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Game Over Online ~ Siberian Strike

GameOver Game Reviews - Siberian Strike (c) Ludigames, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Siberian Strike (c) Ludigames
System Requirements Palm OS
Overall Rating 83%
Date Published Friday, November 30th, 2001 at 05:55 PM

Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

With the re-release of Capcom's 1942 for the Pocket PC, we were bound to see a similar title for the Palm OS. Ludigames, creators of notable Pocket PC titles like Rayman, have created a rather original title. I don't think there is one game in recent memory that allows you to play Nazis as the protagonists (keyword: pro). Most of the games, I admit, like Return to Wolfenstein or Day of Defeat, let you assume the role of Germans but you always know in no uncertain terms that you are an antagonist, as in, one of the bad guys. The eastern front, arguably the pivotal front that changed the tide of WWII, is pretty ambiguous but we'll leave that kind of pondering to the historians. Here, you assume the persona of three Luftwaffe pilots heading off to the Soviet front.

Despite the charming story, the gameplay is a rehash of all games originating from the 1942 motif. You proceed through seven levels of increasing difficulty with various 'boss' characters to defeat at certain points. Although there are a few level design tricks thrown in, like the inclusion of gauntlet runs, there isn't much to revolutionize or turn this game into something else. Unlike what history has told us, apparently the Luftwaffe aces like to fly solo battling wave after wave of enemies. I assume we're in the latter stages of the war when the Soviets have achieved some sort of industrial supremacy over Germany. At least one part of the story is historically accurate: the Soviets don't care about losses and continually pile enough machinery on you that you would think the fallout from downed planes would crush whatever ground forces the communists might have. But I digress, since no one plays these games for plot.

The pace of the game is easy to follow in the beginning and by no means does it ever approach the insanity of Japanese shooters where the playing field is so blurred from action that you can't really know what's going on. If you are a veteran of titles like Giga Wing 2, this will be but a mild exercise for your fingers. Interface and controls can be done through the physical buttons, graffiti area and using the stylus on screen. This control scheme is great and I wish more developers would give us this flexibility but the ability to remap the key controls is mysteriously missing. Instead, you must conform to the default controls.

Siberian Strike's orthodoxy is apparent in its top-down perspective. However, it is one of the best looking arcade shooters, par excellence, for the Palm platform so far. The colours are extremely vibrant and make good use of the hardware available. The audio treatment, of course, has much to be desired but still, the developers try to include as many effects as they can with the limited capabilities of a Palm PDA. A nod must be given to them for at least trying. The audio can quickly be turned off for times when you want to be discreet. The monochrome version is not too far off in detail from the colour one. Many titles these days have severely crippled monochrome versions but the developers here have made it an easier transition. You don't think you paid for a sub-par version of the product if you play the black and white one. The contrast is a little wanting though because of the copious amounts of shading involved. Under direct sunlight, the frantic action is more difficult to follow in monochrome.

Siberian Strike has an impressive website with the same trappings and care given to PC titles. You can download wallpapers, view video trailers of the title and even listen to mp3s related to the game. A well-rounded showing in the actual game, on the other hand, cannot make up for the fact that this title offers nothing really revolutionary. Replaying it will allow you to unlock new bonuses or try out new planes. However, the experience isn't too much different from the first run you give it. One improvement that I thought might be good is the addition of multiplayer using IR to another PDA. That would have given some incentive to play the game through again co-operatively. Just look at what is being done with Bungie's Halo these days. Another element that could be added might be an overall campaign map, most famous in Westwood's Dune franchise. That way, the see-saw battles back and forth could at least be justified. If all you want is to shoot some things up, Siberian Strike does an elegant job of it. Your mileage may vary, depending on your skill, on how long it takes to get to Siberia. Ultimately, you might find the trip a bit too short.

[08/10] Addictiveness
[16/20] Gameplay
[14/15] Graphics
[08/10] Interface/controls
[07/10] Program Size
[03/05] Sound
[05/05] Discreetness
[14/15] Learning Curve
[ N/A ] Multiplayer


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