mayhem.gif - 7.3 K
Review by Alfred Giovetti
Price $37 - $50
Genre: isometric real-time action adventure
Release: May 1996
Developer: Cinematix Studios,
Producer: Matt Miller
Music: Ronny Moorings of Xymox
Art: Ben Cooley
Publisher: Domark/Eidos, 303 Sacramento St. SF, CA 94111
phone: 415-616-2022
Requirements: 486 DX 66 MHz, Windows 95 for mulit-player option, 8 MB RAM, mouse, 100 percent Sound Blaster compatible sound card, SVGA graphics card, 2X CD-ROM (Pentium recommended)

History: Total Mayhem in the US is Total Mania in Europe. Eidos and Domark are now the same company. Cinematrix Studios really did this game, Domark and Eidos just agreed to publish it. Before Total Mayhem we had Crusader: No Remorse, Crusader: No Regret, and a number of isometric perspective combat games, similar to the Ultima series of Role Playing games.

Plot: "Man is a slave race on a planet run entirely by machines. Calling themselves Mayhem Soldiers, a small group of Cyborg freedom fighters wage a libertarian war against the machines that hold society in a death grip." Translate this to mean: you will be blowing up machines that move and look like humans, but since they are machines, you need not be guilty, so just have fun blowing them up and killing them, err turning off their electrical systems. base1-s.gif - 16.8 K

"It's 2248, and the planet Caetnor is dominated by the 'Mechs', advanced robots built by powerful corporations to dominate the planet, robots that soon decided that their greatest enemies were the humans that built them. Now, decades later, a small group of freedom fighters working from a hidden base has recovered technology to build the first weapons capable of turning back the tide of mech domination, the MAYHEM cyborg soldier."

Man made machines. The machines got smart and became self aware. The machines got so smart the decided to kill off the imperfect biological infestation. Now mankind, the most intelligent of the harmful biological infestation, is fighting for its life and just barely holding on by its nails. The plot reads like Terminator, Star Trek Nomad episode, Battlestar Gallactica, and another ten dozen other plots.

Game play: Two to six Mayhem cyborgs can go on a mission together or defend and attack on their own. Soldiers have health, shield, energy, and inventory. Like most games of this overhead oblique or isometric perspective, it is a tangle of passageways, buildings, ramps, water, and switches to turn on or off and wait to see what happens.

Eight weapons including laser rifles, grenade launchers, AI scramblers, rocket launchers, and plastic explosives, 13 different enemies with five different skill levels for a total of over 60 different types of enemies, interior and exterior environments including industrial, jungle and volcanic areas. Systems upgrade to higher technology over time, requiring replacement with the higher level equipment.

Interface. Cyborgs move like in Syndicate by left clicking on a destination. Soldiers can act independently or in a single minded group. Fire by first right clicking to select a target, then hold down the right button and left click. Manual combat is a very awkward affair that until learned, or alternatively when hand pain kicks in, will get you killed. Control individual cyborgs easier with the number pad keys.

Artificial intelligence (AI): Soldiers left on their own tend to die, you need to direct them to make them the most effective and keep them alive.

Patches are available to fix various glitches encountered when the game hit the market. Like Microprose’s ill fated but well designed Darklands, these glitches leave an indelible taint on a product that unless buyers are patient and persistant, two qualities that often are wanting when such a large dollar investment is at stake, the title may die quicker than the bad guys in the game. Some glitches have prevented missions from being completed, a definite cardinal sin for games.

Graphics: Three dimensional (3D) rendered tiles and characters on a six story high map grid. Graphics use the high speed Super VGA WinDirect technology. Scrolling isometric map view. Resolution is 640x480 pixels.

Animations: Life-like, three-dimensional rendered characters.

Puzzles are of the find the switch, pressure plate, etc. and open the door, cabinet, computer, port-a-potty type. arctic2-s.gif - 16.6 K

Missions and campaign theaters: Twenty scripted missions with objectives divided into 4 campaigns (volcanic, forest, desert, jungle) of five missions each. Manual ammunition equipping of individual soldiers leads to mistakes which leads to dead soldiers. Make sure you stock enough ammunitions so you do not run out.

Music score: CD audio tracks by Ronny Moorings of Xymox.

Sound effects: Good distinct, you-are-there sound effects.

Multi-player: Only the Windows 95 version supports up to 8 players simultaneously on serial modem, phone modem, network, and internet. Push the T key to talk while in the mission to other players for coordinated attacks if playing teams. The interface does seem large and easy to get lost in.

Activate cheat mode from the base screen by holding down shift and control while typing cheat. These codes become active

Hold down Control and Shift and type stuff and the program will give you one of everything.
Ctl-A: allows you to purchase all weapons
Ctl-C: gives you 1,000 credits to buy the weapons
Ctl-I: makes you impervious to weapons fire
Ctl-M: eliminates all killer robots
Ctl-N: Next level
Ctl-P: moves soldier to cursor location
Ctl-R: restores full shields and heath
Ctl-Shift-STUFF: Each player gets an item

Review References:
Glenn Broderick, Computer Player, August, 1996, volume 3, number 3, pages 54-55, 9 out of 10 (90%).
Shane Mooney, PC Games, August, 1996, volume 3, Number 8, pages 60, C-, 72%.
Chuck Miller,
Peter Smith, Computer Games Strategy Plus, issue 70, September, 1996, pg. 84-86, 2.5/5, (50% or 75%), fair to good.
Kevin J. McCann, Computer Player, volume 3, number 4, September, 1996, pg. 27.

Strategy References:
PC Games, August, 1996, volume 3, Number 8, pages 80.