G-Nome review by Al Giovetti
Summary: G-Nome is a real-time, three-dimensional, texture-mapped, polygon game. G-Nome benefits from the gaming abilities of Windows 95, such as DirectDarw and DirectAccess, to increase speed and provide resolution from 320x200 to 1280x1024 pixels.
History: Designer Todd Porter has worked with Penguin, Origin, SSI, and Distant Thunder, before coming to 7th Level. Todd has worked on
These games could be compared to MechWarrior 2, Shattered Steel, and EarthSiege 2. Microprose is working on MechWarrior 3 with FASA. Sierra is working on EarthSiege 3. Heavy Gear, a new "rock-em-sock-em-robots" game. 7th Level obviously could not leave this lucrative game market alone and released G-Nome a robot fighting game with a twist.
Plot: The G-Nome adventure takes place on the planet Ruhelen of the Omicron Reticuli star system in the year 2225 A.D. Retired Union Sergeant Joshua Gant must assemble a team of experts and penetrate the heavily defended Scorp Republic to destroy a secret bioweapon laboratory suspected of creating the ultimate genetic soldier: the G-Nome.
As the adventure begins, war is imminent between the Union nations (human) and the Scorp Alliance. The discovery of the mineral-rich Phygos system nearby has upset the tenuous strategic balance between the warring factions in this part of the Galaxy. The flashpoint of the pending conflict will be the planet Ruhelen where the four major civilizations, human, Bendian Mercenary, Darken, and Scorp all coexist in a fragile peace.
Union intelligence has known of the secret Scorp genetic research for years, but has now decided to destroy the effort before the G-Nome creature can be replicated and deployed in battle. The mission must be covert, for war has not been declared and the Union does not want to be seen as the aggressor if the matter comes before the Galactic Court.
Union Intelligence turns to retired war hero Joshua Gant. For the last ten years Gant has been drowning in bitterness over a mission that resulted in the capture of his best friend, Pearl, and in hatred of the man that led that mission, Jack Sheridan.
Against his will, Gant is reinstated into service and ordered to assemble a team of experts that includes his old friend, Stephen Kylie, Union's most accomplished scientist, Dr. Victoria Thane, and the best expert on Scorp military customs and tactics: Jack Sheridan.
The adventure unfolds in four grand campaigns. In the first, Gant must traverse the Darken Republic to meet Kylie who has been undercover deep in Darken territory.
Together again, Gant and Kylie embark on the second campaign in Bendian Merc territory as they race to the rescue of Dr. Thane who, unaware of her situation, is on a peaceful mission in the sparsely populated steppes and valleys of the Mercs. Thane realizes the importance of using special technology to capture the G-Nome, and the small team must battle their way to the Merc citadel of Mesa Caracon to obtain the technology, then escape into the Scorp frontier to meet Sheridan.
The third campaign takes place in Scorp territory. The secret base is defended tenaciously by the Scorp Imperial Warriors, but with the help of clandestine Union "orbital ion-strikes," the team finally battles its way to the laboratory. Disaster strikes and the entire mission disintegrates into chaos. The G-Nome is stolen by a new and even more dangerous foe than its Scorp creators.
The fourth and final campaign finds Gant and what's left of the team pursuing the G-Nome and its captors through the desolate and war-torn Shalten Frontier. After the climactic confrontation at a secret cloning facility, Gant must finish the mission by terminating the G-Nome creature. Does he do it?
Game play: You can leap from one mech to another which is a Digital Image Design’s Martin Kendrick trademark. There are three races, including the mean Scorp, bloodthirsty Darkens, and unforgiving Bendian Mercinaries. There are more than 20 missions that are piloted in first person perspective.
In this universe, the robots you pilot are called HAWCs (Heavy Armor Weapons Chassis). Most of us are familiar with the humanoid robots seen in MechWarrior and RoboTech. The MechWarrior robots are called mechs, which has become an english word for these types of robots.
Another neat feature is the individual game play where you are outside your mech. If you come across another mech which is better than yours and just simply seems abandoned, you can jump out of your mech and hijack the other one.
