Review #1 by Steven Cole
I should start this off by saying that I think this game is good,
but I'd be lying. I think much more of this game than that... I can
safely say that this is my favorite game, even better than Final Fantasy
VII, barely. So if programming, strategy games, or mech design interests
you, read on...
While I think graphics are important, in this game, they are more
functional. There are no huge, mind-boggling explosions, and it doesn't
run at 60 fps. However, the graphics that are here; work. When you are
programming, it's simple icons are very effective. When in battle, you
can see the difference of each weapon being fired, and while it's not
revolutionary, it's not all bad either. For those of you wondering how
it compares to the U.S. Carnage Heart in this area, it's improved, and
many of the explosions look better, while also being less choppy.
While the music has been changed from CH, it's only a little step
up. It doesn't distract (which is a very good thing), but it also doesn't
impress. No soundtrack for this one.
I don't know how it could earn anything less. It's now mouse compatible, so that should make a few happy, but it's perfectly usable (if not preferable) with a normal controller. No split second decisions here though.
This is where the addiction comes in, that will have you up too late at night, trying to perfect one little program. The game is not like any other available for PSX (with the exception of Carnage Heart, obviously). Most of the game is played at the programming screen. You pick chips and place them so that the OKE (Over Kill Engine) will know what to do. It is very similar to flow-charting. There are many kinds of chips to choose from, and because you can set the conditions for each chip in a different way, there's more than enough. I still haven't been able to use the radio signal chip effectively, although I haven't tried very hard yet. When you finish your program, you can test it out against the computer OKE's, or your own, and tweak it. It may not sound fun, but it's very addicting, and I've spent enough nights in front of the TV that I can assure you it's true. When playing through the Scenario Mode, you battle against the computer, and it's OKE's, on different maps until you reach the end. There are about 25 stages (3 difficulty levels), but it doesn't end there. When you've beaten one of the Scenarios, you can move along to the VS. Mode. This is almost another game. You can battle your OKE's (1 on 1, or 3 on 3) against a friend's saved data, your own, or the OKE's on the game itself from the libraries (4 of them). It is my understanding that the library data comes from the Japanese Carnage Heart Mailing List, which includes past World Cup winners, and teams of OKE's which lost. This function is especially neat because if you don't have friends near that you can compete with, there's more than enough right on the game. Another option is one that grades your OKE. It runs your OKE through a series of battles, scores them, then gives it a grade of D, C, B, A, or S. I have yet to get an S, but I'm working on it. There is also a memory card editor here which lets you move data around.
I tried to explain the game for those of you who have not played the game before, so if you have any questions, just ask. Now, for those of you who have played the U.S. Carnage Heart, I'll attempt to shed some light some of the differences between the two. Programming is basically the same, but there are new functions (not chips). There is now an undo button, a help function, and some built in macros. The battles are a little different too. A little quicker it appears to me, and the graphics are better (new explosions). For Hardware, while there isn't anything new, some of the old stuff functions differently. The Assault Gun is much faster now, making it an effective weapon, and many of the other weapons are changed In similar ways. Death-sphere's are less effective. Tanks and Multi-leg OKE's don't budge when hit, while Flyers and Tanks no longer have to stop to shoot. There are many little things like this which make the game worth purchasing even if you own Carnage Heart already. I did, and I'm not sorry.
Overall, I'd give the game a 10 out of 10, and no regrets. This is a must-have game for anyone even vaguely intrigued by this review. If you want some more information on this game, visit the Artdink homepage.
If you own Carnage Heart or CH EZ, and are interested in participating in tournaments, go here. Also, don't forget to sign up on the mailing list.