Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter Review

Ben Silverman
Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1

Publisher

  • Vivendi

Developer

  • Vivendi
  • Warthog

Release Date

  • 11/30/1999
  • Out Now

Platform

  • PS2
  • Xbox

rating

I’d rather be Boba Fett.

You

have

to

appreciate

the

thought

behind

Mace

Griffin:

Bounty

Hunter
.

Though

it’s

been

cooking

in

the

development

oven

for

a little

too

long,

how

can

you

not

be

somewhat

intrigued

by

the

prospect

of

a first-person

shooter/space-action

adventure

combo

that

allows

seamless

transition

between

the

two

genres?

That

sounds

really

good

on

paper.

Unfortunately, paper is the only place you’re going to find that kind of innovation,

because the final product doesn’t offer the experience we were all hoping for.

Instead, Mace Griffin is an average FPS that lets you fly around and

dogfight a little. It shoots for the stars, but winds up getting lost in the

clouds thanks to its limited depth and very standard corridor shooting.

This

sci-fi game takes place about 500 years in the future. You’re Mace Griffin,

an ex-Ranger (cop) who has just gotten out of prison after being framed for

the death of your squadmates. With little identity and nowhere to turn, you

find yourself drawn to a life of bounty hunting, a gun for hire, and set out

to reclaim your life and discover who set you up in the first place.

Apparently,

the

best

way

to

do

this

is

to

kill

everyone

you

meet.

You

progress

through

the

completely

linear

story

taking

job

after

job,

which

amounts

to

you

flying

off

to

different

asteroid

bases/spaceports/mining

areas

and

accomplishing

some

basic

missions,

such

as

flipping

one

lever

somewhere

to

stop

something

from

exploding.

Though

told

through

plenty

of

in-game

cut

scenes,

the

plot

just

isn’t

very

engrossing.

For that matter, neither is the gameplay. Most of Mace Griffin takes

place on the ground in a straightforward fragfest. You run into a room, kill

all the bad guys, open a door, and then kill more guys. Rinse and repeat. The

levels are admittedly huge, and you’ll always know where to go thanks to the

mission objective compass at the top of the screen. It’s a good thing it’s there,

too, since half of the time you have no idea what it is exactly you’re supposed

to be doing. You only find out when you reach the objective and flip the switch

or kill the guy.

You

carry

a

payload

of

futuristic

weapons,

which

are

just

sci-fi

versions

of

standard

munitions



a

futuristic

pistol,

a

futuristic

shotgun,

a

futuristic

sniper

rifle,

etc.

Some

futuristic

grenades

are

here

too,

but

you’ll

never

use

them

because

they’re

possessed

with

the

souls

of

long-dead

tap

dancers,

flipping

and

bouncing

all

over

the

place,

making

nearly

impossible

to

accurately

toss

them

anywhere.

One

nice

thing

about

the

fragging

is

the

auto-aim

toggle,

which

when

turned

on

allows

more

targeting

leniency.

Switch

it

off

and

you’ll

stand

a

much

better

chance

at

landing

headshots,

but

only

if

you

aim

carefully.

To spice it up, Mace Griffin lets you seamlessly transition between

these on-foot action bits to space dogfighting sequences. You’ll start each

level by landing your ship on some planetoid using the dumbest docking feature

ever, just guiding your ship through two or three big red rectangles. It’s easy

and completely unnecessary. Then you’ll run around shooting things. Then you’ll

hop back into your ship, fly around and shoot at enemy craft, and then sit through

an often lengthy cut scene that ends with you either 1.) Pressing ‘Y’ to ‘warp

to your next destination’ or 2.) Landing back on the planetoid for another round

of fragging.

The

flow

is

maddeningly

repetitive.

It’s

also

way,

way

too

linear.

You

cannot

fly

around

and

explore

at

your

own

free

will.

Instead,

you

just

land

on

a

big

base,

kill

stuff,

shoot

ships,

then

move

on

to

the

next

level.

The

only

time

you

really

sense

the

seamlessness

of

the

game

world

is

when

your

ship

is

being

automatically

landed

via

a

tractor

beam

and

you

take

your

hands

off

the

controls

to

wander

around

the

ship

while

it’s

moving.

It’s

almost

rude

of

the

developers

at

Warthog

to

give

us

this

world,

only

to

force

us

to

play

through

it

along

rigid

rails.

The

dogfighting

bits

are

also

far

too

easy,

which

is

a

letdown

since

Warthog

are

also

the

folks

who

ported

Starlancer

over

to

the

Dreamcast

so

many

years

back.

You

fly

one

ship,

the

Pallbearer,

for

most

of

the

game,

and

you

are

not

given

any

customization

options

at

all.

Rather,

you

just

thrust

and

aim

your

way

through

simple

target-and-shoot

dogfights,

rarely

taking

critical

damage.

Each

ship

carries

a

predetermined

payload,

so

don’t

think

you’ll

be

able

to

arm

yourself

with

a

wide

variety

of

missiles.

It’s

just

not

very

fun.

But on the flipside, the fragging certainly has its moments. Though the weapons are very standard, they’re also very efficient and genuinely fun to use. Enemies gib and explode into bloody pieces left and right, which should satisfy your inner space sadist. While the AI is mediocre at best, occasionally you’ll find yourself surround by a gang of bad guys while being pounded by sniper fire. It can get hairy and at times provides a really good challenge.

Whether you’re flying or fragging, Mace Griffin looks good, particularly

on the Xbox. Textures are crisp, the framerate is steady and some of the lighting

effects are great. The PS2 version is much more ragged, but still gets the job

done. Though enemy animations tend to repeat a lot, the weapon reload animations

are super cool. No major complaints about the visuals.

Mace

is

voiced

by

none

other

than

Black

Flag

veteran

Henry

Rollins
.

Sadly,

the

tepid

plot

and

weak

writing

don’t

use

the

intense

poet’s

rage

very

well,

effectively

docking

this

pit

bull’s

tail.

The

score

is

fine

and

the

sound

effects

are

accurate,

at

least.

Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter is also something of a misnomer, as you

don’t truly hunt for bounties. You don’t earn cash to buy new weapons or upgrade

your ship’s armaments. You don’t even choose which missions to take, which is

a shame since Warthog also developed the fantastic, multi-path Colony

Wars
games for the PSX. It’s shallow, linear fragging through and through.

And don’t expect to hunt bounties over the Internet, either, as the game features

no online multiplayer or any other game modes, for that matter. It’s the Story

or bust, which severely limits the replayability.

Considering the other Xbox FPS options out there in RTCW,

Unreal Championship and even the recent

Brute Force, and considering PS2 games like No

One Lives Forever
and Red Faction

II
, this seemingly ambitious title is tough to recommend beyond a rental.

We were hoping for Grand Theft Galaxies, but we wound up with Doom

In Space.

 

 

 

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

2
Rating
Looks good
Some decent frag fun
Big levels
Brutally linear
No multiplayer whatsoever
No ship customization
Repetitive gameplay