Review by Al Giovetti
Price: $35 - $50
Genre: arcade shooter: science fiction flight simulator
Release: November 1996
Developer: Criterion Studios
Requirements: Pentium, 60 MHz, Windows 95, 2X CD ROM, 8 MB RAM, 55 MB hard disk space, SVGA, sound card
History: The first fantasy flight simulator I remember is Dragon Strike. The first science fiction flight simulator for the Atari ST was made by Psygnosis, called Deep Space. Scorced Planet is a combination science fiction and fantasy flight simulator with morphing vehicle. Defender came out for the early Atari console games and it was a big hit. Flying furiously to defend the populace against invading aliens with warps and other structures. Scorced Planet purports to be another Defender.
Company line: Faster than arcade action. More challenging than combat strategy. Blast off into Scorched Planet and leave this world behind. As a fearless rebel pilot, you're the one, the only one, who can save the last human colony from extinction. The enemies? Swarming packs of mutant lizards, spiders and birds as sharp as humans and decidedly more deadly.
Repulse Voraxian attacks. Surge into heart-stopping missions. And race to save what's left of humankind in this real-time three dimensional universe alive with danger. Featuring the most advanced 3-D game engine imaginable, Scorched Planet delivers the fastest most explosive action ever. Use starfighter cunning to ignite the skies with carnage. Force your enemies into battle with pre-emptive strikes. Rip them up in explosive dogfights. Or metamorph your sonic fighter craft into a tank and crush up your opponent's ground forces. With network play and up to 8 person multiplay--think galactically, act locally. Now.
Plot: As an ex-fighter jockey now on deep space freighter assignment, you answer a distress call which results in your repelling an alien attack on a human planet. Somehow you are given a morphing vehicle which can become a hover tank or a fighter aircraft.
Game play: You morph this special vehicle and fight where ever needed. Your weapons seem to be limited to laser blasters, but eventually you discover caches of other ammunition, missiles, guns, powerups, fuel, and a whole bunch of other stuff. The twelve hour defense of the planet is divided into eighteen levels with bosses at the end of every few levels or so, like a side scrolling shooter.
The colonists can be given instructions with simple commands. The civilians can gather items for the soldiers and make the game a little easier. But a certain number of colonists must survive in order for the mission to be a success. The tank needs no fuel but the fighter does.
The evil attacking horde is made up of mutant lizard ground infantry, killer bees, ravens, and others. The game uses full 360 degree views to increase situational awareness. A very nice feature is the ability to jump from one vehicle to another in the midst of the action, like you could in Domark's Harrier.
Graphics: The graphics are really very smooth as is the animation. There is no close blocky pixelation. The three dimensional graphics are poligonal shaped vehicles and buildings. The environment involves seas, valleys, peaks, and deserts with buildings of various shapes to depict cities. The characters used in the game are true rendered characters and not sprites which are used in many games. The game uses atmospheric enhancements including fog and real-time shadowing to increase realism and expense. Scorced planet allows you to choose amoung multiple high and low resolution modes to change speed and performance. Scorched Planet supports 3D accelerator boards for stunningly smooth graphics including Creative Labs' 3D BlasterTM, Matrox MystiqueTM, Orchid's Righteous 3DTM, and Diamond's Monster 3DTM.
Voice actors: poor
Music score: mediocre
Sound effects: The average sound effects have three dimensional directional effects.
Multiplayer: Support for eight players over a network
Reviewer: Jason and Computer Player seem extremely fond of (70%) this December release, perhaps they are in the Christmas spirit. Craig despised this game. Boot said, "...you'll want to keep coming back for more." PC Games said, "..one of the hottest games of the year." PC Games went on to say that, "Scorched Planet pads out as a surprisingly in-depth action shooter for a game that makes no bones about its resemblance to Defender."
Scorched Planet Web Site
Rebecca B. Anderson, GameSpot Preview
Jason D'Aprile, Computer Player, volume 1, number 7, December, 1996, pg. 72, (70%).
Tim Royal, Computer Games, issue 77, April, 1997, pg. 73-74, 80%.
Craig Wessel, Computer Gaming World, issue 154, April, 1997, pg. 94, 40%.
Colin Williamson, PC Gamer, volume 4, number 4, April, 1997, pg. 146, 85%.
Robert E. Allen III, GamePen Review, 75%.
Boot PC Games PC Zone
Please send us your comments and suggestions.