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Ron Ridley Auto Care Mall

 
  Shipwreckers!
Gameplay:
- Shipwreckers is an action/arcade style game in which you navigate a pirate galleon across the seven seas (actually it's across 5 levels with 4 different regions in each) solving puzzles, collecting treasures, evading deadly anti-pirate hazards, battling pirate foes and claiming harbors along the way for the swashbuckling cause. For the most part the game is slow paced where you are to solve basic puzzles like finding bottled maps, treasure and power-ups, but this is not to say that there are no action packed battles where good reflexes and a quick trigger finger will not come in handy. Aside from the ever popular cannon on your pirate galleon, you will also collect some less than realistic weapons along the way to help you sink (or burn, or blow up, or electrify) other ships and destroy other obstacles like flame throwing turrets, exploding blowfish, bomb dropping parrots, airships, etc. It's always fun to use the flamethrower on another ship and then collect all of its crew as they jump overboard from their flaming galleon into the salty depths. There are also some more creative power-ups such as the "insta-blimp" which will replace your sails with a Goodyear style blimp, allowing you to float up and over walls, enemies or any other obstacles in your path.

Shipwreckers has a third person overhead view perspective, which is one of its shortcomings. Occasionally, the backgrounds and scenery get in the way, making it hard to see what you're doing. Granted there are three different views available to you through the "select" button, but you don't always have the time to toggle camera angles while you are fleeing from an enemy while trying to avoid giant rotating buzz saws and flame belching turrets in a narrow canyon.

The other play mode (aside from the single player adventure) is a 2 to 5 person battle mode. This is where the action really begins to heat up. You have 10 different (yet strangely similar) arenas to battle in. The unique feature of this battle mode is the way in which the screen will zoom out when the players are far apart and zoom in to give a more detailed look at the action when the players are relatively close together. Tons o' fun!

As far as control goes, Shipwreckers is quite responsive. Your ship rotates on a central axis and has a forward thrust. By holding the "up" directional button, your ship will cruise even faster. The only problem you might encounter is the fact that your galleon has no reverse or strafe. This can occasionally get you into bind, especially when you encounter a rotating buzz saw unexpectedly and are not coordinated enough to turn your ship hard to starboard to get out of the way. But aside from that, the control is smooth and easy to pick up.

My only other criticism about the gameplay is the loading time. It's always annoying when you have to wait a ridiculously long time when saving your game or when just trying to reach the start menu.

Graphics:

- As with most other Psygnosis games, the graphics are great. The games main graphics and video animations are cartoon style, but not lacking in quality or detail. The most impressive graphical feature was the way in which the water was done. You can see all of your defeated enemies in their watery graves a few feet below the surface and all of your submersed enemies still to come due to the water's transparency (very cool!), not to mention the lighting effects on the waves and the shadows of airborne predators. Another impressive effect was the smoke that billows up from destroyed turrets and flaming ships (whether it be an enemy one or your own), the clouds and the fog, which were all very well done. The only downfall of the graphics, as I mentioned above, was the fact that the overhead third person perspective sometimes limits your view rather than enhancing it, even with the three camera angles.
Sound:

- Each area had it's own theme music, varying from region to region, and was usually up beat and perfectly suited to each region. I found however, that after a few hours of gaming the music would just end up annoying. The sound effects were average, but then how is anyone supposed to know what an enormous rotating buzz saw cutting through a flaming pirate galleon that is being chased by a ship hurling lightning is going to sound like anyways?
Replay Value:

- The replay value of Shipwreckers unfortunately is not that high, due mainly to the fact that the game is quite repetitive. You are basically doing the same thing every level and it eventually gets kinda boring. The feature that the majority of gamers will get the most fun out of is the multi-player option.

Overall Comments: - I was quite impressed with Shipwreckers, but as I mentioned above, found it repetitive and therefore got bored with it after hours of gaming. Of course with a multi-tap and a group of friends, Shipwreckers could give you hours and hours of gaming fulfillment. It's the kind of game that appeals to a certain group of gamers, and I would definitely recommend renting before your decide to buy.

Review ID Number: 230
  Product Details
Psygnosis
Review Date: 2001-04-19
Reviewer: Shawn Sardy
Rating: 7 out of 10
 
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