I would prefer the codename ‘Counter-Strike.’ Review

Codename: Outbreak Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 2 - 2

Publisher

  • Russobit-M

Developer

  • N/A

Release Date

  • 01/01/1970
  • Out Now

Platform

  • PC

rating

I would prefer the codename ‘Counter-Strike.’

Behold this oracle, brought to you by the iridescent prophet you call a monitor.

2012 years after the betrayal of Judas, huge asteroids plummet from the sky,

shaking the earth with ridiculously little impact. Instead of instantaneously

being reduced to steam, the surrounding population (every member of which carries

a sophisticated assault rifle) is taken over by weird crab-like aliens which

pour forth from the smoldering crater.

And

now (ten years in the future, that is), the fate of the Earth is in the hands

of six men with strikingly unique names like “Joker” and “Dragon.” Armed with

advanced weaponry and lousy graphics, these men set forth to undertake an operation

so covert that it will surely be forgotten as soon as you stop reading

this review.

Yes, the folks at Virgin obviously had a crack team of chimpanzees working

on Codename: Outbreak‘s plot around the clock. Cold, weak and fed only

what Fritos were thrown at them by their tormentors (evil video game

people eat Fritos instead of Doritos), the monkeys finally finished

Outbreak‘s miserable story and were released into their natural habitat,

the United States Senate building.

Far from Shakespeare, Outbreak‘s derivative plot is the icing on a very

stale cake. In fact, calling Outbreak a cake would suggest it were created

from raw ingredients. Rather, Outbreak is like a couple half-baked cakes

mashed together and re-baked for ingestion by only the hungriest first-person

shooter fans.

Unfortunately, Outbreak should have studied the play mechanics of its

successors more carefully. General movement is fine, but climbing is specifically

problematic. Climbing steep hills, leaving water, and navigating debris are

all as sloppy as a week-old mud-pie.

When standing on a hill, your player will slowly slide down its face. When

walking on certain debris, your player won’t move unless the jump button is

tapped repeatedly. And, when attempting to climb a shore to leave water your

character will take a couple slow steps and slide back in. In the water situations,

you’ve got to comb the shoreline for the one bit of land on which you can gain

footing. It would have been nice if some texture such as sand could have gotten

you on track, but alas, scalable and non-scalable surfaces look as similar as

two twinkies.

Also, close-quarters combat is an irritating experience, as your high-tech

machine gun/shotgun/laser cannon/sniper rifle all rolled up in one jumps around

like a kangaroo on speed. To make matters worse, you usually jump yourself right

into the middle of a bush. Your enemies, as opposed to falling to the ground

and dying of laughter, proceed to dance around the bush and fill you with holes.

As a result, the enemies are much more manageable if taken from a distance.

There are several reasons for this, the foremost being the scope on your gun

(which happens to contain three or four guns in one). The scope is useful as

it allows you to spot enemies in advance, and either take a smart angle on them

or snipe them.

Unfortunately, there are two problems with sniping enemies. The first is that

they just sit there and take it. Sure, they’ll run around a little, but they

never take cover, which suggests shoddy AI. Secondly, when looked at from a

distance, the enemies are terribly pixelated little stick men. You can’t see

their legs, much less geysers of alien blood spouting from exit wounds.

Then again, the blood doesn’t burst forth in violent song at any point in

Outbreak. Not that that makes sniping any better; if anything it just

makes up-close skirmishes even plainer.

Outbreak plays through twelve missions which all contain boring objectives

and less than stellar gameplay. However, you do get to pick a companion to hold

the bucket while you mop up alien scum, and the companion is a nice touch. However,

since your dialogue is limited to things like “Go, Go, Go!” and “Cover me,”

any sort of coordinated counter-strike

(ahem) is out of the question.

As

mentioned, each weapon in Outbreak is basically several guns in one.

Hypothetically, one could see how access to three or four different types of

ammunition at once could be useful. Maybe you could throw out a volley of bullets

to stun the enemy, and then finish ’em off with a well placed shotgun blast

without missing a beat. However, you still have to cycle through weapons – it’s

just that instead of putting one away and taking another out, the huge barrel

of your gun rotates.

Such a system in no way distinguishes Outbreak‘s gameplay from any

other FPS and appears to be just a cut corner. As opposed to different animations

and postures for each weapon, the designers just drew three or four different

barrels and implemented a rotating animation. Thanks for the half-baked cake.

Outbreak sports some cool features at the beginning of each mission,

like the ability to outfit each soldier with different amounts of ammo and different

kinds of armor. However, while the armors have statistical differences, they

don’t have any really cool extra abilities like cloaking or super jump to really

add much fun. You can choose whether or not to take on a mission during the

day or at night, which would be a cooler feature if Outbreak were a better

game.

The sound effects are decent, even though their implementation is dysfunctional.

While you can hear your cohort’s weapon firing, you can never hear your own.

I’m sure it would sound good if it ever sounded at all.

Aside from its single player campaign, Outbreak has various multiplayer

options, including the ability to play through the single-player campaigns cooperatively.

Unfortunately, the Outbreak multiplayer software doesn’t work well, which

means you need to use Gamespy.

Next to the likes of Red Faction, Counter-Strike,

Serious Sam, Operation

Flashpoint
and Return to Castle

Wolfenstein
, Codename: Outbreak breaks down into a derivative mess

of weak AI, mediocre graphics and a silly plot. While not inedible, this game

is only suitable for the starving.

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

1
Rating
Killer comrade
I love getting stuck in the bushes
Sounds?
Derivative
Inaccessible Multi-play