|Galerians possesses that unique trait which draws you in,
but, at the same time, pushes you away; theres no way to pin down whats
necessarily wrong with the game, only what you enjoy. For me, this game was, well,
theres one way to describe it: narcotically spooky. For one disc, spooky works,
shocking FMVs work, exploding heads work, fourteen-year-old boys shooting up drugs work,
but once you move past that into disc two, then disc three, you grow rather tired of the
whole thing. Nevertheless, Galerians drew me in enough to wander through their
haunting levels, then complain when I wasnt rewarded with anything more challenging
than semi-difficult bosses who seemed to not increase in difficulty from level to level
and a smattering of nasty bad guys running around the place.
The whole game plays like a Resident Evil (yes, the first one), where a lot of thought was invested into the sheer action-horror and control of the game, but lack of follow through with neato bosses, and neato ruffians running around the placethere wasnt enough of either of the two. I liked this game, but there was something about it which just offset me enough to not thoroughly enjoy it. Part of the horror, scene switches, and randomized music (eerie themes in rooms of no importance) seemed rather syncopated, as if everything were all out of whack. This syncopation attracted me to the game; I was constantly tripping out in my own head about whats going on in the game. Its true: this game really kind of freaked me out at times.
So, lets give you the whole story line but not enough to spoil it all for you. From the intro FMV you find out you play the role of Rion and that you (might) have a sister. Once the game begins you wake up alone in a laboratory. Yep, theres a bit of mystery at the start of the game. Whore your parents? Where the hell are you? Why do you feel so weird? To give you some answers, youre stuck in the Michelangelo Hospital (a la scene one) from which you must escape, and that weird feeling is your psychic ability (the weapon of the game). Oh, did I mention you have amnesia? No worries, your memory slowly comes back to you as you "scan" and inspect more and more items, which makes a nice segue into a unique mechanic of the game: youre psychic powers also allow you to inspect an object like a locked door or puzzle and see the whereabouts of the answer. Youre given the image of a room somewhere in the complex. At other times, by scanning you recall a memory of what happened in that location or with that object (e.g. your mom stuffed into a fridge).
In the control arena, Galerians excels with an intuitive and easy approach to its interface; there are only a few actions one can perform in the game, making the learning curve a little smoother than games where you must coordinate a multitude of buttons to perform a task which seems simple. Of course, this excludes my first run through the game where I decided to omit the instruction manual and couldnt figure out why my character kept dying after using so much of his psychic abilities. No, I didnt go and read the instructional manual to figure it out: I just kind of paid attention to the meter which went full and flashed to indicate I was at my max and the next round of psychic power (a single tap on the attack buttonfull charge, no charge, doesnt matter) will kill most people in the general vicinity around Rion. After awhile, this became more of an advantage than a disadvantageit all depends on timing. Usually, Id use quick punches of psychic power, not only to conserve my energy, but to also keep the opponents down, and once I was at the burst point Id go find a whole group of bad guys to take on.
Through the course of the game youre able to acquire different types of PPEC drugs which give you a variety of psychic powers. You start off with two (a third comes later in the game): the ability to combust an opponent and to fire a burst of psychic energy. You can also acquire drugs which double your power, but these also double the deterioration of your body (what, you thought you got psychic powers, but no repercussions?). Yep, this whole games revolving theme is Rion shooting up drugs in order to survive. Theres even a point where another character points this out: youre a junky kid.
After running through the first disc, I was pretty impressed: cool FMVs, some frights along the way, medium bosses (not too simple, not too difficult), a lot of self-discovery, et cetera. But I found that one of the cool aspects of this game is the good ol early 1900s noir feel, but sometimes it treads a little too deep into the land of Dark City (black hats, trench coats, overall freaky dudes) for my taste. Still the atmosphere reeks of, as I said, spookiness. One thing is for sure -- this game is for mature audiences, no kids here.
Galerians serves as a definite addition to anyones collection which has Resident Evil and Dino Crisis or other action-horror-survival games. It even gives a good break from those tired zombie crunchin games, but the downfall of this game, to me at least, is the lack of follow through. It starts with a killer idea and once you get more and more of the story and go further and further into the game, you become less impressed with it. The story is kind of old hat, but nevertheless it twists and turns enough to make it more enjoyable than detracting. As far as the general action genre, I think Crave should continue along the Galerians line and try to improve on an already good working model. Its not a classic, but its got potential for a sequel that could be quite killer.