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Reviewed: Outcast
Author: Chris Kim       Date: October 11th 1999
Page: 3

The artificial intelligence schemes in the game are very good and intelligent, as quite respectively, it should be. Hence the name, artificial intelligence. With excellent intelligence for the enemy opponents and also the NPC characters, the AI is quite respectable and intuitive. Easily, the most impressive feature of the AI is how the enemies will interact with each other and how they actually battle. Instead of being rather clumsy and acting like a computer, the AI schemes will make the enemies seem almost real, as if they were really human opponents. The enemy will hide behind crates, run circle strafes around the player, use man advantage, and several other methods of attack, which really impress.

The difficulty of the game is about right, and just on par. Although the game is very long, it does press on very hard even from the start. A bit too much information is given to the player, as to give an overload. The game is extremely heavy on puzzles and problem solving, with a balanced touch of action combat, not overly done.

Battle Struggles
Run Twan-Ha, Run
Ah! Sunny Desert

The control and interface of the game is rather unique and different from most 3D adventure games where the camera angle simply pans behind the player. Instead, in Outcast, the camera angle moves relatively to how the player moves, this makes from some very awesome control in making tight maneuvers, which were either not possible or extremely difficult to accomplish in the typical behind the view camera angles. The unique camera angle also allows the user to have more control and easier strafing maneuvers compared to most other 3D games.

Interface remains rather clean, although it could use a bit of polish. The interface doesn't include mouse control, and all the movement of cursors are done through a keypad. It isn't a problem, but it is a bit tedious when a mouse control is much easier, it feels a bit like a console game. Selecting options and equipment is all done through a menu driven interface.

Jumping Roof to Roof
Lazy Soldiers
Scanning the Land

Possibly one of the prettiest graphics seen on a game. The game is powered by the use of a Voxel, in lame mans terms, a 3D Pixel, in even more primitive language, a 3D dot. Thankfully, the graphics are simply gorgeous, without the use of a 3D accelerator. Unfortunately, that means that $250 RIVA TNT2 Ultra that was just recently purchased into the computer won't be able to aid in rendering the game. The game therefore is extremely processor intensive, and the frame rate relies heavily on the processor and RAM. No matter what anybody else says, the game runs, plays, and looks like a uttering pile of horse s*$t (hey, that word is common in the game) on slower computers. On anything slower than a PII350mhz and with less than 64mb of RAM, the game will not run nicely nor will it look any good.

The color is very full and lively compared to most other games. Everything in the game looks extremely realistic and lively with bright shimmering color. Character and enemy models are one of the most impressive looking features found in the game, graphically. Even without the most advanced graphics accelerator, there are many 3D accelerated features such as bump mapping built into the game, and dear lord is it put to good use. The characters look extremely realistic and have the most fluid animation moves ever seen in a game. The main reason Appeal chose to use Voxels over Polygons, was because Polygons are flat, therefore creating a very unrealistic outside terrain such as grass and dirt, unless Bump Mapping is put to heavy use, but most graphics accelerators do not support that features. So the choice was Voxels, and boy do the results show some impressive results! From the mountain rocks to the grassy land, everything looks like it was intended. "Bumpy" terrain, rocky rocks among others. Even the sunlight and lighting effects are done to perfection. Explosions and fire look like what they should, having a inner cone of flame, which was quite impressive. The movement and fall of objects is quite realistic and nicely done. Even though the game is limited to a 512x384 resolution, the graphics are astounding if the details are turned up to full. The only complaint about the game are when the camera pans really close into an object, the graphics tend to get quite pixelated.

Getting Pegged by Fire
Ah! Holy S&*t!
Target Practice

Possessing a breath taking soundtrack, Outcast really captures and motivates the emotion of the game with captivating and moving musical scores. The Moscow orchestra was used in the recording of the music, and the results do not suffer at all. From the battle cries to the happy tunes of the villages, the correct mood and moment is captured nearly everytime with the music.

The sound effects in the game are also quite impressive, with use of 3D Sound technology, the environment is captured extremely well. The world is filled with ambient sounds like water flowing, foot steps taken, and other non relivent sounds. The pulse pounding sounds of the weapons, all unique and impacts have a great affect on the overall feel of the game. What really stands out, however, is the voice acting of the characters. There are so many different speeches and dialogs, that there could probably be just a whole CD devoted to just speech! The acting of the voices are very unique and different in tone to each NPC and very convicing of the character (excpet for a few who look like males but are really females).

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Added:  Monday, October 11, 1999
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Score:
Page: 3/5

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