GameOver Game Reviews

Game & Publisher Or Die Trying (c) Psygnosis
Overall Rating 60%
Date Published , , ,

Divider Left By: Cruze Divider Right

Psygnosis Entertainment, another great extension of the minds that brought us the Sony Playstation, deliver their latest 3D action adventure in the new Sci-Fi release, 'Or Die Trying'. As a member of the crew on the air-ship Nautiflyius, you are on a mission to deliver the mystic 'Green Pearl' to the city of Calli, who is in desperate need of it's potent magic. An epidemic sweeping through the great city threatens the entire populace, their only hope rests in you. En-route with the pearl to Calli, the Nautiflyius is pulled, by some mysterious force, crashing down into a strange tower. Here, with the ship damaged and in-operable, the crew must explore their hostile surroundings and find enough equipment to repair the ship and continue on their journey.

'Or Die Trying' is a 3rd person, over-the-shoulder, action game with a good measure of puzzle solving and a demanding requirement for hand-eye co-ordination. You play the game as one of 4 crew members, each with their own bio sheet, skills, spells and weaknesses. The primary objective of the game is to locate the correct parts to get the Nautiflyus back into operation, but this is embellished throughout your trek with various secondary objectives, some required, others to be done at your discretion. Your jaunt through the 8 levels of the tower takes you through varying environments, each with their own pitfalls, dangers and local alien wildlife.

The game plays as a 'you-need-this-go-find-it' title. Although it has been somewhat dubbed as a Tomb-Raider knockoff, after playing O.D.T. for several hours I fail to see the comparison. The unique mixture of different gaming elements built into ODT really make it a hard one to categorize. It starts off with a deceptively simplistic action/adventure looking interface, but very quickly as you start gaining experience, learning spells and gaining weapon skills a far more detailed, almost role-playing element, begins to evolve.

Each one of the four possible characters available for you to play in ODT have distinctly different abilities which will dramatically affect how you re-act in the game. Armour, weapon control, Spirit (or mana) and experience are the key statistics of your hero/heroine. (Yes they had to throw in a hot little red-headed number with a size 3 waist and a walk like a professional dancer to appeal to the younger members of the audience.) Weapons are broken down into 4 categories, light, fire, ionic and fusion, each requiring specific powerups, ammo and possessing a range of effectiveness against the 40 or so bad guys in the game.

Graphics: 13/20

The display engine in 'Or Die Trying' provides a solid graphical 3D environment with a good splash of 3Dfx support to enhance the game. Super-smooth frame rates, a wide range of weapon and spell effects and various environmental conditions (such as rain and water) would have to be the highs of the display section. Unfortunately, several nagging design flaws such as: a complete lack of any kind of backdrop when outside, (yes I am serious, it is simply jet black except for the immediate vicinity in which you are standing) a far too short range of vision, and the absolute absence of any kind of real lighting effects push O.D.T. into the realm of an arcade experience, which, in my mind, is somewhat dated.

Sound: 12/15

The sound is well done. A nice break from the usual fair of monotonous footsteps and various ambient noises, the O.D.T. programmers went the extra mile for the game with different movement sounds depending on terrain type and even randomizing them between 3 or 4 different effects for each type. Stereo is used to provide an additional 3D enhancement which, when added with the fading features as you approach or leave the source of the sound make for an effective tool as you navigate your way through the different sections of the level.

Gameplay: 17/30

As a unique gaming system, kudos to Psygnosis on the interesting blend of platforms in 'Or die Trying', too bad they just didn't mix that well. From the original role-playing twists of character development to the arcade blasting action and finally the somewhat simplistic puzzle-solving elements of the game, O.D.T. can be labeled a true cross-platform experiment. The sacrifice made for the cross-platform system was that by combining only some of the elements from each type of game I found myself constantly looking for the extra features of each system. ( The occasional BFG9000 would've been nice in the weapons department, maybe some character interaction to develop the role-playing side of my hero or something a little less reminiscent of Prince of Persia 2 would have gone a long ways to increase the puzzle-solving side of the game. Floor plates and light blasters just don't cut it for me anymore.) These things along with the terrible save-game interface and the constant falling off of ledges into a bottomless void made for a bit of a disappointment in the gameplay section.

Fun-Factor: 14/20

As an arcade action game 'Or Die Trying' provides an entertaining diversion for a few hours before some of the really nasty foes begin to make your life a little miserable. Wandering aimlessly through a level searching for that one piece of equipment you missed gets extremely tedious though, and the player's apparent inability to stay on small walkways and the habitual strolling blindly off of precarious ledges did little for my enjoyment of the game.

Multi-Player: 0/5

'Free multi-player patch to be available in March of 1999' What can I say except lame. If you are going to incorporate a feature, do it. Asking people to buy the game and then later (if its a good seller) they'll supply multi-player isn't the way to market. Even at that, the multi-play is dubbed as a 4 user lan addon or 2 user modem play, not great.

Overall Impression: 6/10

'Or Die Trying' is a uniquely different type of game that envelopes platform features from most of the major genres. The arcade style interface is somewhat difficult as there is simply so many things to control on your character. (weapons, spells, explosives, energy units, etc.) I hate to stifle peoples creativity, but unfortunately with O.D.T. this new type of engine just didn't seem to work. Bottom-Line, the first 2 hours are arcade action, the last 10 to 15 hours require character development and patience.

A very different storyline and Sci-fi/fantasy environment make for some refreshingly interesting plots in the game. The fully configurable user-interface in addition to the brave attempt at blending the RPG/Action/Adventure genre's into a single new gaming system.

Annoying save game interface. Lack of any really challenge to the game. The arcade style interface when the game is actually much, much more


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