Game Over Online ~ Redline

GameOver Game Reviews - Redline (c) Accolade, Reviewed by - Pseudo Nim

Game & Publisher Redline (c) Accolade
System Requirements Pentium 166, 32 MB Ram, DirectX 6.0+
Overall Rating 88%
Date Published Monday, March 22nd, 1999 at 03:26 PM

Divider Left By: Pseudo Nim Divider Right

I’m a sucker for car games. I tend to try them all, no matter how bad they are, or how bad people say they are. And it’s a good thing I don’t believe entirely in what someone says until I try it – for example, had I believed what PC Gamer wrote about the original Carmageddon, I wouldn’t have ever tried it and I would’ve simply looked at it as a yet another average game that only earned a measly 78%. Fortunately, I was wrong. Just the same, I heard people say Redline wasn’t an amazing game, that it was quite average, et cetera, et cetera. Auspiciously, again, I was wrong – and so were the people. Redline is great, it’s fun, and, to a degree, it’s original – though I can already hear people say "Interstate 76" and "Carmageddon" – but that matters not, as in this genre, there can’t be too much competition.

I originally previewed Redline in June of last year, when it looked but like a project that was aeons away from completion. Then, a few months ago, a demo came out… and I wasn’t so stunned anymore. First off, it was horribly slow, even with all detail setting on minimum ("none" where available) I couldn’t manage more than 5 – 10 fps on my P200. And something about the textures wasn’t particularly impressive, either.

Now the final came out, and I must say that it’s back to where I expected it to be. The frame rate is great, the graphics are much better, and, most of all, there is a story.

After the turn of the millenium, nosey people found out that the most important scientific discoveries of the previous century were kept secret by megacorporations who profited from a hungry, battered populace that depended heavily on extracted fuels, which served as energy. Those nosey people didn’t keep it to themselves, either – they made it public, which resulted in a revolution. It, however, failed to succeed – a few extremely wealthy corporations got their act together and detonated a few massive nuclear warheads on the Moon.

The results of this were devastating. No longer could one be safe on the outside due to radiation, and those who were ‘aligned’ and worked for the corporations could afford protective wear and housing… but the ‘unpersons,’ also known as the Outsiders, could not. The Outsiders needed money, and Insiders were willing to pay… and given the Insiders’ love of gladiatorial sports and the Outsiders’ ferocity, a means of a monetary transfer was quickly found – the Outsiders became gladiators, in exchange for protection from the harsh environment.

The player, that is, you, plays the role of a new member of the Company, a gang whose history in the Battle Wheels universe is legendary. (It’s interesting how the Atari Lynx’ classic comes back in the form of posters and asides in Redline – but after all, Beyond Games did make it, so it’s little wonder) The gang went through some hard times, and is experiencing difficulties with rival gangs. Fresh blood is needed, which is where you come in – and you’re their best hope.

The neat thing is that the story isn’t completely hypothetical – that is, it obviously is on the large scale, but situations pertinent to you are told through engine-rendered cutscenes, turning the violence and carnage of Carmageddon into the fine web of intrigue and excitement of Interstate ’76.

The game isn’t hard to pick up at all. The controls aren’t complex, and what’s relatively neat is that the game introduces diving, which you can only perform when outside the car. Basically, it’s like strafing, but for a longer distance (the screen doesn’t rotate, though). I hope we’ll see more and more of this, because that’s something that should be taken for granted – after all, there isn’t only strafing in the world. There aren’t two pages of buttons, either – movement, fire, aiming and that’s about all. Surprising is the fact that crouch is missing, though. Also, while the normal controls are pretty responsive, I believe strafing needs a slight improvement in sensitivity, as the way it is right now it’s pretty useless because it’s so slow.

The car physics are quite good, though car damage isn’t modeled in the game. More precisely, your windshield, headlights, side windows and the like will look shattered from the outside, but that’s the extent of it – no moldings ripped off, no deformed doors and the like. As well, the handbrake has a somewhat strange feel to it – if you keep holding it, the car will keep sliding, sort of like if it were on ice.

The graphics, on the other hand, are great. Although I had to play on low detail, the visuals were amazing. Cars are modeled incredibly well, and even humans look great; skid marks aren’t exactly like in Dethkarz, but explosions and other acts of killing, maiming and breaking are nicely done.

Graphics never go without sound, and this is an area where Redline shines as well. The music is great, as are the environmental sound effects. People scream when shot, grunt when hit by the car and each weapon has a unique sound. Which is, I suppose, expected anyway – so why did I even bring that up.

The array of machinery and weapons is really large, too; the company claims 24 cars and 50 weapons. While I didn’t have a chance to see every weapon and every car yet, I can definitely affirm that the number of each is large and satisfying, adding to overall game value. An interesting twist is that the machine gun, the chainsaw, the shotgun and the rocket launcher are all launched from the same weapon, thereby requiring the player to simply find ammo – and not the weapon itself.

Multiplayer is fun, as well. Some of the arenas encourage creativity while fighting – for example, they might have huge turrets that the player can run to in order to snipe the enemies. They have awesome firepower, but are rather sluggish and, evidently, stationary.

Overall, I find the game quite enjoyable. While I believe it would have profited from things like bodywork damage and better strafing, it’s perfectly playable nonetheless, and is definitely worth checking out. However, if there’s only one car combat game you’ll buy this year, you may wish to hold off for Interstate ’82 – that, undoubtedly, will be a killer. That said, check out Redline – the line maybe thin and red, but it’s great all the way ‘till the end of it.


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