If only the reality of gameplay in Maabus could live up to it's incredibly well done hype, the game would be a classic, sitting on the shelf of every adventure gamer ever to lift a mouse. Unfortunately, the game falls far short of the glitzy advertising campaign that accompanied it when released in 1995. The story is fairly simple. You've been employed by the US Army to investigate the disappearance of a twelve man special operations force sent to a tropical island, Aloratora, about 1500 kilometers southwest of Hawaii, and to find the source of a mysterious form of radiation that was pinpointed two months previously by a US reconnaissance satellite scanning the South Pacific region. The 12-man force is missing and presumed dead. You've got to rely on your wits and your mobile computer gadget, the Krawler 1000, to gather and analyze samples from the island and get to the bottom of this potentially disastrous outbreak. Unfortunately, you discover you're not alone on the island as mutated creatures, apparently remnants from an abandoned zoo constructed around the turn of the century by a wealthy recluse, Franklin Gutenberg (who also built an airstrip and mansion, both now in ruins), roam freely. As you soon find out, there are other entities on the island as well.
From that promising premise, Maabus slides into a morass of less than spectacular gameplay and disappointing underachievement. To be kind, suffice it to say the interface in Maabus is sluggish. Control of your mobile unit (basically a computer tank) is limited to either moving straight ahead or turning at 90 degree angles. When you've got a glimpse of a creature that's intent on destroying you quickly, this can be a very annoying problem as you try to get the vehicle lined up exactly right. But that's the least of your worries. As you fire your weapon, all too often the sluggish controls of the game don't even register that you clicked the mouse button (combat is simply aiming and clicking) and you're monster hash before you can blink an eye. The only strategy that really works is to scout out the area you're exploring a couple times, getting killed along the way, then restoring your game with a good idea of where the nasties are to get the jump on them. All of this is really too bad since the graphics in Maabus are, for the most part, a treat. Rich and vibrant colors, clear and crisp artwork and generally interesting creatures give the game a very nice visual look. But the animation and videos are slow and the controls are far too often unresponsive.
Maabus would have been great to play if the actual game had delivered on the promises of revolutionary features like captivating video clips and animation. And the best part of the plot was reading about it. Shipping on 3 CD's, Maabus surprisingly takes a relatively short time (no more than 5 hours for a novice) to complete. The best advice is to invest the hours elsewhere.
Graphics: Good clean artwork, crisp colors and pleasant 3D environment.
Sound: Don't buy the game for the original, haunting musical score. The only thing that will haunt you is the money you spent for it.
Enjoyment: Like to die over and over and over and over? The slow response alone is enough to kill most enjoyment that could be realized playing Maabus. Other than the back story, the plot is very limited and the fun factor is replaced by tedium. There's not a whole lot of gameplay here.
Replay Value: Why? In this one, when you're done, you're done.
Bizarre radiation is discovered on a remote tropical island, and you are chosen to pilot an automated probe to discover the source of the radiation. As in most adventure games, you must find the clues and keys to solve the puzzle and (inevitably) prevent the destruction of Earth. Maabus uses three CD's worth of Quick-Time Video clips to generate scene transitions as you pilot an automated tank across the mysterious island.
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