Game Over Online ~ Zero Critical

GameOver Game Reviews - Zero Critical (c) Bethesda Softworks, Reviewed by - Lothian

Game & Publisher Zero Critical (c) Bethesda Softworks
System Requirements Pentium 90, 16 MB Ram
Overall Rating 40%
Date Published Thursday, March 4th, 1999 at 03:10 PM

Divider Left By: Lothian Divider Right

Chatt Rhuller is a new agent with the ITC Special Projects Division and he’s just been assigned his first case: a homicide. His mission sounded easy enough: go to Rheom-I and escort Dr. Victoria Fayne and the body of Dr. Geopp back to ITC central. Upon arriving on the small satellite in the Rheom system, Chatt’s investigation begins to uncover that things are not what they seem on this planet of eternal daylight. Interrogating the scientists and exploring the compound slowly reveals the mysteries surrounding the murder, the previous scientist’s insanity and the mysterious SATIN project. Bethesda Softworks’ Zero Critical will remind most players of any Sierra title circa 1994, however compared to more recent games like Blade Runner, Sanitarium or even Hopkins FBI, Zero Critical’s Macromedia Director core isn’t very impressive.

With the massive memory requirement of a P-75 with a 256 colour compatible video card, it’s rather obvious that Zero Critical won’t be manipulating very many 3D objects. The NPCs are rather stiff and unanimated and character movement isn’t fluid or lifelike in the least. To Bethesda’s credit though, the backgrounds are rather well done and add unquestionably to the game’s ambiance.

A series of 19 .WAV files make up the entire score of sound effects. For those who take pleasure in the inane hum of electricity or the whirring of a fan, read no further for you’ll most likely disagree with the remainder of this review. Speech is non-existent and I believe hearing a human voice while playing this game could be the only thing to knock you out of the catatonic stupor caused by the background noise.

Zero Critical may not look too good or sound too good but it does have one redeeming quality: The story behind the Rheom-I murder will totally immerse you into the game. There are subtle twists and turns in the plot as well as several puzzles woven in to further challenge the player. Were this game to have been published five years ago, it would have most likely have ranked as high as any Police Quest.

Since the entire game is mouse driven, it only takes about five minutes to get the hang of the inventory and dialogue systems. If you’ve ever played a Quest for Glory then you’ll immediately understand how to converse with the scientists or use items. Although this game isn’t even slightly innovative, it’s easy to learn and even easier to play, making Zero Critical perfect for the novice player (everyone else ... choose another title).


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