This is how I see it… Review

Carnage Heart Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1 - 1

Publisher

  • Sony

Developer

  • N/A

Release Date

  • 12/31/1969
  • Out Now

Platform

  • PS

rating

This is how I see it…

One day in Japan’s Silicon Valley (wherever that may

be), a bunch of game programmers were having a rough day. The sake was

running low and it was still three and a half hours until knocking off

time. What’s more it was a Monday. And it was raining. Anyway, one of the

aforementioned layabouts leaned his chair back against the wall of his tiny

cubicle, kicked back his heels and groaned. “I can’t be bothered with these

cursed algorithms any more. I really don’t give two hoots about whether

these robots should duck or jump or stand on their heads when approached

within 100 meters by an enemy tank.” At least he groaned something along

those lines, and probably it was in Japanese. You get the idea.

His mate next door (or next cubicle) stuck his head over the separating partition

(it was a small partition, his mate was kind of short) and replied: “Yeah.

I wish we could have the players make up their minds about it. They can

write the devil-plagued algorithms!”

Thus was born Carnage Heart. The two mates went down to the pub early

and ordered themselves an expensive imported Budweiser to celebrate.

In Carnage Heart, the game designers have taken the modern combat strategy

game and looked at it from an unusual perspective. The overall idea will be

familiar to many readers – you build an army of robots, manage their

production, bargain for secret weapons, and pit them against your foes

in the field of battle (or in this case the moons of Jupiter). In Carnage

Heart
, however, your minions will not behave unless you have specifically

told them to beforehand. They won’t so much as duck when a ruddy great

missile is coming straight at their moronic heads unless you have

programmed that particular (and, under most circumstances you will admit,

desirable) response into their pathetically small and simplistic brains.

Equally they won’t so much as fart in the general direction of the

missile’s origin unless you have previously embedded that action into their

inadequate CPU. Imagine playing Command and Conquer having merely a bunch

of lobotomized monkeys with a collective navel fetish at your disposal.

That’s what you will end up with unless you have pre-programmed in them an

adequate set of actions and responses.

Once they are in the heat of battle, you no longer have control over your violent children.

So you better have done the business well, or your much vaunted (and expensive) units

will be no more than smoldering heaps of junk. This is the essence of the

game. It is your job to put the Carnage in their Hearts!

Oh – there are other aspects of the game. It is up to you to optimize the

armor, engine, weaponry (even color scheme) of your death merchants. It

is up to you to deploy them in a strategically sensible manner (although

this portion of the game, in my opinion, provides no more sophistication

than a game of tic-tac-toe). As mentioned previously, there is the

possibility of negotiating with arms manufacturers in order to upgrade your

equipment (you can eventually end up with tanks and flying machinery).

You can, for example, support their research and development or merely

purchase available products. If you build up a good relationship with a particular

company, they may even provide you with information regarding the actions

and purchases of your enemy.

An entire CD is, in fact, given over to a mission briefing/tutorial. An

opportunity, you might think, to explain some of the nuances of a novel

game. An opportunity wasted, I am afraid. This CD is essentially a linear

movie, providing no more information than a quick scan of the instructions

or a bit of experimentation with the game itself. In any case, all this is

to a large degree peripheral to the programming aspect of the game. You

will spend the vast majority of time working out how to make your bots

effective in their search, evasion and attack patterns. Hence the

programmer’s strategy guide which accompanies the game’s overall

instruction manual (and is about twice as thick).

I must have spent a good five hours trying to get into this game, because for the most part I

cherish hard-core strategy games above all others. I made a bot that would

duck (and then jump sideways) if it was shot at. On the other hand it ended

up shooting its buddies in front before eventually ending up against the

side of the battlefield vainly trying to jump over the edge. I hoped it

would be stimulating trying to solve these puzzles, and solve them I

sometimes did. But it was, for the most part, boring.

And that’s what it comes down to. I spent all that time (admittedly I am

Irish, and obviously therefore somewhat challenged in the cerebral

department) and came up with very little in terms of enjoyment in return.

What’s more, there was very little to stimulate me along the way. In most

other strategy games you are led in gently and you learn along the way, so

it is fun. Here you are plopped right in at the deep end. You have the

option of using the circuits and designs which can automatically be

provided by the game – but the tactical side of the game is far too weak to

make it interesting. The designs provided are really to help you to begin

learning the programming. Unfortunately, it’s just not enough fun.

I do believe that there is some potential in this game, if you want to

dedicate a lot of time to it. That rescues its grade, somewhat. In addition,

it might be a useful tool to getting your mind thinking in terms of cause and effect.

As a game, however, it is disappointing. Sorry guys – drop the Buds (I know, I know:

shame to waste such great beer) and get back to the drawing board.

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

Rating4
-Novel idea
-Cool name
-Hard, Hard, Hard
-Boring, Boring, Boring