Farscape: The Game features single-player team-based action suffused with role playing and adventure elements in which you lead a team of three members from the crew of the living ship Moya in 26 missions highlighted by melee and ranged combat. Initially you control team leader John Crichton with "sidekick" Chiana (thief), but eventually choose your team from the series' favorites, Aeryn Sun (soldier), Dominar Rygel XVI (negotiator), Ka D'Argo (warrior) and Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan (healer) depending on mission needs.
The arsenal of chemical, physical and energy-based weapons includes pulse pistols, energy rifles, blades, knives, clubs, launchers, hand cannons, and incinerators. Credits earned by defeating enemies (both their equipment and bodies), finding stash boxes, and collecting other planetary items can be traded at the central town for health kits, balms, symbiotic bugs, ammunition, tech equipment and weapons. Three hostile species inhabit the desert world where Crichton's Peacekeeper crash lands: Fizrik (large aggressive flying insects), Whathrian (melee fighting pack hunters), and Doclan (giant creatures who use chemical attacks).
Additional features of Farscape gameplay include switching team members to utilize strengths and unique abilities, exploiting enemy weaknesses, tracking your position in huge 3D environments via radar, and strategizing the limits of your inventory. Voiceovers by the original cast of Farscape lend authenticity to the science fiction story.
Between the good idea and the sidetracking, Farscape, the TV show, produced some of the best science fiction that we have seen since the demise of Next Generation. Farscape, the game, however, was of little entertainment value at any time during its brief sojourn on my computer. It's a shame, really. The Farscape universe could be deep, rich, creative, and exciting, but the game borrows little from that universe, except for the actors' voices and polygonal characters that somewhat resemble the actors themselves.
The plot is simple, but bears little resemblance to the final episodes in the series. Crichton (a surfer-dude astronaut) and Chiana (a sex-kitten alien) are stranded on a strange planet's surface. They must find the pieces to put their spaceship back together, investigate some strange occurrences, and subsequently -- with the help of the other members of the cast -- make the galaxy safe for whatever it needs to be made safe for.
Farscape is a self-described team-based action game, a genre that includes games like Commandos, Shadow Company and Star Trek: Away Team. Unfortunately, for fans of the genre, Farscape has very little in common with those titles. Gamers control up to three characters, but the artificial intelligence is so poor that characters are only truly useful when under direct player control. Frequently, a computer-controlled friendly will stand in the midst of a horde of enemies trading shots until he or she is killed. In fact, the non-controlled character artificial intelligence is so bad that the gamer is plainly told (in several places, no less) to control characters in critical situations if they hope to keep them alive.
The missions aren't very diversified, and entail little more than roaming a level, blasting anything that gets in your way, and following an arrow to your next objective. There are a couple of half-hearted attempts at stealth missions, but serve as the exception rather than the rule. You'll spend most of the game controlling Crichton and Chiana, which seems a bit odd; D'argo and Aeryn are the TV show's badasses, yet you don't get a chance to use their talents until later in the game. Each character has a strong suit -- Chiana is good at stealth, and D'argo loves to fight, while Crichton is a technical wizard -- it's just too bad that these traits weren't critical to gameplay.
On the plus side are the different weapon effects. Weapons are one of three types: chemical, energy, or physical. Each race in the game is susceptible to one particular type of weapon, so it's important to discover your enemy's weakness and then plaster him or her with the appropriate weapon.
Graphically, Farscape has a real two-years-ago look about it. The characters are blocky and the environments unimaginative. Conversely, the voice acting is topnotch, and for good reason -- the game uses the original voice talent from the show.
Farscape is a mediocre game. It's certainly not the worst I've played, but neither does it have the spark that draws gamers in. Folks who love Farscape the TV show may like it, as well as team strategy gamers who can't live without every game in the genre.
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