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Game Over Online ~ Reign of Fire

GameOver Game Reviews - Reign of Fire (c) BAM! Entertainment, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Reign of Fire (c) BAM! Entertainment
System Requirements Game Boy Advance
Overall Rating 60%
Date Published Friday, December 13th, 2002 at 05:30 PM

Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

Based on a box office dud, Reign of Fire is a tale that is part sci-fi, part fantasy and part survival flick where humans are overrun by dragons, albeit, in the future. Or more specifically: our future. Hence, not only do we have dragons and primitive humans, but also modern machinations of war thrown into the mix. This melting pot did nothing to entice viewers to the silver screen, and Crawfish's game smartly moves the emphasis from primitive humans to machine guns and dragon breath.

There are two principle campaigns in Reign of Fire. One revolves around the human resistance fighters. The other revolves around the dragons. Despite differences in anatomy, both play fairly similarly. Crawfish is known for its sophisticated birds-eye view isometric titles like Rainbow Six. This is a simplified version of that, much like how The Sum of All Fears was merely a dumber version of Ghost Recon on the PC. Unlike Crawfish's tactical strategy games, the resistance fighters here merely slog around with their leader (you) and shoot when you shoot, as well as flee when you flee. That's the basic gist of the game. In spite of the simple premise, it can be quite fun, especially for the humans because they get access to numerous firepower enhanced vehicles that help them in the fight against the dragons.

Taking place in an apocalyptic landscape, many of the missions involve scavenging parts to acquire such vehicles. This is, unfortunately, where the game falters. You'd think after you start taking control of tanks and aircraft that there would be a final showdown with the mother dragon. That battle, however much anticipated, never appears and the ending is fairly anticlimactic. The dragons fare no better; they merely accumulate upgrades to their initial fire attack.

You can only do so many FedEx objectives with or without time limits until it ultimately gets repetitive. There's no punch to the missions at all. With a premise that works around humans mounting a last ditch effort to defend themselves against dragons, surely, you would think, something more exciting could be created. A last stand Alamo or General Custard scenario would go a long ways in creating such tension.

However, for most of the game, you'll find yourself trying to hit enemies with your projectiles while remaining out of range when the enemy shoots theirs. That type of mechanical back and forth is all that's left of the tactically sound engine Crawfish brought to Reign of Fire. And it's unfortunate. They either did not have the freedom to break out of the film license into new ground or they relied on the license too heavily. A game revolving around an expert group of dragon hunters or a dragon esprit de corps would have proved more exciting.

The graphics for Reign of Fire, for the most part, stand up to the standards laid down by Crawfish in other titles. Backgrounds are detailed with different color hues. Units and vehicles maintain distinctive identities. The only real complaint is the fire, which, despite the abundance of it, looks cartoonish. There are several backdrops from a desecrated London to the countryside to spice up the visuals. While the audio does its part as well, there's no denying they're just cheerleaders or backup singers to a team or band that isn't that good in and of itself.

Bam! Entertainment probably started this project before the movie. As Sony's corporate heads have said, movies can be a lucrative business but they are never reliable for solid revenue and profits because from time to time, your movies will bomb. Some will bomb for no reason at all. Judging by the cross-proliferated marketing campaign between movie and games, Bam! Entertainment and Crawfish have found themselves making a game for a very unpopular movie. If the cinematic folks had held up their end of the bargain, this could, at the very least, serve as a novelty collector's item, much like X-Men games do for X-Men fans or Spider-man games do for Spider-man fans. Truth be told, though, there aren't many Reign of Fire fans out there.

Without multiplayer, there's not much content to go through in this game and on its own in single player, it's not overly compelling content either. That makes it hard to recommend since it's based on a movie that's not so great to begin with.


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