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T.R.A.G. - Tactical Rescue Assault Group: Mission of Mercy (PlayStation) artwork

T.R.A.G. - Tactical Rescue Assault Group: Mission of Mercy (PlayStation) review


"T.R.A.G. wasn't even a great concept to begin with. Its base elements manage to be generic AND completely plagiarized at the same time. It wanted to be just a boring action game; T.R.A.G. feels like it was destined to be completely one dimensional in its craptitude. The developers, in a moment of pure idiotic ingenuity, fiddled with what was already guaranteed to suck; the result is one of the most worthless discs ever put to press. "



T.R.A.G. wasn't even a great concept to begin with. Its base elements manage to be generic AND completely plagiarized at the same time. It wanted to be just a boring action game; T.R.A.G. feels like it was destined to be completely one dimensional in its craptitude. The developers, in a moment of pure idiotic ingenuity, fiddled with what was already guaranteed to suck; the result is one of the most worthless discs ever put to press.

The Game

The backstory fueling this trip through gaming damnation is ripped straight out of Die Hard (and its clones as well): terrorists have seized a very large building, and it's up to you to take out the trash. You're part of an ''elite'' unit, who've managed to get all of their stupid asses torn asunder. Surviving are Alex and Michelle, whom you'll ''control'' throughout the game; as such, the adventure begins.

Immediately the diabolically sloppy control grips you by the throat and doesn't let go. T.R.A.G. has the heart of a poor action game, yet somehow the developers felt it necessary to completely ape the control of the Resident Evil games. I'm sure this figures into the poorly executed ''static background'' theme, but regardless, controlling the heroes is an enormous pain in the ass. This setup is already far from optimal in an action game, but in the hands of those behind T.R.A.G., it is almost evil.

Now, if they just ripped the control scheme from RE, shouldn't it control the same? On paper, yes, but not with the controller in your hand. Alex and Michelle are all over the place with the most minute of left or right inputs; this is completely lacking balance with the reverse direction, which is unbelievably slow compared to the other, jerkier movements. Also of note is the way Alex wiggles his elite ass as he's walking. This is beyond distracting to the point of being gratuitous, and evokes several jokes and smirks not appropriate for minors. Of course, this isn't the only detraction effected by our special team; let's not digress yet.

The hit detection on everything in the game is infuriatingly unpredictable. For instance, you could spend three minutes trying to find the exact point where you have to stand to be able to pick up an item. As frustrating as that is, at least that isn't in the heat of battle. When engaged in combat, it is almost a coin toss whether or not your ammunition will actually strike its intended target; this is a result of the one-two punch of crappy control and the crappy hit detection. It usually becomes easier to holster your weapon and slug it out with enemies using your drunken-boxing techniques.

Naturally, they weren't intended to be drunken-boxing arts at all; they're simply poorly programmed. ''Combos,'' as they are, are wild when carried out and completely without control. Not to mention that a combo must be committed to right as the first button is pressed, as the button must be jammed very fast from the get-go. If you try to be slick and do a combo as the previous moves' animations halt, you'll be eating cold, rotten, T.R.A.G.-initiated death, and ain't nothin' worse than that, brotha.

Well, maybe not, since the main characters simply suck. Personally, I'd much rather see them die, although even that is boring in this game. Michelle, the female lead, wears a ridiculous ensemble for a special forces member; it consists of Jane Fonda-style stretch pants and a top with a giant white bib over her breasts. Our equally-feminine-yet-actually-a-male hero Alex is no more intimidating in HIS stretch pants. Maybe his pineapple hairdo is a regulation cut from the academy, but I think it has more to do with the way he wiggles his freakin' ass around whenever he walks. To sum it up, the character design of T.R.A.G. is beyond sub-par; it is cliched anime stylings mixed with some extremely generic enemies that you will hopefully forget about when the electricity stops flowing to your Playstation.

The Delivery

T.R.A.G. looks decent.

Hell, this game is so bad, that quote should be marquee on the back of the jewel case. The team behind this crap should be rubbing their unoriginal and talentless eyes to make sure they saw that right.

The 3D modeling in the game is ok. T.R.A.G. is another ''static background'' adventure game for the PSX, which means it is just the 3D models wandering around what is essentially a picture. The high points of the real-time portion of the visuals are the relative roundedness of the characters and their average resolution. They are not at all teeming with vibrant color, yet still stick out sorely from the blatantly bad backgrounds.

The backdrops are poor in quality, low in color, and often sport a slightly pixelly look to them, the end result sucking quite a bit. Seriously, these are just PICTURES these worthless sissies are walking around, and you'd think ''Team Simp'' (or whoever made this collection of feces) could have at least made these look good. They're just renders. Alas, they're subpar, at a quality slightly above the original Resident Evil's landscapes, a game that preceded T.R.A.G. by at least 3 years.

Sound is the most inspired and well-executed element of T.R.A.G. This isn't saying much, and rightfully so. The music here is bland, muted and repetitious; it is not, however, heinous, as is the rest of the game. The sound sets the tone for a simply boring game, and thusly, is not up to the task of such rotten trash like T.R.A.G. The voice acting makes up for this lacking, as it is all so lifeless, it doesn't matter at all which character each actor is matched up to. This acts in concert with the 2nd grade scripting the game received, which prevails throughout this game's wretched playing time. My personal favorite here is when Alex spies what looks like a Circuit Breaker switch box; he remarks that ''this looks odd for an office building.'' Alex, ladies and gentlemen; no clue goes unscrutinized.

The Truth

T.R.A.G. sucks like no other game. This is the game you make enemies with.

It never had much of a chance. The amount of original content here is in the negative. The Resident Evil inspired control scheme feels so slapped-on and unnecessary, it completely destroys any chance T.R.A.G. had of earning a 2/10. T.R.A.G. is the epitome of copycatting, only done without so much as functional purpose; T.R.A.G. is the single worst gaming experience I've had in the last five years. The control is completely without redemption and the game you must struggle to play is so accursedly lacking in personality or intrigue... &*^%$&*@ Ahh, screw it.

Stay far away from T.R.A.G. Don't even buy it to see how bad it is. If you see T.R.A.G. somewhere, snap it in half. Even if you don't own it. Nothing can stop T.R.A.G.'s suckiness, not even Mr. Domino. If you see T.R.A.G. trying to rescue a baby from a burning building, stop T.R.A.G. at all costs, and save the baby yourself if you can. Then, throw T.R.A.G. in the building. T.R.A.G. sucks so bad, it probably wouldn't even burn, but would rather just flake apart, or something. Take a dump on T.R.A.G., do anything, just don't play it.

Rating: 1/10

ethereal's avatar
Community review by ethereal (March 14, 2004)

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