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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

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Ups: Decent plot, excellent graphics, awesome 3D positional sound.
Downs: Long load times, high memory requirements.
System Reqs:
Pentium-166, 32 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM, SVGA w/ 2MB, 3D card recommended.

sin1.gif (7912 bytes)Sin is the latest First Person Shooter to hit the market, following hot on the heels of Trespasser, Shogo-MAD, and Klingon Honor Guard. To really stand out in a market like this, a FPS must deliver something that sets it apart from the competition. So does Sin have that something extra that makes it worth buying over other FPS shooters? Read on! 

In Sin, you take the role of Colonel John Blade, leader of HARDCORPS. You are on a mission to hunt down the source of the drug called "U4". As luck would have it, while investigating suspicious ties to the SinTek Corporation you stumble on the source of the "U4" drug. Upon further investigation, you find that Elexis Sinclaire, SinTek's brilliant biochemist, is using the drug to accelerate human evolution generations beyond its current rate. It's up to you to stop her and her minions.

One of the first things we noticed about Sin was its very long load times. Frankly, we've been spoiled by fast loading FPS like Quake 2 and Shogo, and were kind of impatient with the longer load times of Sin. We don't mean to complain too loudly, but we feel that the developers should've optimized their code to minimize load times, especially since they were using the very optimized Quake 2 engine. Another disappointment was the need for more than 64MB of RAM; you won't get smooth frame rates without it, even though Quake 2 ran very smoothly with 64 megs.

sin2.gif (14146 bytes)When we first loaded up the game, we weren't sure what to expect graphically. Since Sin uses the Quake 2 engine, we wondered if it would to be able to compete with the visual effects of Unreal. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the Quake 2 engine seems far more capable than we expected. The game looks fantastic, from the extremely well done character models for enemies and civilians to the look of the water in the fountains. The game also includes excellent transparency effects for glass and water that give the game that "real" feeling as you blast your way through each of the levels. The textures in the game are nothing short of spectacular, and we would go so far as to say that they're on par with Unreal's. Ritual also added a lot of other small graphical details that really improve the gameplay, like leaving bullet holes in the walls, dropping quarters in fountains that you can use in a pay phone, allowing you to get your pin number out of a computer and use it at an ATM, and leaving money in a cash drawer at the bank. These small details highlight Ritual's commitment to polish a game in a way other game companies often don't take the time to do.

Sin's level design was excellent to say the least. The levels fit nicely with the story and flow easily from one to the next without the annoying narrative gaps that other games seem to revel in. Though the levels aren't always as large as you might expect, that's because they're realistic. For example, the bank has both office and teller areas located in different wings of the bank, locked doors on most offices, and a safe that can be unlocked only after using a combination found in the main computer. The game has both inside and outside levels, and the outside levels look much better running under the Quake 2 engine than Quake 2 ever did.

sin3.gif (14580 bytes)The sounds in Sin are another area in which Ritual has done its homework. We both were impressed with the sounds and how well they fit into the gameplay. With the proliferation of 3D sound cards in the past few months, games like Sin are really starting to utilize their more advanced capabilities. From the very first level you notice sounds coming from all directions, from the fountains in the bank to the screams of your fellow officers pleading for your help, "Dammit I've been shot! Where the hell is Blade!" The weapon sounds are on par with other FPS, but Sin does add some extra effects to the Quake 2 engine, such as echoing effects in hallways and machine gun shells falling onto floors. Voice acting was a surprising plus as well; Blade's voice is deep as one would expect from a Duke Nukem-inspired hero, while his sidekick, a computer hacker, has a younger sounding voice.

Since Sin uses the Quake 2 engine, you'd expect it to have fully functional multiplayer, be it LAN or Internet. And indeed when the demo was released a month or so ago, the internet play had already been implemented, which was a big plus. So does the full version of SIN deliver? Well, let's just say it's like Quake 2. There really isn't much more to SIN deathmatch than there is to Quake 2's, other than more textures on objects, which only seems to slow down internet play. Don't get us wrong; it's cool that they included the multiplayer support, but if you want a good deathmatching experience, go play Quake 2--if only Ritual would have included a cooperative story mode, *SIGH*.

buyit.GIF (2236 bytes)--Jon Hall & Tom Monter