Nice shot, Gold Leader. Now let's see about that exhaust vent.
The popular shooter for the PC now has a Macintosh translation. Though possessing good anime-style graphics and realistic sound, I-Motion'sChaos Control performs not so much like an arcade shooter than as a movie with some audience participation.
In Chaos Control, you play the role of Lieutenant Jessica Darkill, ace pilot and daughter of the leader of the Earth's military forces. As the game opens, the ugly and evil Keshran seize the old Pioneer space probe in the year 2050 and somehow use it to plot the overthrow of the Earth's inhabitants. (V-ger! V-ger! Join with the creator!) After a stunning defeat at the Earth's Mars colony, human forces fall back to the home planet to receive the Keshran's attack. Of course, no one counted on the dashing heroics of the amazing, and not-so-surprisingly beautiful (hey, it's anime, remember?), Lieutenant Darkill, who, in classic blockade runner style bursts through the Keshran lines and rendezvous with the Earthling forces in downtown Manhattan, with the ultimate intention of taking down the orbiting Keshran flagship... eventually.
Though the storyline offers potential as an interesting arcade shooter, the game gives you no control over the movement of your fighter. Instead, it whisks you sometimes mindlessly along a predetermined route, while you use the mouse to blast Keshran drones, fighters, powersuits, and sometimes unlucky humans. Chaos Control doesn't need a manual: pointing and clicking is easy enough for anyone to figure out on their own. Add the use of some movement keys or puzzle-solving to the game and maybe Chaos Control could be something interesting, but I-Motion decided to do neither, and the whole package suffers as a result.
Still, Chaos Control could get by as a simple movie-like adventure if not for the jerky performance of the video sequences. At a few points, even when running on a quad speed CD-ROM drive and virtual memory turned off, important monologues are so choppy as to be totally incomprehensible. The jitteriness of the game also gets in the way of weapon aim, sometimes letting the enemy get in that extra shot before finding his way the scrap heap.
Probably to cut down on memory requirements and redrawing time, enemies never disappear from the screen once destroyed. A smoke cloud simply covers them up as they drift along their predestined course across the computer screen. This can get in the way of firing, too, as other enemies can hide behind the leader, making life a pain for the headstrong Lieutenant Darkill.
One interesting thing about the game play in Chaos Control: there's no way to quit the game once you start. No amount of pressing the escape key or command-quit will exit Chaos Control; the only way to exit is to let yourself die. That's harder than it sounds, though. Try just letting the computer run through the scenario once without pressing the mouse button once. Go ahead, try it. Yup, it seems that on the average scenario, enemy shots don't do enough damage to actually kill you. Instead, the game lets you off with a kind of panimmunity until you get to some of the higher levels.
As mentioned earlier, Chaos Control has a decidedly Japanese flavor to it. All the characters could pass for the pawns in an anime plot, black hair has that blue tinge to it, and every spaceship resembles a giant phallic symbol. Not that the game's Japanese accent is a completely bad thing, though. Full 360 degree rotational views give the Power PC chip a full workout; a task that, apart from the few instances of jerkiness,Chaos Control handles admirably.
Chaos Control is a case of a program stuck halfway between a game
and an animated story. Take out the shooting aspect of it, and you get a
pretty decent cinematic time-filler. Add a bit more player control and the
game could actually go somewhere. Instead, Chaos Control is a CD
best left on the shelf.