Game Over Online ~ Flying Saucer

GameOver Game Reviews - Flying Saucer (c) Software 2000, Reviewed by - Massive

Game & Publisher Flying Saucer (c) Software 2000
System Requirements P100, 16mb RAM
Overall Rating 58%
Date Published Tuesday, June 9th, 1998 at 04:08 PM

Divider Left By: Massive Divider Right

Before starting the review, I'll tell you this. I found out about this game the day it was released, and the webpage for it had not yet been completed, but seeing the 3DFX logo made me smile. I was anticipating a jaw dropping set of graphics. Was I ever disappointed.

Unfortunately the creators seem to have forgotten what the 3DFX chipset can do, and while the graphics really aren't that bad in the long run, they could have used a lot of work. Elements like the awkward shape of the flying saucer. It had little to no external detail (and while I'm sure we've all seen exactly what a flying saucer looks like) and the textures appeared raw. By no means did this game's graphics justify the minimum spec of Pentium 166mmx. It could easily have run on most P133's with a suitable graphics/memory combination. The textures making the ground also were rather bland, they showed little to no definition and when you got down in around on the ground, it looked like a checkerboard of light and dark brown squares. The terrain itself was very simple. Mountain ranges were pointy and relatively unrealistic and provided little atmosphere. There was one odd thing in the game, the sky has these flashing grids that zoom across it. It was an altitude limit! Oh how disappointed I was. The sky was also very simple with no clouds or neat lighting effects (lens flares etc.) available to wow the gamer. All in all, the graphics of this game appeared to be of the same caliber of Jet Moto, and well, we all know how wonderful they were even in 3DFX enabled gameplay.

Graphics alone don't make a game, though. If the game has no gameplay, it will flop. This game, unfortunately, did one huge whale of a belly flop. Lets start with the cockpit of which there appears to be none. Your view is simply what is around your ship, and a few unmarked controls up in the top corners of your screen. Even the crosshairs annoyed me because they served little to no purpose. There was one kind of cool "sonar" like altitude measure which showed how far the terrain below was from the bottom of your ship, but this was very inconsequential to the actual gameplay. Controlling the ship in itself was a task. to move forward/backward/stop, one has to use the "A/Z" keys (in the default config at least) and the oddest part of all was directional control. The arrow keys control your view, as if it was a camera, and to move in the direction you are viewing, you must press control. This provided very little and poor throttle/speed control over your craft, however it occasionally came in hand as a sort of "tank" turret. (You fire in the direction you are looking, not moving.) Another miss was the enemy. I have never flown against such poor pilots. Most of your enemies are flying fighters, which are much faster then the flying saucer you get to fly, and they are still easy to waste with the quite uncreative weapons you are given. The actual menus and layout of the game was beautiful with very area51esque graphics and nice glow effects on many buttons, but this alone won't save the game. While there are some slightly redeeming factors about the turret control, the gameplay and controls were clumsy and poorly laid out.

One department in which the game worked for me was sound. There was enough speech (although done by some cheesy actor) to help add some atmosphere. Many games overdo it with speech, such as air traffic controllers and end up making it totally unbelievable, but Flying Saucer did have some well thought out timing with its speech.

The game had no multiplayer support, although I don't see how the authors could have worked it into the odd, yet uncreative plot and the learning curve is rather severe with many elements. Basically, not many people if any have attempted to make a 3D Flying Saucer sim, and unfortunately this just doesn't seem to be working. Too many things seem to have been rushed, and not planned out, maybe if they had spent more time on the in-game graphics then on the menus and still screens, the game could have been more then a 20minute spill-ride.


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