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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

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by Ritual Entertainment


Ups: Nice looking game.

Downs:  Short, crashes plenty, good looks=heavy system reqs

System Reqs: PII 300, 64 MB RAM, 8 MB 3D card

Looking over my initial notes for this review, Heavy Metal FAKK2 from Ritual Entertainment comes off worse than it deserves.  I let everyone from the producers to the sound techs have it with all the bile only a pesky critic can create.  FAKK2 to them.   But I’ve abandoned my ire because, on cool reflection, Heavy Metal isn’t a bad game.  It might have been a fun game.  Even great.  Instead its potential is tossed into the void by bugs and shoddy construction. 

I haven’t read the Heavy Metal comics in several years (all I can remember is nudity, sex, and aliens), but figured that much of the adults-only edge would be contained in the game.  Unfortunately there is no nude alien sex, but a fairly tried and true narrative to get Julie, you, close to a bunch of bad guys.  The game takes place 30 years after the events of the animated film Heavy Metal 2000 on the planet of Eden.   Eden has “magic water” that keeps people young and frisky.  The good colonists have protected their little slice of heaven with a big energy shield and a big satellite, the FAKK2 (Federation Assigned Ketogenic Killzone), which blares Neil Diamond tunes to keep away mall thugs in baggy trousers.  That water attracts the attention of nefarious types, and it’s only a matter of time before some uber-evildoer (Gith specifically) decides to take it.  

Heavy Metal begins like a role-playing adventure.  As Julie, you talk with your pregnant sister, stroll around town, talk to inhabitants, perform a few quests, and learn the ropes of butt-kicking all from a third-person perspective with beautiful graphics.  This truly is a pretty looking and sounding game.  Colors are vibrant and cut scenes are accomplished with fluid camera movements.  Voice acting is well done in spite of a few lines of silly dialogue.  The soundtrack is listenable and often appropriate to the action.     A delightful sense of humor is also evident in various encounters.  Eden entertains the eyes and ears, but it doesn’t stay that way.  Pretty soon its time to stop talking and start killing, which is were many of the game’s problems begin.  What could have been Tomb Raider II but better ends up being just disappointing.


Controlling Julie, at first blush, looks like it’s gonna be a blast.  She can climb, maneuver across monkey bars and pipes, jump, fight with weapons in either hand, perform weapon-combination attacks that depend on the both the weapons she’s using and the sort of armor she has, push stuff around, and hug walls in order to inch along small ledges.  With this variety of possible actions, one would think gameplay will be intellectually challenging and add some spice to a game genre in need of some sprucing up.  Instead the game is horribly short and much of the difficulty arises not from tough challenges requiring invention on the part of the player and combinations of techniques but from really hard jumps.  Read lots of really hard jumps.  Lots.   Since jumping makes up a large part of the game, you’d think that control of Julie would be precise.  You’d be wrong.  She bumps and slides around and off objects like she’s covered in pig fat. 

If these were the only problems, I’d give Heavy Metal a better review.   Good visuals and sound don’t make up for sloppy mechanics, but they at least make the ride enjoyable.  It’s the bugs that destroy it.  Heavy Metal crashes on loading games, saving games, new games, shutting down, and starting up.  Perform the wrong dance move and it crashes.  Zig when it’s obvious you need to zag?  Crash.  The load time between sections is incredibly long as well.   Get up, get a coke, read a magazine, read the mail, nap, discover a forgotten tribe in New Guinea and still the friendly loading screen glares at you.  That’s not all.  FAKK2 takes a machine with muscle to run and the minimum requirements are the barest of minimums.  Just try and make those leaps with the screen jerking like a mosh pit under a strobe light.  I played with the most current patch and still had several problems just keeping the game running. 

Bestial flaws, poor utilization of in-game functionality, poor code, and poor story scripting (a few hours of play isn’t worth the fifty dollar price tag), obliterate what could have been a good game with all sorts of potential.  It’s sort of like going to Vegas with no money: all those pretty lights but you can’t do anything.  As it additionally lacks an Adults Only feel (see my above subtle hint at the need for more nude alien sex), there isn’t much reason to try this title out.  The first-person shooter and third-person action/adventure need an infusion of innovation.  FAKK2 could have been a step in the right direction; as it is, it doesn't quite make it.

--Matt Blackburn