Review - Creature Shock

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Trev
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Review - Creature Shock

Post by Trev » Tue Nov 03, 2009 1:33 am

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The real shock is the poor controls


The first thing I noticed about Creature Shock, other than the cool box art (ignore the obviously fake screen shots though), was that its sci-fi theme was a blend of fairly common elements (find a new planet for mankind, investigate a disappearing crew, etc …) Not only have I read similar in books and watched comparable on TV but another late 3DO release, Robinson’s Requiem, handles a very close storyline (albeit better in my opinion) So, while it is certainly nothing bad it’s also nothing new.

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The graphics, though certainly atmospheric, are rather dark and much too pixilated (this is a ’96 release so I’m cutting it little in the way of slack) The 1st person segments seem to be borrowed from The Daedalus Encounter, and offer not nearly enough in the way of variety. The ship sections likewise are totally average, and suffer from a poor view that is non adjustable.

The one area where the game does do a good job of showing off graphically is with the alien creatures. They are very nicely designed and well animated. It is clear that the bulk of the effort was focused on this part of the game, and as a result I played with some excited anticipation, wondering what interesting looking beast I would next encounter. :)

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Less of a mixed bag than the graphics is the games audio. Rather good music accompanies the game play. Appropriately suspenseful without sounding like commonplace sci-fi tunes, it is a fine compliment that will please most. The voices and sound effects, while not as good as the music, are still fine cd fare. (I like hearing my heartbeat as I explore the asteroid … it adds tension)

Control … ouch! If any name needed to support the ALG gun, it would be Creature Shock. The cursor is simply far too s-l-o-w for the task at hand. No compensation is made for generous targets either, as there is only a small sweet spot that will produce any damage. The screen is constantly moving during confrontations too which may add some artistic flair but is detrimental to the control and fun factor. (Can you believe the box actually boasts “easy to play controls”?) :roll:

It makes the game too challenging. I like challenge don’t get me wrong. Most serious gamers do. But do you like it as a result of lousy control? Certainly I don’t, and I know I’m in agreeable company. I only made it to the 2nd level (although I do think that I went fairly far into it … seems a bit needlessly long) Could I beat the game in time? Probably … but I’ve simply lost my desire to. I’m willing to memorize the alien patterns and all, but I just don’t have the patience to wrestle with the slow controls (the whole game seems rather slow actually, with long load times to boot) The short cut scenes aren’t enough to hold my interest that long. And I’m left with the nagging doubt that the payoff isn’t worth the work (a game should never feel like work) Perhaps I’m wrong and Creature Shock does have a good payoff. If so, it’s hidden too well for its own good.

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Good creature designs and music fall short of masking the failings that make this game a weak title. It feels more like a corporate design (looks good on paper) than a gamer design (who needs good control?) I would have liked to been a fly on the wall when this game was going through the play test stage (I want answers Mr. Clive Burbon!)

A late release means that Creature Shock is rarer than most U.S. titles, but is also tends to be overpriced when it’s found. No worries though, as it can be avoided unless you are a collector … or a gamer who likes to see potential choked by those unable to bring it to fruition. :( Its two cds are “packed with an undiscovered universe of mystery and adventure” Pending the discovery of Game Guru codes though, it will remain undiscovered by me ... sadly.


-Trev


P.S. For the curious, check out the "special edition" of this game. I’ve always wanted to pick it up for my Saturn, but info seems scarce on just what makes it “special” Supposedly better graphics seems to be the consensus, although it’s also the consensus that they aren’t noticeable. If anyone has concrete info or screen shots, I’d love to compare.
Last edited by Trev on Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Review - Creature Shock

Post by 3DO Experience » Tue Nov 03, 2009 1:53 am

Trev wrote:The real shock is the poor controls
ROFL too true.
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Post by BryWI » Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:44 pm

does it support the mouse?

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Post by 3DO Experience » Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:34 am

I wish! The control really does suck. The best way to fight is not to move and wait for the alien's vulnerable area to line up. But this tactic doesn't always work. I have never beaten this game due to it's lack of control.
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Post by Trev » Wed Nov 04, 2009 4:22 am

How far have you gotten?

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Post by 3DO Experience » Thu Nov 05, 2009 4:26 am

oh I don't even remember what the last monster I fought was... it's been too long since I played it, I couldn't get out of the dome I know that much.
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Post by Martin III » Fri Feb 11, 2011 7:52 pm

Hey, finally I find some good info on this game. All the professional reviews online say that it's a piece of garbage, but fail to give any real explanation why. I asked about the game on the two major gaming forums I frequent and got no reply on either. Thanks for giving a real overview of the game's problems.

I just wish the news were better. Poor controls is quite a problem, and while I'm hoping the Saturn version is better in this regard, that's not too likely, since the 3DO, Saturn, and Playstation versions all came out at the same time.

I'll probably still end up getting the Saturn version of Creature Shock eventually; I generally have much more patience for that sort of shoddily-designed title than most gamers. But at least now I know not to expect too much.

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Post by 3DOKid » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:58 pm

Indeed. Trev did a nice job of this review. I quite like Creature Shock. What it lacks in controls it makes up for in imagination and art. You can't beat Creature Shock for a bit of exploratory alien crypto-zoology :)

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