Game Over Online ~ Skullcaps

GameOver Game Reviews - Skullcaps (c) Creative Edge, Reviewed by - Rebellion

Game & Publisher Skullcaps (c) Creative Edge
System Requirements Pentium 133, DirectX, 16 MB Ram
Overall Rating 72%
Date Published Friday, December 18th, 1998 at 10:38 AM

Divider Left By: Rebellion Divider Right

The Skullies are back in Creative Edge's sequel to Baldies. The four breeds of the dreaded fish stealing Hairies have taken over the world and you must lead your skullies to victory.

You will be organizing your skullies into four types of specialties; the worker, the builder, the scientist, and the soldier. Each specialty gathers resources to power each of their special abilities. Workers breed and allow you to move land. Builders build, expand, and repair your buildings. Scientists research inventions and are use to set traps. Soldiers are used to defend and attack and to create guns and grenades.

Buildings are the advancement procedure of your skullies. You have three primary building types. The normal buildings can advance the furthest to hold the maximum amount of skullies, thus increasing your breeding capacities. The scientific buildings are the only places where you can research new inventions and they also boost your research rates. Military buildings allow your soldiers to research guns and grenades.

Skullcaps is a very different breed of game. It's sort of a cross between Lemmings and Dungeon Keeper. It takes many aspects of a RTS styled game to create a unique playing environment. You have some control over your skullies, but they mostly wander around on their own until you call on them to do your bidding.

The game plays out along the lines that you'll research lots of traps to plant around your opponents base while you build up armies of soldiers to go take them over. The traps are the most interesting part of the game. From the pitfall traps to the exploding cow, the traps are creative and have quite entertaining results. If you get too bored and don't want to keep fighting, you can always use the Big Fight invention to have a big brawl to decide the winner based on total unit numbers.

I've got to question the AI in the game. It does a great job of containing me with traps, but it never actually comes after me and attacks. In every level I struggled with, I eventually was able to build up enough of an army to launch an attack (though at times, I had some serious problems doing so). It's somewhat challenging, but when you start to get the strategies down, it tends to be a little too easy. The initial strategy is to get your houses built. If the computer gets his stuff and cranking out hairies, it'll take you awhile to attack. The use of some inventions, like the balloon, can also significantly influence the game, since they put a serious hindurance on the ability to place traps for both sides.

It's not really as "kiddie" as it may first appear. Like I mentioned earlier, it's very close to the style of Lemmings. Your skullies will die as will the hairies. The traps make dying a nice and humorous way to for your skullies to die. I liked the CO popper which inflated the skully until they popped and the Firebomb made for some nice Hairy roast weenies. It's definitely more suited to all ages then to kids.

It's a pleasant game to look at. It only supports one resolution 640x480 at 8 or 16 bit. The animations are very creative although they're far from high quality. Your units are a little too tiny, but since you don't have as much direct control as the average RTS, it's not too bad. It's definitely dated graphically, with the cutscenes being sort of blurry 3D animations. The worlds aren't ugly and each of the four worlds has unique characteristics. The graphics can get pixelated at times, because it magnifies items when they're closer to the screen.

The audio is a little too cutesy, but it fits the rest of the game nicely. Traps have unique sounds, as do other inventions. There's little speech in the game or a lot of noise from your skullies. Much of the sound comes from fights, with punches and gunfire, or inventions. It has cd audio, which wasn't extremely entertaining, but it once again, it fits the game.

It also features a four player, IPX only multiplayer. It definitely has some potential as a fun multiplayer. Once again, someone dropped the ball on good multiplayer support. Creative Edge used Microsoft's DirectPlay, but didn't include TCP/IP support. Games will only become multiplayer successes if they use TCP/IP. It's plain and simple, yet developers still constantly are not supporting it. Oh well, they'll learn.

I was pleasantly surprised by Skullcaps. At first, it looked very simple, but then I realized it had a decent level of complexity lying under it's bright, cutesy exterior. It still seemed a little too easy and it's not really different from board to board. You'll be bored long before you've reached the 45th and final level. It's a decent game to pick up for something a little different.

Highs: Lemmings style fun, cool inventions, low learning curve, suitable to all ages.
Lows: too easy, too repetitive, dated, no TCP/IP


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