Watch out Lara Croft! A new female heroine of impossible strength and figure, Julie Strain, has entered the 3D video game world and this time the fate of an entire planet is at stake.
Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2 takes place 30 years after the animated film of the same name and creates an entirely new story. The graphics are astounding and hardly ever interfere with the dynamics of gameplay. It's much like Ultima IX: Ascension in that the game is a virtual 3D world where you move about freely but are more constrained since you can't travel around the entire area and are directed toward a specific direction or goal.
Before you even begin your journeys through Eden and start defending the planet, you enter training (recommended). It's a very extensive training process in which you discover how to use many types of weapons (and there are quite a few), learn how to grab on to ledges and navigate through various terrain (swing on ropes and climb across poles). As Julie, you'll need to master all the many different maneuvers.
The training shows you what each status bar represents and how to use all the function keys (e.g., pressing 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 selects different weapons and pressing "C" makes you to crouch). The training area of the game is very informative (and necessary) as it prepares you for the obstacles and actions encountered during the game.
Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2 takes place on a peaceful and serene planet where people are living normal daily lives. As time advances, a story of evil forces that would conspire to annihilate this peace unfolds. The game really grabs and throws you into another world that is both immersive and suspenseful.
It's an action game with a role playing storyline and everything plays out as if you were watching a movie. When you talk to characters, the computer takes control of Julie and you can just sit back and watch the action which is fast paced and intense.
The first battle you fight is against some ravenous insects that swarm around you at lightning speeds. Your weapon is a sword and, although it's easy to defeat the insects, you can't do so without getting bitten a few times. You see quite a bit of your blood spill even from the first monsters you encounter and this sets the stage for a very violent game.
Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2 is not a game for the timid or young. While the general pace is slow in the beginning, the speed and amount of gore picks up when Gith's soldiers arrive. As you put pieces of the puzzle together, be prepared for some intense gameplay that becomes very vicious and fierce.
Variety in weaponry is a key aspect to the game and is very impressive. Blades aren't limited to the usual short sword and broadsword; you'll be able to wield fire, electrical and chainsaw swords along with the standard Green Sword. Shields can be equipped when you're using one-handed swords or guns.
Slings allow you to solve puzzles, knock health plants off high ledges and distract enemies. Guns include an Uzi, handgun and electronic crossbow. It's very easy to maneuver and fire your guns as the designers did a great job of mapping movements by using the mouse and keyboard. You can rotate the camera entirely around Julie when she's moving on a ledge simply by moving the mouse. Combo moves can be tricky but practice makes perfect!
Thermal detonators and rocket launchers allow you to blow things up in style! The former must be combined with glowing meteorites or dung in order to provide a proper explosion. Weapons you receive in the game increase in potency and destruction as you progress, such as the XP-80 (combination chain gun and plasma cannon) that works to advantage while confronting hordes of enemies.
One aspect of the game that doesn't stack up is Julie's pathetic armor. It's blatantly obvious that the designers simply didn't want to cover up her figure with any sort of protection. The only armor you find in the game is in the form of shoulder, forearm or knee protection. It is hard to imaging how having some metal on your shoulders and knees could protect you against giant bugs or flesh machines. The forearm metal could perhaps block weapons but the rest seems ridiculous.
This brings up another issue: Julie's appearance. Many male players (and perhaps some females) will love how Julie looks. But the designers make it possible for her to lose parts of her clothing as the game progresses and this could offend some people. While it's true these same people may not like the game anyway, Ritual Entertainment could have toned it down a bit.
It's a very violent and very sexy game that will surely appeal to a certain group of people while disgusting others. The bottom line is you'll either love it or hate it but, either way, it's not an issue to dwell on. Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2 combines a fascinating story, gorgeous landscape and furious action into one mega-game.
If games like Tomb Raider are your thing, then you should enjoy this one. Although the action is similar, the enemies and storyline are more original. Overall, it's a fantastic game and you'll have a difficult time finding much to gripe about.
Graphics: The scenery is lush and beautiful with great detail and few noticeable glitches. Enemies are always unique and greatly detailed, Julie's clothing changes periodically and you can easily notice new weapons or armor. The 3D rotation you can perform with the mouse is very smooth for 3dfx Voodoo and other enhanced graphic cards.
Sound: An excellent aspect to the game. The introduction music is very cool and the entire game has an original musical score that is very exciting. The sounds are intense and you'll even hear the roar of waterfalls, mechanical buildings and far off explosions. Character voices are, for the most part, unique.
Enjoyment: The game is a lot of fun but certain monsters and puzzles can be quite taxing. You'll get stuck in certain areas and may even need to stop playing to recoup but once you renew your efforts the fascination is renewed. The weapons are all fun to use and the action is intense!
Replay Value: This is a single quest action game and after you've beaten it the only plausible reason to replay the game is to find items that you couldn't locate the first time you played. It's quite possible to miss some items in a first run through.
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