|Have you ever had a pogo stick? For Easter one year,
my parents gave me one, and I was pretty excited. I thought it was the best thing ever. I
took it out to the driveway, hopped five times, and found out why I never saw anyone using
one. Thunder Brigade is a lot like that old pogo stick; though it looks like it
might be fun, it lacks a certain something to hold a players interest.
Brigade is the story of the struggle of the United Systems against the Halon Empire and
the Earth Alliance. Through the 3D view of a Battlezone-like hovertank, you play mission
after mission, defeating first the evil Halons, then the not-much-less evil Earth
Thunder Brigade does have
some nice points, mostly its simple controls and smooth graphics. The simple controls
definitely add to the action-oriented feel of the game. A player can jump right in, learn
two or three simple movement commands, and start playing. Thunder Brigade also uses a
system of "voxel" graphics, which generate 3D-looking graphics without requiring
a 3D graphics card. The one big advantage to voxel graphics is that objects get more
detailed as you move closer. This differs from most 3D accelerated games, in which
graphics tend to become blockier at close range. But voxel graphics still cant
compete with acceleration; going from Battlezones graphics to Thunder Brigades
is like going from Guiness to ODouls.
The biggest problem with Thunder Brigade is that it doesnt have anything special
to hold a players interest. The levels are slow, and much of your time is spent
driving from waypoint to waypoint. And the simple controls, for all their efficiency,
leave little room for interesting weapons or extras. Perhaps the worst thing about the
game is that its incredibly one-dimensional. The player is dropped in a mission, and
expected to either destroy everything in sight or destroy just a single specified object.
The multiplayer mode is certainly no better, as it revolves around simple shoot-em-up
mission objectives that are fun, but not for very long.
Thunder Brigade is a game I
would recommend to someone interested in decent graphics, simple controls, and shallow
gameplay. Like, say, chipmunks. For the rest of you, who have become used to games with
varied weapons, interesting missions, and a variety of objectives--in other words, which
involve more than moving and shooting--I say steer clear.