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Games; Is this the man for Lara?

OUTCASTPC CD ROMSHE'S sexy, athletic, a friend of pop stars and such an icon that Lucozade have recruited her for a commercial.

In fact, Lara Croft has everything a real babe could want - except a man in her life.

Now she may have found her match in Cutter Slade, star of a game set to give the Tomb Raider gal a run for her money.

Appeal, the Brussels-based developer, created Cutter and his world and took two steps into the future with a unique blending of artificial intelligence, real-time adventure and graphic innovation.

Like Lara, Cutter Slade seems set for the movies - Jude Law and Ben Affleck are both interested in playing the hero who ends up on a world called Adelpha and, with the help of two scientists and a doctor, has to learn about this alien environment and save the Earth.

A simple plot, but the game design could easily have been done by horror movie director David Cronenberg. Think Videodrome meets eXistenZ and you'll get some idea of Outcast.

Add to that a truly massive playing area - the world Adelpha has six huge continents and over 70 subquests for players.

This is all guided by a sophisticated artificial intelligence which has every living organism's behaviour defined by strict rules. Depending what you do as Cutter Slade, their behaviour alters.

The look, feel and sound of this game is impressive, partly because the developer's were Belgian and the publisher, Infogrames, is French.

It was their decision to feature an original music score, conducted and performed by the Moscow Symphonic Orchestra - all 81 instruments and 214 vocalists of it.




AS the wonderful world of multiplayer online gaming becomes ever-more common in the homes and on the PCs of every player in the world, there will be more games like Wild Metal Country.

If you choose to play it by yourself, it will be fun ... but the game is designed to really strut when you load it into a network.

The gameplay takes on a whole different dimension and instantly become hugely playable.

If you've tried Quake online, or run up a phone bill the size of a small country's annual budget playing Doom, you'll recognise the appeal of Wild Metal Country.

Played solo, what you have is a game that is loosely based on an old Atari effort from way back in the 80s.

You drive a cross between a tank and a dune buggy round a number of desolate landscapes picking up energy pods.

Pick up and store enough of these pods in the special bunkers dotted around the playing area and you move on to the next level.

Trying to make a dent in your day - and your dune buggy tank - are a whole host of enemy vehicles, turrets, tanks and helicopters that are hell- bent on making sure that you don't get your hands on the pods.

Simple stuff, fast, furious and fun, if a little limited.

But set the disc to multi-play mode and the game jumps out of the PC and grabs you.

With the ability to have up to eight other vehicles in the playing area all trying to get their hands on the pods and also trying to stop you, what you've got is classic multiplayer mayhem.

In the final analysis, no artificial intelligence so far can replicate what eight individual human players can dream up to try and annoy the 3D out of each other.

Great stuff. The graphics are crisp and clear, the animation perfectly pitched as to not get in the way of the action and the sounds are all suitably thumping.

If you've got lots of mates, or can afford to play this game online for hours, then it's a great buy.

If you're short on either of those prerequisites then the appeal of Wild Metal Country might be limited.



Sony PlayStation

IT is so cool to see a great old classic brought bang up to date and released for the PlayStation.

All credit to the techs at Sony because they haven't just ported across an old version of R-Type, added a few graphic bells and whistles and called the disc a new version. Oh no. They've actually gone back to the drawing board.

The result is R-Type Delta, a completely new and revamped version of the classic all-action blaster

The 2D gameplay remains from the original as well as the original R-Type craft, the R9.

But, among the changes are two new spaceships - the R13 and the RX, both of which have unique and surprising weapons systems.

The other big change is with the graphics. It still might be a horizontal scroller but the numbers, size and complexity of the sprites all push the PlayStation limits. Too far, in fact - there are moments when it all slows down. That apart, it's a wee stonker.




THERE are as many football games in the world as there are clubs, so it is a brave venture to launch another one.

French publisher Infogrames no doubt thought they were being very clever with this, a footie game that tries to do for football what NBA Jam did for basketball - take it to the streets.

The idea - four-a-side, a small court and fast action - isn't bad. There are lots of goals and the game is more to do with instinct than strategy. It's hip. Happenin'.

Unfortunately, once it's happened, it's happened. Oh, there are different courts, in different locations and they have a slight effect on the ball's movement.

But once you've played one four-a-side game, you've exhausted the challenge of this. It doesn't help that some of the full- blown football games, such as Road To The World Cup, throw in a four-a-side option as an extra, for when you get bored with everything else.

Two years ago this might have been worth the money, but now it is well out of time.


LEDA Media Products are launching a new joypad in the Gamester range called Evolution which features 'G-Force Tilt' technology. The motion-sensitive tilt enables players to control the gaming action simply by moving their hands or control unit . The Evolution, which is set for release this summer, consists of two parts: the Evolution reactor fits over the player's hand and a GripStick, a small unit that features all the necessary buttons and fits in the player's hand.

It will, we are told, work with the N64 and Segas as well.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 21, 1999
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