If your mech is destroyed, you will be ejected and you now have a slim chance of firing the GASHR grenade thrower and getting the other pilot to eject. You can then hop in your opponents HAWC, another word for mech, and continuing the battle. You must kill other foot soldiers quickly since they also have GASHR weapons and can force you to eject.
Rocks and trees must be used for cover. You need to steal enemy communications, eliminate communications links, blow up buildings with self destruct codes, and control air strikes from orbital defense satelites. When communications links are destroyed, communications are disrupted. Enemies can alter recognition signals to fool you. Players and enemy wing men respond to your actions with intelligent cooperative and countermeasures. The artificial intelligence routine encorporates situational awareness algorythms and tactical heuristics to simulate complex logical decisions, making the enemy and friends less predictable. You can communicate with the artificial intelligence controlled players commanding them to defend me, move to me, occupy me, follow me, attack targeted mech,defend targeted mech, move to targeted mech, occupy targeted mech, follow targeted mech, and sabotage targeted mech.
You pilot: You can fight on foot or in one of twenty (20) vehicles, including hovercraft, assault tanks, and Heavy-Armor Weapons Chassis or HAWCs, which is this games interpretation of the muti-ton robots that BattleTech calles BattleMechs. These mechs are smaller than the varieties seen in FASA's BattleTech and Sierra's MetalTech. Each mech has its own first person display cockpit complete with heads up display readouts on the window out into the combat zone.
The weapons in this version of the far future reality includes lasers, guided missiles, meson beams, neutron weapons and auto-cannons. The weapons auto track to allow you to fight and drive simultaneously.
Interface: The combat interface is a first person display similar to that seen in Activision's MechWarrior 2 series complete with control panels at the bottom and multifunction displays at the top or the central screen out on the three dimensional combat world. In the center of the bottom panel, is a radar screen. To the left of the radar is a mech display with the enemy mech showing damage on a color three dimensional holographic display and a bar graph to show remaining mech hit points. To the right of the radar is an identical display for your own robot mech. Screens pop-up and overlay this display with menu options and hot key command cheat sheets. The top displays give status of weapons including guns and missiles.
Outside of combat, the game contains mission briefings, waypoints, mission maps and other features to assist situational awareness and full mission intelligence.
Graphics: Support for 3-D accelerators including MMX is contained in the boxed game. Resolution of 640 x 480 pixels is supported. Each vehicle, alien, human, and structure was created with 50 to 100 faces per model resulting in over 300 faces per object for more detail and realism. Background pixelation gets larger as you get closer.
Animation: Traditional cartoon-like animations with lead actors fill the cutscenes and the "base" portion of the game. While in missions the three dimensional graphics resemble those of other tank games with the exception of desert, city, snow and volcanic environments that a very highly detailed and attractive. Some notice frame rate problems even with the fastest speed MMX Pentiums (200 MHz).
Utilities: Lack of incremental saves combined with complex mission goals forces you to repeat missions over and over until you get them right. The manual does not explain how to use the GASHIR, arguably the most important weapon in the game, or commands liekk sabotage target or send signal. Good mission briefings are no substitute fror a complete and thorough manual.
Multi-player: For two teams of up to four players each over internet, IPX/SPX or TCP/IP network, null modem (serial connection) and phone modem. You can play in cooperative, competitive teams, and free for all mode with full support.
Journalists: Doug feels that the game is a good one if not the best mech game. Steve, Doug and Dan must have ESP to have their scores so close together.
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Preview Reference: Please send us your comments and suggestions.
Next Generation, volume 2, number 18, June, 1996, pg. 105.
Shane Mooney, PC Games, volume 3, number 9, September, 1996, pg. 40.
Download demo: Download the demo from the 7th level site. Doug Radcliffe, Computer and Net Player, volume 3, number 12, May, 1997, pg. 72, 70%.
Dan Bennett, PC Gamer, volume 4, number 5, May, 1997, pg. 117, 68%.
Steve Wartofsky, Computer Games, issue 78, May, 1997, pg. 105, 75%.
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