Outcast by Al Giovetti
By Al Giovetti
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The Computer Show inteviewed Francois Lourdin, Infogrames North America adventure title marketing director, about Outcast at the 1999 E3 in Los Angeles, California in May. Francois made the claim that Outcast would change gaming as we know it. At the time this comment elicited some doubt so we pressed him for further details. Francois told us that the game fully integrated the cinematics with the game play, a feature we had seen in many other games in the past. Francois went on to say that you could talk and react to the people in the world who would change the way they reacted to you based upon how you treated them.
SummaryOutcast was for me one of the most enjoyable games of 1999. The non-linear story line gave you lots of options. The control once learned was precise and adequate for the game. The depth of the story and the professional notetaking and lexicon were welcome features. The lexicon and the notepad kept track of all the quests and sub quests for each area and kept all the definitions of words. These areas could have been better if the notepad kept track of which quests were completed and which were not and the lexicon should have kept the definitions in alphabetical order not chronological. Other than these small reservations and a lost twon-ha the game was just perfect. Thank you Appeal and Infogrames. The game will be on my list when we select the adventure game of the year.
INFOGRAMES NORTH AMERICA SHIPS HIGHLY ANTICIPATED PC ADVENTURE GAME, OUTCAST
SAN JOSE, CA., August 19, 1999 - Infogrames North America, a leading publisher of interactive entertainment software, announced today that Outcast began shipping for the PC this week. The eagerly awaited, graphically stunning and technologically advanced adventure game will be on all major retail outlets' shelves next week.
Outcast puts players in the role of Cutter Slade, a former Navy Seal assigned to lead a team of experts through a parallel universe and help stop the growing black hole that is risking life on Earth. Players interact with over 1,000 additional characters in a visually astounding parallel 3D world infused with crisp graphics, showing treacherous terrain and lifelike weather conditions. Adding to the excitement of gameplay is a proprietary artificial intelligence technology and an original music score performed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra.
The proprietary artificial intelligence technology, GAIA (Game's Artificial Intelligence with Agents), gives each character a unique personality and creates reactionary behavior, making them respond in a human way to the actions of the player. In addition, the game employs "procedural animation" to create realistic game character movements, a technique that blends two motion-captured sequences. Bump mapping gives characters' features and attire a more natural appearance.
To enhance the cinematic quality of the game, American composer Lennie Moore was commissioned to create an original symphonic score, which is performed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra. "The amount of talent and work that went into the making of this game is enormous and we are thrilled to be delivering Outcast to anticipating gamers," says Francois Lourdin, marketing director for Infogrames North America's Adventure titles. "We believe the gaming experience this title offers will fascinate hardcore and casual gamers as well as set a new standard for future adventure games."
Outcast was developed by Appeal and is available at an estimated street price of $39.99. It will be available at all major retail outlets including Walmart, CompUSA, Babbages, Electronics Boutique, Target and others. For more information on Outcast, Infogrames has developed a Web site devoted to the game at www.outcast-game.com. The Web site offers additional information about the game as well as a contest and never before done cinematic outtakes starring the characters of the game.
Infogrames is a global publisher of interactive entertainment software. Founded in 1983, the company ranks as one of the top entertainment software companies worldwide. Infogrames currently develops and distributes award-winning computer and video games for the PlayStation game console, Nintendo 64, Nintendo Game Boy Color, Sega Dreamcast, and personal computer platforms. Infogrames North America's headquarters are located in San Jose, Calif. For more information, visit the company's web site at www.infogrames.net.
Product Description: Graphically stunning and technologically advanced, the eagerly awaited Outcast puts players in the role of Cutter Slade, a Navy S.E.A.L. on an assignment in a strange land. In the year 2007, a U.S. probe has been successfully deployed to a parallel universe. But the probe has been tampered with by an unknown life form causing a deadly backlash on Earth in the form of a growing black hole. Your mission is to lead a team of experts through a parallel universe called Adelpha, recover the probe and stop the black hole from wiping out humanity.
The plot is basically non-linear with five separate areas to explore and catalogue. You move from one area to another using stargate like portals. But unlike stargate portals, each portal goes to one location and the gate on the other side brings you back to where you originated.
An immense portion of the game is taken up by walking around and talking to the many intelligent beings on the planet. These beings are divided into two basic conversational groups. One group is composed of those who take a specific role in the plot development of the game. This group is identified by the greet icon that comes up when you talk to them. The second group is taken up by the masses who can answer general questions and can help you find out where you are or the location of other Talon, which are the inhabitants of the world.
The conversations are accompanied by scripted human voice actors for all conversations and lines. Gone are the text messages that you would read from text baloons or windows.
You are part of a four man research team made up of two U.S. Navy Seals, which incidentally stands for sea air and land, and two scientists. Your mission as team leader Cutter Slade is to find the probe and retrieve it. Apparently the probe has caused a time-space anomoly, or black hole if you will, that is destroying the earth that you came from. The scientists feel that by finding the probe and repairing it, you can return it to the earth and the black hole will go away.
When you arrive on the planet of the parallel universe where the probe was sent using a device similar to a transporter from Star Trek, you find yourself alone without your team members, and your equipment is scattered about the worlds. You are revered as the holyman come to save the world by many, but others are sceptical that you are the real "messiah." You must convince the inhabitants through your actions of your honorable intentions.
You find yourself in a secret camp of shaman who are the healers of the world and who provide spiritual guidance to the others there. These healers tell you that they will help you if you help them unite the five "mons" or holy objects that will begin the holy war against the tyrant rulers of the planet. You must save their world before they will help you save yours. Backed into a corner you agree.
You further find out that all the inhabitants of this world are divided into four groups: soldiers who use offensive essence to hurt others, healers who use defensive essence to defend and heal others, producers and craftsmen who include farmers and fishers whos essence is to till the land and fish the seas, and traders whose essence is to buy and sell the goods in their shops and the marketplaces of the land. Each of these groups has different roles creativity, agression, defense, and trade.
Voice ActorsThe voice acting is particularly good but it seems obvious that one or two people were doing the voices. Every interactive conversation is in scripted human speach.
Music ScoreAmerican composer Lennie Moore has created an original symphonic score similar to that used in a movie to enhance the game and gameplay. The music, which is perfoemed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra is wide in scope and rarely becomes repetitive. We found the music a good match for the background play that unfolded.
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