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Chaser PC Review - -

Gameplay 8.9
Graphics 9.0
Sound 8.0
Value 8.8
Distributor: Red Ant
Review Date:
April 2005
Andrew B



Chaser is the latest first person shooter by Encore productions that uses the powerful CloakNT 3D engine and puts gamers in the role of John Chaser who mysteriously wakes up on an examination table. Before the player can gain a sense of stability, the scene is shattered by masked commando squads that rip the room asunder. Chaser awakens, having no memory and no clue as to why heís being hunted, and is able to escape into an adjoining hallway by mere inches. Although, all is not safe as the space station begins to destabilize and threatens to explode, forcing the amnesiac hero to find and board an escape pod. Following the thrilling escape from the Majestic, Chaser returns to Earth and gets involved with the mafia, where heís eventually led to Mars and learns of his past and a far-reaching conspiracy.

The gameplay of Chaser is of typical FPS fare where the player must shoot the enemy before the enemy can shoot back and cause too much damage. However, there are some instances, albeit few, where stealth is of primary concern and no shots can be fired. The handling of John Chaser is nothing complicated and will be instantly recognizable by FPS fans. The keyboard moves John around and allows him to interact with the environment, while the mouse enables him to look around and use weapons.

Chaser also contains an impressive adrenaline mode, which is a bit like Bullet-Time from Max Payne, as it slows down time and allows the player to see everything unfurl in slow motion. The adrenaline mode isnít exactly necessary in Chaser, although it is always available if the player thinks thereís a need for it.

The player also has access to a variety of weapons in the game that include everything from submachine guns and pistols from the present, including Beretta M12s, FAMAS, Colt Commandos, and Sig Sauer P226s, among others, Each weapon has an alternate fire mode which can be accessed, by default, by hitting the mouse 2 button. For the most part the weapons, despite their oddity concerning the time period, function well. Aim is dead on, balance is fine, and weapon drops offer just enough power for the levels they're found in.

The AI of the enemies is not exactly top notch, but it is enough to make most encounters at least somewhat challenging. Enemies will eventually trundle around corners if a player attempts to hide, although that is not always the case. In many instances the player can rush right up to an enemy whoís attempting an ambush, hide behind a nearby barrier to reload, sit there for an almost unlimited amount of time without being bothered, and then charge through the blockage without being too severely damaged. The enemies are generally set to stand in strategic locations throughout the levels and fire maniacally whenever the player turns up in their sights, and thatís basically it. Nothing flashy, such as diving for cover when taking fire or moving in squads. The challenge is in the number and location of the enemies, not exactly in their sub par skills and tactics.

Graphically, Chaser is a very impressive looking game on the PC that adequately portrays the Majestic space station and locations on Earth and Mars. The biggest problem, however, is exactly how drab certain locations look, which can almost be expected considering the grim, dirty future setting the game takes place in. However, many levels are livened up by the background scenes, especially in the slums of Earth, where toppling structures are contrasted against towering futuristic skyscrapers, all lit up with hues of blue and red.

The character models are acceptable, although some look better than others. Characters in civilian attire do not look as smooth as they could, although other models depicting commando forces in highly detailed armor appear spot on. There certainly isn't a wide variety of different model types throughout the game, especially since the player can expect to take on the same type of enemy unit over and over within a certain number of levels before being exposed to enemies in different clothing, which doesn't necessarily keep the visual interest level high.

The graphical effects are done rather well. Blood splats convincingly on walls behind enemies as they're shot, water looks realistic, and light reflects off of shiny objects as it should. However, there's a bit of the problem with the reflective effects which doesn't deal with how it technically works and looks -- There are simply way too many reflective surfaces in the game. The vast majority of the space station Majestic is overly reflective, and there are several locations on Earth and on Mars that are very similar. Woven clothes sometimes are reflective, even, which is definitely not how it should be unless metal can be woven into wearable fibers in the future. While reflective surfaces are indeed a pretty sight to behold, its overuse can really annoy a player, and this is exactly what happens as a player makes his or her way through Chaser.

The musical score of Chaser uses a combination of cyberpunk and rock to help immerse the player into the futuristic setting. Certain selections create tension, while others help the adrenaline flow in extremely tight situations. The sound effects are nothing spectacular, although they work. The guns sound like guns, breaking glass sounds like breaking glass. The ambient noises are done well, too, as the player will come across crackling fires, cawing seagulls, and the shattering sounds of broken glass among other atmospheric noises. The spoken dialogue within the game is absolutely laughable, which is a shame since it tends to take away from the artistry of the cut scenes. Emotion is forced in the vast majority of the lines and that fact is highly obvious. If anything, the dialogue is entertaining by way of it being so horrendously bad.

In conclusion, Chaser is a great game for those that love the genre of first person shooters and not only does the game contain an interesting and immersing storyline but it also features a great 3D engine with also the gameplay to match. Check it out!


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