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OutTrigger: International Counter Terrorism Special Force (Dreamcast) artwork

OutTrigger: International Counter Terrorism Special Force (Dreamcast) review

"It is a truth almost universally acknowledged that the US is the finest purveyor of shoot'em ups in the whole world. Doom, Quake, Unreal, Half Life, hell even Wolfenstein 3D are all masterpieces of the genre. Only Goldeneye (produced by UK company RARE) has challenged the US hegemony in this genre and now along comes Out Trigger, a Japanese FPS that is also hoping to be ranked alongside the above greats. "

It is a truth almost universally acknowledged that the US is the finest purveyor of shoot'em ups in the whole world. Doom, Quake, Unreal, Half Life, hell even Wolfenstein 3D are all masterpieces of the genre. Only Goldeneye (produced by UK company RARE) has challenged the US hegemony in this genre and now along comes Out Trigger, a Japanese FPS that is also hoping to be ranked alongside the above greats.

Well western FPS designers needn't start looking for other jobs just yet. Out Trigger is truly appalling.

Japanese developers AM2 seem to have struggled to create an FPS that will appeal to both Japanese and Western consumers. The First Person Shooter (FPS) is not a hugely popular genre over there so several gameplay tweaks have been included to make it more palatable to the Japanese. This includes the option of viewing the action from a Third Person (behind the character viewpoint) rather than First Person.

Unfortunately this merely results in an FPS that for my own western tastes is simplistic, confusing, bland, repetitive and ultimately shallow and unsatisfying. It shows such a stunning ignorance of everything that makes the typical FPS fun to play that you really wonder why they bothered.

The game itself see's you take control of one of several bland characters, plus the option to create and arm one of your own choosing. You then set off on your mission to exterminate a huge amount of terrorist baddies and - inexplicably - collect gold coins.

The gameplay is fast and furious, this sounds like a good thing, but it isn't. Most of the play arenas are very small. Enemies rush blindly at you and any tactics you may have go right out the window as you mindlessly pump the trigger and mow them down, while more obligingly run towards you.

It's like Half Life never happened. This harks back to the carnage of Doom, but it shares none of that games brooding atmosphere. The graphics are bright, cheesy and lacking in depth and detail. The enemies are boringly human, but don't react or behave in any kind of believable way. making them crushing dull enemies to fight. Nothing here matches the breathtaking arenas of Unreal or the wacky line-up of enemies provided by Quake. Even the missions are laughable simplistic when compared to the in-depth ones of the ancient Goldeneye. The weapons are disappointing as shooting someone with a rocket launcher seems to have the same (graphical) effect as shooting someone with a machine gun. YAWN. The music bites the big one as well.

Never mind, what about the huge variety of missions you can take on? Surely here the game will pick up some points. Well, no. There is no hook to the mission based game, no sense of an overall adventure or quest. Jumping from one frantic shoot out to another is tedious and repetitive. No sense of achievement is felt on completion of a mission as they are all so short and un involving.

Missions can take several forms, the styles of two in particular are just dreadful. Coin Collecting is the aim of one type of mission. I'm sorry? COIN COLLECTING???? In an FPS??????? Do me a favour. If I want to collect coins in a game I'll play Super Mario thankyou very much. Its an unbelievably lame addition to the gameplay.

Then there are the wondrous 'lightgun' missions. I call them lightgun missions because in the manner of games like Virtua Cop or Time Crisis you stay in the same place and simply shoot while baddies pop up from behind boxes and out of doorways. Needless to say this is as much fun as exploratory bowel surgery.

Then we come to the more traditional FPS sections, ie running about shooting baddies. Combine dumb enemies, tiny arenas, arbitrary time limits, horrible controls and undifferentiated weapons and you have a deeply unsatisfactory experience.

The multi player is pretty bad to. In four player split screen it gets too fast and crowded to be able to see what you are doing properly. There are no places to hide, stalk or surprise opponents. No tactics needed to speak of except shoot, shoot, shoot, die, Yawn, zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Finally here in the UK we don't even get the option of online play. But hey, we get charged for online time in Britain and if you wasted thirty quid on this pile of crap, you'd be reluctant to waste anymore online.

So, what can we learn from this unpleasant experience? Don't believe the hype, or magazine reviews for a start. This game was lauded in the UK games press as a 90% plus game. Guess someone slipped them a few freebies in return for those reviews.... Secondly, the FPS genre has moved on. The overwhelming feeling I got while playing this game was that I was playing a dumbed down, mid-1990's style FPS with bits of other genres uncomfortably bolted on.

Rent this game if you must, but don't buy it. In the end this game proved to be satisfying for my trigger finger. But only because I hung it from my ceiling and used it as target practice for my BB Gun.

Very, Very Poor.

falsehead's avatar
Community review by falsehead (March 08, 2004)

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