Luke, I am not really James Earl Jones . . .
The Earth Empire was all encompassing. Though the colonies were light years away from Earth, they were still dominated by their homeworld. But this distance allowed a resistance movement to survive and grow. This movement, known as the League of Free Worlds, began to fight back against the Empire and its Colonial Navy (damn Redcoats). Led by the Father, the League of Free worlds wished to destroy the Empire and its leader, the Tsar. You will join the Father’s kinfolk, and with them, hope to free the colonies from off-world domination. Or you will suffer a fiery death at the hands of the Colonial Navy. Either way, you’ll still have fun.
Psygnosis is on a publishing rampage, releasing several games each month. This deluge, however, has not affected the quality of the games in the least. Colony Wars is their latest release, and it has taken the Playstation by storm. Using graphics that are (pardon the pun) light years ahead of the competition, Colony Wars has the best graphics ever seen on the Playstation to date. Graphics aren’t all, however, and Colony Wars is not just another pretty boy. With gameplay as fun and addictive as any other good game, Colony Wars is the brightest star in the galaxy (We at Game Revolution neither admonish or encourage excessive use of puns. Colin, however, has been beaten severely – Ed.).
The graphics, as I said before, are simply amazing. Looking better than most computer games that are coming out now, Colony Wars truly brings the Playstation to a brand new level. The ships themselves are some of the smoothest polygons I have ever seen. The only time that you ever encounter a polygonal glitch is when you run into some of the big ships. Your view can cut through a polygon, allowing you to see right through it. However, not only does that not happen often (unless you suck at flying), but the beauty of the rest of the game covers over that very nicely. The light sourcing is also some of the best in the space genre. Do not look directly at the sun – it will temporarily blind you and leave you open to attack. Enemies will often fly in front of the sun to disorient you. There is also random space debris that you can destroy for fun; of course, you might have to ignore your primary mission to do so.
You can choose from three different points of view. One is in the cockpit of the craft, with all your various cockpit controls. The second is the same first person view, but with minimized cockpit interference with your line of sight. The third view is a third person aspect that, while difficult to control, allows you to watch the smooth movement of the ship that you are flying.
Speaking of the ships, there are six different ships that you control during the game. Depending on the missions that you follow, you fly anything from a scout to a heavy assault craft. While some ships may have heavy weapons, they are as slow as a snail riding on the back of a turtle. Each mission has different directives that may require you to use a different ship than the one you may prefer.
Colony Wars has a mind boggling number of missions. Over seventy, non-linear missions allow multiple paths and six different endings. You can finish the game by winning every mission, and you won’t have played half of what the game has to offer. With tons of replay value, this game offers just hours of non-stop space madness.
With most games turning to heavy metal music that ruins your television’s speakers, the music for Colony Wars is simple and unobtrusive. It fits so well in the game that you don’t even remember it being there when you have to write a review about it (trust me). Most people don’t realize that the point of background music is to accent the scene without being noticed as a separate entity. Whoever was in charge of this aspect of the game deserves a cookie.
The control, while still usable with the normal controller, demands an analog controller of some sort. I used the new Sony analog controller for most of my flying, but the game also allows the use of analog joysticks as well. Never fear, if you don’t have the analog controller all you lose is some of the smoothness of the flight. You also may not be able to evade enemy fire as easily. That just means you’ll have to become a better pilot, soldier, so quit your whining.
Colony Wars also has a startling amount of FMV. Narrated by a voice that sounds exactly like James Earl Jones (it’s not, I checked the credits), you are told of the epic tale as it unfolds. Besides the six endings, there are about eighteen other sequences of fully rendered FMV. There is also a ton of voice acting that went into the game. All mission briefings are verbal as well as textual, and there is fighter banter as you fly the missions. Add to that a database of information about the different ships, star systems, and histories, and you have a ton of information. No wonder it needed to be on two CD’s.
There is only one thing missing that would have made this game the end all be all of video gaming. Some sort of multi-player version using the widely unknown link cable would have been cool. Failing that, some sort of dogfight survival mode would have been nice; just a level with no point that continually sends fighters at you until you finally get pummeled into submission. While this type of setup would make the game better, it doesn’t suffer by not having it.
What can I say in the conclusion. I’ve already gushed more than I have about any other game. We here at Game Revolution pride ourselves as being some of the toughest reviewers in the industry. Yes, we’ve made Public Relations people cry, but we know a great game when we play one. Colony Wars has earned its place as one of the best Playstation games of all time. Only three other Playstation games have earned this grade(Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, and Wipeout XL), so it is with no small honor that Colony Wars gets what it deserves. If you don’t own it, buy it, even if you have to go hungry for a week. (note: writer claims no responsibility for starving game fanatics. Trust me, they’ll be happier with Colony Wars instead of food).