PlayStation Gamer REVIEW

COLONY WARS

Publisher:
Developer:
Type:
Psygnosis
In-house
3D Action
Reviewed by:
Version tested:
Date posted:
Blaine E. Pynkala
NTSC - US
11/17/97

Colony Wars - screenshot Number of players: 1 player
Rating: K-A

Psygnosis' Colony Wars is not a game for weak-kneed, tofu eating pacifist. It's a game for players who burned their brains out playing X-Wing and Tie Fighter. Colony Wars is the next step in the evolution of space combat. It's a game of epic proportions that redefines action on a universal scale.

The story: Earth has become the evil empire. The earthly scum is spreading it's virulent rule of death and destruction across the universe. You reside in a colony smack dab in the middle of a road scheduled for violent reconstruction. Your only choice is resist on the side of the League Of Free Worlds. So get in your fighter and prepare to kill or be killed defending freedom.

There is not an option for "Difficulty". Instead, the missions range from "Easy" to what seems like downright "Impossible". Lose a difficult mission and the game's path takes a different direction. If you, for example, fail to take out that enemy platform it may come back to haunt you later. There's a total of more than 70 non-linear missions with up to 6 possible game endings.

Colony Wars - screenshot If you have a Game Shark there are codes for "Infinite Shields" and "No Weapon Heat" which make you just about invulnerable. Mission success is not guaranteed even if you use these cheats. You still need pilot skills, a sound strategy and good reflexes to be successful.

You fly 6 different ships including interceptors, scouts, bombers, stealth fighters, heavy support and assault crafts. You can't select which ship you want to fly. That decision is made for you by your superiors. Which is OK because they seem to know what they're doing.

There are 13 different weapons in your arsenal such as laser and EMP guns, plasma cannons, missiles, torpedoes, grapple guns etc. Here again, you have no choice in selecting which weapons you want for a mission. Higher-ups (again) make that decision for you.

You'll be assigned a variety of well thought out missions such as protect, attack, escort and capture. The battles span 5 unique and different solar systems. So you won't be looking at the same-old same-old throughout the game.

Colony Wars - screenshot The adrenaline pumping dogfights are especially thrilling. There are 3 views: cockpit, internal and external. The HUD (Heads-Up Display) contains vital information on shields and weapon heat. There's also a 360 degree radar screen and a targeting bracket. Overall the Situational Awareness is very good.

The Option Screen has several very interesting choices which allows you to explore the game in depth. These include: Mission Log, Pilots Statistics, Craft Database, and a System Database. The System Database, for example, has information on each star system complete with General Data, Historical Data, Military Data and information on planets.

It is difficult controlling your fighter with the standard digital controller. Sony's Dual Analog Pad offers better support but it seems a little sensitive to the precise maneuvering required in a dogfight. Where the control shines is with Sony's Dual Analog Joystick or the "big sticks". This game cries out for a flightstick and the "big sticks" deliver realistic precision and smooth handling. If you use the # 4 configuration, the right stick is for steering and the left stick is for throttle. Practice a few times in the 6 Training Missions and you will be well on your way to becoming a Top Gun. The analog joystick control in Colony Wars should serve as a model for all game programmers because - this is how it's done!

The graphics, especially during combat, are drop-dead gorgeous. The frame rate (remarkably) does not slow down even when there's a dozen fighters on the screen. Large incredibly detailed objects such as cruisers, mining stations, or space platforms hold their shape and don't break apart when you're up close. Stars, planets and moons are optical delights. Ships on fire, explosions, and lasers bolts streaming through the void of space are spectacles to behold.

Colony Wars - screenshot The opening Full Motion Video (FMV) is worth the price of admission. Additional FMVs are played between the various acts in the game. If you're on a losing path the appropriate FMV plays.

If the graphics are eye candy, then the sound/soundtrack is ear candy. The Dolby Surround Sound fills the room with exciting music, incredible special effects and excellent voice acting. It doesn't get much better than this.

Colony Wars has great gameplay and is fantastic fun. There's a lot, and I do mean a lot, of replay value. When you've finished the game, you can replay the FMVs or more importantly, you can restart play at any point along the path you played. This allows you take a winning or losing path and head in another direction. And eventually a different ending to the game. Splendid!

Negatives: Only chronic nitpickers could find fault with this game. If a single negative has to be listed it is- the game is addictive. Once you start playing you'll forget about eating, sleeping, bathing, going to work or even putting the dog out. So watch where you step.

The Bottom Line: Colony Wars is everything a game should be. Addictive, explosive action, wonderful entertainment, and outstanding fun. Truly a CLASSIC game. Definitely a MUST BUY!

Reviewed by Blaine E. Pynkala, Voltran@aol.com


                    Street Price:  $44.99
                        Password:  Yes
                     Memory Card:  1 Block
                        Supports:  Analog Controller Compatible
                                   Analog Joystick Compatible
                        Graphics:  9.7
                           Sound:  9.7
                  Learning Curve:  Easy
                      Difficulty:  Moderate to hard
                         Control:  10
                          Manual:  Good
                    Replay Value:  High

FINAL SCORE: 9.7


Here's the Gameshark codes for the game:

No Weaon Heat (Continuous Fire)      Infinite Shields
80119C4C 0000                        800463B4 00C8
80119C80 0000
80119CB4 0000
80119CE8 0000
80119D1C 0000

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