When Thunder Tanks fly!
Due to the extraordinary success of World Destruction League: Thunder Tanks and the record-breaking sales it produced, 3DO has made another addition to the WDL series, Warjetz. Er ... sarcasm just isn't the same in print.
3DO is driving us nuts. First, they keep making games that suck. Second, when they finally make a game that's decent, they then milk the franchise with sequel after sequel until it sours (forgive the pun). Just take a gander at the Might and Magic series.
Now they've managed to combine the two. They made a poor game, and are now following up with a bad sequel.
Warjetz is the illegitimate child of Twisted Metal and Warhawk. Or to put it another way, it's Thunder Tanks with wings. Both WDL games are similar, sharing even the same menu screen.
The game doesn't have much of a story. As far as I can tell, the future is pretty messed up due to some sort of heinous bomb/apocaplype/epidemic, and the WDL hosts these tournaments that mess it up some more. Think Mad Max without the mohawks or the cool little boomerang kid.
You have the option to pilot several modified aircraft. There are larger craft with heavy armor or lighter ones that sacrifice armor for more maneuverability. From there, you travel from country to country challenging their champion gang. Once the gang is defeated, you are able to fly their vehicle of choice. The object is to defeat the champions in various contests, collect Bux (money, as spelled by our bong-ripping friends at 3DO), and destroy whatever obstacles might get in the way. This includes passenger trains, buildings and historical landmarks that our civilization deems no longer important.
Each stage has three levels to complete before a given vehicle is unlocked. The sad part is that almost every stage of every territory has the same objectives. With a few exceptions, they are: Capture the Flag, Collect Bux or Escort Something Through Enemy Territory. All the while, you have ground forces and enemy aircraft to dispatch. Now repeat that ten or so times and you have Warjetz.
Really. That's about it as far as gameplay goes. This might have been okay a few years ago, but in today's market we need a little more food at the table to keep the feast merry. Warjetz is woefully limited in its fun factor and appeal.
The game doesn't offer much graphically. Every level looks largely the same. It's as if obstacles (buildings and such) change but everything else remains similar. For example, many of the gun turrets and ground vehicles are textured the same no matter what country you're in. In addition, each stage has the exact same bland color scheme. When boring scenery and repetitive mission objectives are combined, there isn't much left to entice.
Since the game is called World Destruction League, you would imagine that there are a lot of explosions. Indeed, there are, and they look pretty bad. The Bux don't stop there, either. Both in-game and CG sequences are choppy at times and thoroughly uninspired.
I completely understand that Warjetz is in no way a simulation of real aircraft. Regardless, there are several rules that should still apply to any sort of flying game, the first being what happens when you fly your plane into the ground at full speed. Shouldn't that mean instant death? Or at least a twisted ankle? In the fantasy world of 3DO, my aircraft bounces off the ground with only minor damage. However, flying into a cliff and other seemingly random obstacles makes the plane explode after one hit.
The lack of consistency is awful. If I crash into an object, it should be either instant death or minor damage, not a combination of the two.
It may be hard to believe, but Warjetz does have its merits, most of which can be attributed to the voice acting. Bad voiceovers can really hinder a game, and surprisingly the quality here is pretty high.
Plus, the sheer havoc you can wreak on the environments is pretty cool. Almost anything short of the sky, ground and walls can be annihilated, which leads to some pretty hectic moments of frantic action.
But none of that makes up for Warjetz's long list of shortcomings. This marks yet another disappointment from 3DO, and it sure ain't worth fifty clams.