Shattered Steel Review

Nebojsa Radakovic
Shattered Steel Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1 - 1

Publisher

  • Interplay

Developer

  • N/A

Release Date

  • 12/31/1969
  • Out Now

Platform

  • PC

rating

Picture, if you will,

a post-apocalyptic planet Earth in complete ruins,

controlled by greedy, superlegal corporations who have expanded into the

surrounding solar systems to stip mine them and to feed their voracious

appetite for power. To their surprise, however, strangely belligerent

aliens react none too kindly to the territorial infringements of human

colonists and massacre them, prompting the corporations to hire warriors

with really big, noisy guns to do the dirty work.

Sound familiar? No, it’s not

“Aliens: The Strategy Wargame” (although that would make a pretty awesome title,

I’ll have to admit), it’s Interplay’s Shattered Steel, newly released

for the PC. Borrowing heavily from such plot concepts as Aliens, Blade

Runner
, Mechwarrior, and even Spectre (yes! now all we need

is Bolo). Shattered Steel tries to combine them all as a first-person

campaign shoot-em-um paced along the fairly predictable Hollywood-Cyberpunk

modus operandi.

In Shattered Steel, you take the role of a mercenary planet runner, pilot

of a vehicle by the same name. The small models look something like a

charging, fire-breathing ostridge all wrapped in aluminum foil, but who’s

counting, anyway? As a die hard company employee with little brains, lots

of brawn, a fat pension plan, and zero life insurance, your job is to fly

around enemy-held areas in your corvette spacecraft, protect the life of

the fragile settlers, blow up the big, bad, indiginous critters, and

protect the corporation’s investments. One wonders exactly which economic

genius decided that a one-man operation is the most cost-effective way to

go about things, but since it’s a computer game, how could you violate the

doctrine of “You Against All of Them?”

Interplay designed a good deal of flexibility into the planet runner’s

structure. With 11 different planet runner chassis, over 25 weapons in

either primary or secondary configuraitons, different kinds of power plants

and shield generators to choose from, and the ability to vary power outputs

to different parts of your machine on the fly, the planet runner supports a

performance envelope any pilot can like. Unfortunately, like so many

linear action games out there, you have to find the equipment first.

With an interface reminiscent

of such first-person shooters as Doom and Marathon, Shattered

Steel
sadly also adopts the movement parameters of them, as well. As hard

as it is to imagine a multiton piece of hardware stopping on a dime, it does.

As far as in-cockpit displays go, the lack of a comprehensable compass hinders

mission completetion a bit (no Mechwarrior NAV points here), but the richly-rendered

alien landscape comes though like a charm — missile exhausts, exploding meanies,

and all. There’s just something spine-tingling about seeing a tactical nuke

declare ground zero in the voxel-rendered terrain at your feet, leaving a gaping

blast crater for you to ooh and ahh over.

If you can get through the less than believable storyline (for instance,

the aliens are all as big as your planet runner, with armor skin and potent

weapons), Shattered Steel has a lot to offer to the enterprising player.

Take care to not fast forward through the briefings your ship’s computer

offers. The sheer attitude of the artificial intelligence is worth

listening to, at least for the first few times. The game does not want for

good artwork throughout, though maintaining the high levels of detail

severly taxes the redrawing speed of your computer. Good speakers are a

definite must, as Shattered Steel is filled with enriching sound effects,

not to mention above average background music.

All in all, Shattered Steel performs like an upgraded version of Reality Byte’s HAVOC, fun as a first-person

shooter with lots of geometric ugly things to rip through, all bundled in a

complex campaign storyline. Yet it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. Like

other reviewers have stated, Shattered Steel takes a lot of different

game and plot componenets “and combines them into one neat package.”

Overstated? Maybe. But revolutionary? Hardly.

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

Rating7
Good gameplay, graphics, sound.
We've seen it all before