benefit of those who are curious about the game, I would do a more proper review than I had before. I hope this helps.


VIDEOGAME: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
DEVELOPER: WARTHOG
PUBLISHER: VIVENDI/UNIVERSAL
SYSTEMS: PS2, XBOX
GENRE: SPACE ARCADE COMBAT
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 1

Graphics: 4/5
Sound: 5/5
Control: 4/5
Story: 5/5
Endorphin Factor: 5/5
Frustration Factor: 2/5


Average: 4/5

GAMES IT COULD BE COMPARED TO: Colony Wars Series, Star Trek: Invasion, Star Wars Jedi Starfighter

DETAILS: There are those who believe in free will, and there are others who believe in destiny. That is the beginning of the opening narrative to this game which is, in every respect, worthy of the name it has been bestowed. The story (which as a result of some last minute mandates by Universal itself) is a mixture of the Classic Battlestar Galactica series from 1978, and the current ongoing series. Set 40 years before the events of the current series, players take the Viper seat in the person of Ensign William Adama, fresh out of the academy, and ready to prove his mettle to Commander Magus (the commander of the Galactica then). Also in Blue Wing is Lt. Cain. The game takes place during the Cylon war that is mentioned in the mini-series. However, the motif of the game as far as appearances, sounds, and overall effect is very much rooted in the classic series. (Although, like the new show, there are no centons, microns, yahrens, or daggits.)

This game flows smoothly with very lovingly crafted graphics, and framerates. Many of the ships in the game (as well as the robotic Cylons) seem to be based somewhat on the redesigns of Tom DeSanto's (prematurely axed) Galactica. The CGI cutscenes are sheer beauty, and a reminder of what could have been if the DeSanto project had been able to go forward. There truly are some big screen moments out of the CG renders, and the Big G has never looked better. The in-game engine is also very well done, and the capital ships are strikingly well detailed. (I enjoy taking my Viper in the first mission and just flying all around the Galactica.) To give you an example of the scale in this game, one can fly their Viper through trench-like structures in the Galactica's engine housing. I mean, the capital ships are fracking GINORMOUS. (Ok..perhaps using a size-related adjective that starts with GINO might not be such a good idea...but it fits.) They are huge! You truly feel like a tiny spec in the universe when you fly near and around these mamoth polygonal vessels of war. The Cylon basestars, just as big. My biggest beef is probably the redesign of the original Raider, which in the game looks more like a flat, flying banana. The Vipers themselves (there are four models) are really nice. You start with the Mark I, which is the basic Viper with smaller missile armaments, and original series laser sound FX. The Viper Mark II is an upgrade with a little bit more of everything. Then there's the Mark III, more powerful all around, but loses the original series sound FX in favor of something unrecognziable. The Strike Viper is the creme de la creme of the Vipers. Faster, more heavilly armed, and has the largest missile delivery of any of the previous Vipers, including fire and forget missiles. You also get to pilot a Cylon Raider (in the most boring mission in the game), and a Cobra-class Colonial bomber. Also, one gets to man the mighty guns of the Galactica in a couple of capital ship combat missions. In flying the ships, you have four points of view: Long range chase, close chase, cockpit, and first person view.

Sound-wise, this game captures Classic Battlestar Galactica almost perfectly. From the orchesynthesized arrangement of Stu Phillips' magnificent score, to the familiar laser sound FX of Vipers and Raiders, and turbo effects. The stereo effect is beautifully rendered. And the voice acting is top notch, and features a variety of talent. Robin Aitkin Downes (Babylon 5) is Ensign Adama. The delicious Kristanna Loken (the Terminatrix from T3) is Iphegenia, Adama's friend, and daughter of the Galactica's Commander. Dwight Schultz (A-Team, Star Trek: The Next Generation) is impressive as the voice of Lord Erebus, the Cylon Imperious Leader. The game also features the voices of original series cast members Richard (Apollo) Hatch, and Dirk (Starbuck) Benedict. Dirk starts out the game in the opening movie sequence as Capt. Lukas of Red Squadron, and Richard Hatch plays wingman Rylo. They perform these brief roles exsquisitely. (When you unlock the code to have Apollo and Starbuck as wingmen though, their voice acting kinda suffers. In their efforts to convey some sense of enthusiasm for revisiting these roles, they sound as if though they are reading straight from the script, and going through the motions.)

Control is a breeze. The setup may sound complicated, but becomes quite intuitive after just a few minutes of play. After a few minutes, it also becomes quite clear that missiles are the key to success, and high ratings throughout the game.

Which leads to the semi-RPG nature of the game in the form of enhancing your Viper performance (nothing to do with Enzyte). As the game progresses, you can alter the attributes of your ships' missiles, which fall into four categories: SPEED, POWER, BLAST RADIUS, and AGILITY. Eventually, you will get to the point where your missile attributes are completely maxed out, and you will have the ultimate missiles to fire. When you get to using the Strike Viper near the end of the game, you will witness the true nature of firepower you can wield.

Energy management adds an interesting sense of urgency to the game. Hitting your turbos, holding down your lasers to rapid fire mode, or constantly releasing missiles is a drain on your energy, which does replenish over time. Your Viper is also constructed from a self-repairing armor that will replenish as long as your ship's energy is at 100 percent.

However, frustration can run very high in this game. Be prepared for some very, very trying moments as the game's difficulty curve goes through about as many mood swings as Courtney Love (on a good day). On mission eleven, if you hear Paulus say: "They're all over me, I can't shake 'em. Asssisance required.", prepare to lose the game anywhere from two to ten seconds later.

The higher you rate in a given mission, the more stuff you can unlock. (Goodies which come in the form of cheats, stills from TOS and TNS, original concept art from Ralph McQuarrie, models of the ships themselves that you can rotate to view, and of course, the cinematics themselves, and loads of other stuff I haven't even unlocked yet.) You can also go back and replay previous missions to try and improve your rating. Also, the quality of the unlockables depends on how well you rate in the different difficulty levels (to which there is only Normal and Expert.) Normal difficulty is very difficult in some areas.

The lack of a multiplayer combat/cooperative mode is noticable. Imagine the fun of getting together with one or more friends, and battling it out among the stars in Vipers vs. Raiders, or better yet, acting as a squadron to defend the Galactica.

BOTTOM LINE: Despite the game's ending (which may be a boon or bane to your emotional attachment to the name Battlestar Galactica), this game is indeed a must have whether you are a fan of either or both incarnations of the story, even if you are not a videogamer by nature. And it is now available, new, for 20 bucks or less. Also, it does not matter which version (PS2/XBOX) of this game you own...it is a worthy investment for Galactica fans. If you've ever even thought about climbing into the cockpit of a Colonial Viper, now is the time to entertain that fantasy.

Respectfully,
Martok2112
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Old November 5th, 2005, 08:58 PM   #2
Darrell Lawrence
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I now have an X-Box, but no BG game... *hint hint*
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Old November 6th, 2005, 03:29 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warrior
I now have an X-Box, but no BG game... *hint hint*
Here is hint then:

Find a GameStop, Funcoland, Babbages, Software Etc., EB Games, or hell, even a WalMart. I'd seen quite a few BG games at WalMart. Only costs 20 bucks now.
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