Burnt, beat-up, and blistered.
The colony world, Dator 5, is under attack from the marauding Voraxian Hordes. The people have sent out a distress call to the Galactic Federation, but yours is the only Galactic ship in the vicinity. Dator 5 will be taken. Your job is to save the humans.
Jump into your Type 16 morphing vehicle and get ready for some fun. You can traverse the landscape either as a tank, or with the press of a button, an aircraft. You must use both vehicles for tactical reasons, but, you might want to use 'em just because they're a hell of a lot of fun to play with.
When you first start playing, you'll notice the cool Full Motion Video intro sequence. It's not a revolution in FMV, but, it portrays the story well. Then you'll be forced in to the menu screen, which was poorly thought-out and drawn, creating unnecessary confusion. Once you first start up the game, an actor tells you about the mission. These actors just plain stink. Either the timing is off or their voices were dubbed. It's just plain annoying, you'll want to press escape quickly. The worst part about it is that there are only 3 actors. And they are used 18 times. The only difference is some cheesy facial props used in an attempt to make them look different, it's hilarious to look at. That's about the only incentive to watch the movies.
However, the game graphics are awesome. The mountainous environment looks great, and the physics feel right too. The first thing you'll see is a large ship wreaking havoc on a city below, with its inhabitants screaming and running around wildly. Drive in, grab the humans, and run away before the mother-ship attempts to shoot you too. Fly through the space gate and the humans will be transported off the planet. Continue to do this until the allotted number of humans have been saved, then continue on to the next level. Simple, eh? Not exactly. There will be pterodactyls, spiders, yetis, mammoths, bees, gun turrets, zombies, and other enemies to stop you. They can also hurt the human population, and if the population goes under the number of humans required to beat the level, guess what? Instantly hundreds of enemies are released coming to destroy you, and there's no way out.
Some of the graphics for the creatures are sub-par. The landscape is made up of many polygons, and looks really good. But, the monsters are only sometimes texture mapped, other times just made up of solid colors. Only adding to this graphical grief, they are blocky and ugly. Luckily, your Type 16 vehicle looks quite good, texture mapped and made up of many polygons. Its animation's are exceptional, I was caught by surprise when I saw my first transformation from tank to plane - it was really fluid.
The controls are responsive and accurate. No more will you stand dumbfounded at the crappy response in Win95 titles, Scorched Planet will do what you want, when you want it. There are a lot of options in the controls too, you can aim your turret up and down, strafe left and right, as well as turning and going forward. The lack of a reverse is annoying, but it is made up for by having a key that does a automatic 180. It looks cheesy because the model just flips, with no animation, it just changes direction. They would have been better off with a reverse key.
One of the best features is the multiple viewing angles. You have two options of 1st person perspectives, one with a large tactical display, the other with just a small surrounding of numbers. Then you have overhead, a diagonal 3/4 view, side view, back view, and front view. You can get just about anywhere around your vehicle, allowing you to find the angle you like best.
Scorched Planet also has the option to play eight players over a local area network in either a killmatch, where points are awarded for killing the other players, or a savematch, where you get points for killing players, but, get double points for each human you save. The fact that it has a savematch built in makes it superior to other games which only have the kill everyone option.
The sounds aren't great, but they fit the game. The lasers sound phony, but the tank and plane have decent sounds. Nothing special here. There really isn't music in the game, it's a 10-20 second clip played over and over again. You don't really notice it because it's somewhat soft, and the action helps dilute you from hearing the monotony.
Care for another gun toting vehicle game? This one's pretty good.