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Game Over Online ~ Daikatana

GameOver Game Reviews - Daikatana (c) Eidos Interactive, Reviewed by - Prolix

Game & Publisher Daikatana (c) Eidos Interactive
System Requirements Windows 9x, Pentium 233 MHz, 3D Accelerator, 32MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 50%
Date Published Thursday, June 29th, 2000 at 02:15 PM

Divider Left By: Prolix Divider Right

It's time once again to delve into the wonderful wold of first person shooter mediocrity. This time around it comes in the form of Daikatana. After reading an ad that proclaimed I should let John Romero make me his bitch after playing his game, I figured why not. Sadly, Romero never got to make me his bitch, he just made me play through his pitiful excuse for a first person shooter instead.

For those of you living under a rock, Daikatana is the brainchild of one of the creators of Doom, John Romero. Daikatana's development process underwent so many engine changes and redesigns I completely lost track, and quite frankly, lost interest. When the game finally shipped it wound up using the Quake 2 engine and its age shows. Basically, the game starts off with a cheesy stereotypical intro, which any intelligent person will quickly lose interest in. In Daikatana, you assume the role of a Japanese character Hiro, who oddly enough, looks just like John Romero. Throughout the game you switch time periods including Japan, The Netherlands, Greece, and some other place that gave me a headache. During the first stages of the game you pick up two sidekicks, a Japanese female and an African American male who just happens to be named Superfly. Other than the sidekicks, Daikatana follows the same old tired first person shooter formula.

Daikatana is based on the Quake 2 engine, and the Quake 2 engine is old, it's very old. Therefore, Daikatana contains all the technical limitations brought on by the Quake 2 engine ( crappy character modeling etc…). However, Daikatana is said to be running on a highly modified Quake 2 engine and to that I say bullshit. The funny thing is, Half-Life appeals to me more visually than Daikatana and considering how old Half-Life is, I find that very amusing. Daikatana has very little going for it graphically, just about the only thing I did enjoy was the snow falling in the Norwegian levels. Other than that, you will find a bland pallet of textures and pitiful special effects. Weapon and enemy modeling is a joke as well, every creature and weapon seems to have this weird type of fleshy texture to it that I can't really describe too well. I didn't get a sense of realism or intrigue from any of the weapons, perhaps Romero should have just stuck with the Doom weapons instead. Daikatana might have wowed me four years ago, but after playing Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament, this game looks like Doom.

The sound in Daikatana could possibly be the worst in a first person shooter ever. The first level, the swamps of Japan, is so annoying I turned my speakers off. All I heard constantly was the buzzing of mosquitoes and other pesky swamp varmints. One thing I found very lovely was Romero's blatant use of stereotypes. The sidekick, Superfly, said every stereotypical thing a black man could say.

Basically what Daikatana comes down to is a search for keys and switches, but with sidekicks! Nearly every level consists of finding keys, hitting buttons, and killing stuff. This would be great if I was easily amused, but like most gamers, I've outgrown this tired formula. The sidekicks are more or less useless, the AI is just pitiful. I could have played through this game a lot faster if I didn't have two babbling idiots following me around shooting me in the back and getting me killed. The worst part of having sidekicks is you can't complete the level unless they are both with you. Unfortunately, it's a lot harder then it sounds because they constantly get stuck or simply won't follow you. Moving on to the next laugh…the game's name comes from the powerful sword you possess throughout most of the game, Daikatana. This is probably the best feature of the game, even though it sucks. Daikatana can be powered to extreme proportions; it was my weapon of choice for the later parts of the game due to its sheer power. The sword moves and slashes so unrealistically its funny. Occasionally you will find the odd well designed level, but in general the level design is tiresome and boring. After she beat John Romero in a deathmatch, Stevie "Killcreek" Case was hired at Ion Storm to be a level designer. Quite frankly, they need to fire her.

One of my biggest gripes about this game concerns the start of the game. Personally, if I ever made a game, I would make the first couple levels very fun and addictive, but Romero decided for the "make them quit and return the game after playing the first level" strategy. I tried and tried my best to play through the Japan scenario, which consists of five or six levels, but I couldn't and it wound up taking me a couple days. The first level in the swamps is so ugly and confusing it would make the average gamer want to give up and take it back to the store. All you do is run around a swamp blasting robot mosquitoes and robot frogs, now that's my idea of fun. If you can make it to levels where there are actually humans, rather than robot creatures, you will find them slightly less annoying. As you could already probably predict, the monster AI is pathetic as well. Most of the time, they simply hide behind doors where you couldn't possibly see them or anticipate them being there. Basically, gameplay in Daikatana is abysmal.

Fortunately, Daikatana supports multiplayer, which should alleviate some frustrations of those who are fed up with single player. I obtained my copy of the game three weeks or so after it was put out on stores and I figured there would be plenty of people online to play. However, I was mistaken. When I refreshed the servers via the games internal server finder, I found at most five servers up (this really goes to show just how sorry this game is). When I did play against other humans, I found the gameplay to be rushed and highly unbalanced. I would gladly play Quake 2 DM over Daikatana DM any day.

Maybe John Romero should have been more concerned with making a solid game then buying Stevie Case a boob job and doing god knows what else with her. Daikatana is one of the sorriest first person shooters to come out in years; it has absolutely no redeeming qualities. The most amusing aspect of this game is the amount of time that it took to make it, something like three years, while Deus Ex (another Ion Storm product) took half the time and is twice the game.


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