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Game Over Online ~ Battlezone: The Red Odyssey

GameOver Game Reviews - Battlezone: The Red Odyssey (c) Team Evolve, Reviewed by - Wolf

Game & Publisher Battlezone: The Red Odyssey (c) Team Evolve
System Requirements Pentium 166, 32MB Ram, 350MB HD, Battlezone
Overall Rating 85%
Date Published Sunday, April 25th, 1999 at 04:05 PM

Divider Left By: Wolf Divider Right

Battlezone, released early last year, was a great game; one that had me playing it for weeks over the Internet. It had come out of nowhere and had given corrective surgery to a brand new Action/RTS genre which Uprising started. It should have sold truckloads of copies, but due to some poor marketing, only the people who had the privilege to play it at a friends place or stumble across a review of it (Game-Over gave it 92%) bought it.

Now, about a year later, Team Evolve has released a Mission Pack for Battlezone. A year is quite a long time, and with the development of Battlezone 2 well underway, "Red Odyssey" would have to do quite well for itself to be accepted.

The Mission Pack contains 23 new Missions, 15 for the Black Dogs, and 8 for the Chinese. As the Black Dogs you get attacked by the Chinese and have you have to repel their assault and uncover the mystery of their portals into another world. As the Chinese, first you have a few skirmishes with the Russians, and then you take on the Black Dogs. In the original Battlezone, throughout the US campaign you had glimpses of the Black Dogs, and in multi-player, a chance to play Black Dog units. In Red Odyssey you control the whole Black Dog Army with a new addition, the 'Red Devil', a tough scouting unit. For the rest though, it’s really a NSDF branch, so the buildings and all are the same. As for the Chinese, they have an entirely new army with models you have never seen before; the models themselves look quite nice, the Scout being my favourite new model. The weapons these new models are armed with are no different than from the original Battlezone, the main battle tanks have SP-Stabbers, just like the Bdog Tanks, except they’re *green*. [Which is the only difference I could pick out]. All the other weapons are familiar as well. The structures of the Chinese are also different: instead of having a Defensive Gun Tower with Flash Cannons, their towers look completely different and fire Shells instead. Essentially though, there is nothing really special about the Chinese side, just equivalents of the Black Dogs and Russians (which are still there). Except for one little thing, cloaking. This funny little addition makes you completely invisible, from visual sight *and* Radar, of course the side effect is that you cannot fire your weapons while cloaked and you can still bump into enemies, which sort of gives you away.

The Battlezone add-on does quite well for itself in Single Player, offering a completely new army, and adding onto another familiar one. Another feature is the range of missions from easy to hard difficulty. Or shall I say hard to extremely bloody hard. I would have to say that the missions in Red Oddesy are some of the hardest, toughest missions I've had a hand at to date. These campaigns are only for the veterans; the first mission of the Black Dogs lulls you into thinking its all safe and fine, until the frustrating moment in Mission 2 when you’re reloading your game for the 7th time because your damn recycler keeps getting blown to smithereens as it has to evacuate. The Third Mission is even worse: you seem to have to be at three different places at the same time. Saving is a necessity. The Chinese mission continues the difficulty level from the Black Dog missions making them very hard indeed. Take the first Chinese mission for example; initial objective is to walk to a nav buoy in the middle of an enemy base, sticking to the high ground. Sound simple you say? Well its not. I started counting, and near the end I counted a total of 16 enemy Russian pilots shot. These pilots are everywhere, and as soon as they can see you they will start trying to mow you down rather successfully. Their ability to know exactly where you are is uncanny and they have excellent accuracy from the huge distances they shoot from. So either you go through and put up your sniper scope to look for the telltale sign of a little light across the horizon in a 360-degree arc every few seconds, or you just run for it or when you start being shot at you put up a sniper scope and snipe the bastard, of course relying on sheer luck as to whether you hit them or not. And that’s just the beginning of the mission.

Multiplayer, the high point in Battlezone, is still as fun as ever. You'll still let out a cry of joy when you snipe one of your opponents tanks, jump off your sniping ledge, jet right into the empty tank, create total havoc and destruction and then run off and eject to propel yourself all the way across the map.

In conclusion, I would say that Red Odyssey is a solid Mission Pack with tough-as-nails missions that will keep you busy for a quite a while, with a good quality new army to contribute to the game. Of course, some people might find tough-as-nails missions frustrating and impossible to complete, and the fact that Battle Zone is over a year old does cause for some outdated graphics, which may cause some people not to buy it. Nevertheless, I urge you now to do so as Red Odyssey will breathe more life into a still excellent game.


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