"Techno-Metal-Leather Pants, Guns, and Cannibal Girls. Where's the Warning Bell?"
Another review, another dumb question to start it off with: Have you ever bitten your toenails? Have you every bitten anyone else's? Remember the flavor? The nuveau experience of crunching that calcium? Or chewing the tender flesh under it? Wasn't it yummy? Didn't it excite you? Didn't you wish you could much on toe forever and ever?
Well, you're not alone! (oh, another Cliché!) The Red Sixers also enjoy the fine and delicate pleasure of dinning upon toe materials! Who the hell are they? Glad you asked! They are Bad Ass Mothers (Baby! Shut your mouth!) who have no qualms and split no monkeys over digesting human body parts! They inhabit the bizarre and post-apocalyptic world of Redline, a new, cool, and flavorful auto-combat/first-person-shooter that the boys over at Accolade crafted for your pleasure, and for the sake of saving the toes!
In the future, the year 2066 to be precise, the world has become baked and crisp. Mega corporations were hiding beneficial secrets from the populace. The populace found out. They were mad. They rebelled. The mega-corps detonated several nukes on the moon. Apparently these nukes were powerful enough to irradiate earth (yeah….right….with you on that one). There is also some unexplained buisness about a new energy source called 'Orgone.'
So now all the rich people, the 'Insiders,' live comfortably in protected domes while everyone else lives outside and fights a lot. The world is divided mostly into gangs which are funded by the Insiders and compete in combat. All this is televised for the viewing pleasure of the rich fops living inside their shinny truncated spheres.
Here's an odd question? Any of you out there remember the Atari Lynx game BattleWheels? Redline is the sequel.
In Redline you play some shmoe who made a name for himself in the BattleWheels tournaments and wants to join 'The Company', the most human of the four gangs. Once in, you must do battle with the other gangs, such as the Red Sixers, who are a motley crew of mutated Cannibals, the cyborg Lepers, and the Zealots, who believe that GodZilla is God, no Zilla.
Once given a mission by your oh-so-stylish, fast talking boss Liddy, you go out into the irraditated world to kill things. This is where the fun begins.
Roughly half of the time in Redline you will be in one type of vehicle or another, or in turrets. In this mode you drive around with the keyboard and aim with the mouse. You may also leave your car, walk around on foot, steal other cars, and cause much destruction while doing all of that. This split gameplay prohibits the use of a desktop racing wheel for controlling the car as you are frequently jumping in and out of cars and you cant just rip off and reattach a racing wheel to your desk every 20 seconds. However, using the keyboard, the control is sharp and responsive. As you are using the keyboard for the entire game, Redline lets you configure totally different control sets for On-Foot and Driving. Racing fans be warned though: this is purely an arcade driver and a first person shooter.
In the car, you have up to 3 forward weapons, two side weapons, and 3 rear weapons. Implements of pain include machine guns, laser beams, rail guns, missiles, grenades, landmines, and a few very colorful BFG style plasma launchers. Victory absolutely requires that you maintain a constant barrage on you enemies while preserving the structural integrity of your ride. If the car goes, you wont last long on foot.
On foot, you have in your possession the world's most useful gun. It's an assault rifle that with the touch of a button, spins around to another barrel, essentially new weapons. The Swiss-Army gun includes a 'Bone Saw' helicopter style chainsaw, a machine gun, shotgun, sniper rifle, grenade launcher, missile launcher, alien pulse weapon, mini-gun, a yellow rail gun, and an EMP weapon used to eject drivers from their cars so you can hop on in, kick the tires and light the fires.
The fast, tense action of the driving and the heavy hitting first person combat makes Redline a varied, reliable, and extremely satisfying action orgy, complete with all sorts of partners to do cruel things to.
The environments in the game convey a real sense of size and grandeur. In the car you must exploit the size of the areas so as to be able to maneuver your way to firepower victory, you stop and you soon will die. On foot, the portions of the game that take place in doors too are very, very large. The size of the levels and the size of the sometimes awe-inspiring chambers do well to offset the fact that overall the architecture, though fairly unique and expansive, is not particularly ornate.
Graphically, Redline excels. Powered by Accolade's proprietary Daedalus engine, the environments are huge, flashy, colorful, brilliantly textured stages for the impressive display of pyrotechnic prowess found in Redline. Colored lighting, chrome mapping, fogging, and some of the most expressive special effects in the Action game genre, combine to make Redline cocaine powered eye candy. Sound is also impressive, with meaty effects at times, like when you run over an enemy with your car in a gore spattering Carmageddon moment. The techno-industrial soundtract in turn does a good job of bringing you into the action and readying you for some killing.
Although Redline is easily one of the most enjoyable pure action games to come out this year, there are a few spots of tarnish on the mantle. Most egregious in the terrible brevity of the game: only 12 single player missions are included. Although each one is of decent size and much fun, the total playing time in single player is ridiculously short, just give yourself a few hours of continual play and you're done. There are also a few rough spots in the graphics: The animation for the on foot characters is almost remarkably lacking, having only a few frames for each character and few special case animations like clutching a heart or fumbling around with grasping arms, looking for a lost head. There is also a problem with the Artificial Intelligence as it has a hard time spotting you. Once it does though, your opponents have deadly aim.
If not for the few, yet pronounced errors, Redline would be an A- game. It has fantastic graphics, high energy action, engaging single player, varied and frantic multiplayer, and a great sense of style. Still, if your in the mood for the action game equivalent to the movie "The Matrix," look no further, your game has arrived. Oh, and go watch "The Cannibal Girls," you'll love the sound of the Warning Bell.