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  Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter
From the Company
Unknown forces have set in motion a chain of events that could eliminate every living being in the Vagner System. The Rangers, an elite law enforcement organization, pose the only real threat to this sinister plot. To thwart their investigations, the conspirators orchestrate a campaign to undermine the Rangers with infiltration, sabotage, and false incrimination. Ranger Mace Griffin is framed in such a set-up and sentenced to ten years on Penal Colony Delta. In prison, Mace becomes introverted and embittered, and swears to take revenge on those who have wronged him.

Intent on revenge, Mace Griffin sets up as a bounty hunter. The benefits are threefold: a constant stream of cash, access to classified information, and a license to explore the Vagner Frontier System and find out who was behind his downfall and that of the Rangers.

The Skinny
Initially, I heard that this game was supposed to be a futuristic space version of Grand Theft Auto. It would have been cool to be able to gallivant across the universe, jack other spaceships, causing as much mayhem and destruction and a true space pirate should. Well, it turns out that that is not what this game is all about, rather is it about an ex-ranger (futuristic police force) who was wrongly imprisoned and is now out and looking for revenge. While this is not the Grand Space Auto that I was expecting, it is the exact kinda game I like. Take a story-driven first-person shooter and mix it in with some space-flight simulation… and voila, you have the good-looking and constantly engaging experience known as Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter.

One thing that sets MGBH apart from the rest in this genre is playability. The seamless transition from land combat to cockpit space-action was tremendous. One minute you are infiltrating an industrial facility or slave mine, and the next you have boarded your ship and are off into space to take down hordes of enemy ships. One thing that I thought was a really cool idea was the ability to let go of your throttle, get up and leave the cockpit while in flight. Unfortunately though, this was as far as it went… perhaps this will be developed more in the sequel (hint, hint).

MGBH looks as great as it plays. I must give congrats to these guys for al the little touches that they have put into the game that make it that much more entertaining. Little things like the trash talk that your enemies will shout when in a close-quarters shoot-out, and did I mention the real-time lighting and weapon animations... There are 13 expansive missions that take you through diverse types of environments, each with their own types of inhabitants and obstacles. And this excellence follows through to your enemies as well. The bad guys have this uncanny ability to coordinate their attacks… unlike most other just-sit-in-the-doorway-and-shoot-bad-guys-as-they-come-to-you games. There are plenty of times that you have to run and gun and equally as many times that you need to sneak and snipe, or sometimes just blow everything up altogether. Many times enemies come from a variety of location each toting different weapons. You’ll find yourself pinned down by snipers while ground troops attempt to surround you. Fun stuff I tell you! One thing that did frustrate me though was that my enemies could roll out of the way to avoid and attack – all I could do was crouch… what’s up with that?

The Bottom Line
Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter is an all-around great game. There are just the right amounts of run-and-gun, sneak-and-snipe, and flying space battles to keep you engaged and entertained. The biggest hurt to the re-playability of this game is the lack of a multi-player mode… but I’m willing to overlook that due to the sleepless nights I had, unable to put the controller down.

Review ID Number: 477
  Product Details
Vivendi Universal Games
Review Date: 2003-10-13
Reviewer: Shawn Sardy
Rating: 9 out of 10
 
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