Gamestyle Archive intro: this Red Faction review from Dan Kelly is incomplete. It’s fair to say we have quite a few incomplete reviews on the various format spreadsheets that remain in existence. In this case, I’d say we almost have a full review so its better to restore what we have rather than keep it hidden away. If the full version is found then this page will be updated.
There are varying degrees of incomplete reviews – literally we have some that are just a line or even 2 words. So we’re proceeding here with what will be one of the early PS2 reviews. Around this era the review page had a series of icons that confirmed whether the game supported 60hz, multiplayer etc. Such features are default now but its amazing how times change. Published June 2001.
Three things pop into mind when most people think of Mars, the colour red, Total Recall and scientists getting excited about the monumental discovery of fossilised bacteria up there finally proving we are not alone. So there’s not exactly a lot going for it. Let’s hope THQ can change that with the release of their First Person Shooter (FPS) based on the lovely red planet Mars, titled Red Faction, which boasts 25 hours of storyline.
There a few FPS’s around on the PS2, Quake III Revolution, Unreal Tournament, Timesplitters and so on. But these titles heavily rely on multi-player modes to keep you coming back for more, and if you’re anything like me then a social life disappeared around the same time you stopped combing your hair, washing your clothes and brushing twice a day. Also, due to the fact that there is no online gaming available on the PS2 as yet, I’m afraid there will be many people sitting in there curtain drawn, clothes ridden, goat odoured bedrooms having to resort to playing the single player modes, where, unfortunately, most FPS’s tend to fall flat on their face.
Storyline? What is that? Games like Unreal Tournament and Quake don’t have the single player addictiveness of games like Half-Life and Goldeneye, which will cause lonely PS2 players to become bored quickly. That was until THQ decided to extend the in-game vocabulary beyond EAT THIS! And GETSUM! But original good FPS storylines are about as abundant as ginger haired Chinamen.
So, what is the storyline? Well, you play Parker, who like most spoilt rich kids, wants to escape from his world of private schools, beluga caviar and smoked salmon, and decides to hop on the first shuttle bound for Mars to become a miner for the Ultor Corporation. Earth now relies on Mars to supply its insatiable needs for minerals, in the form of Noachite, due to the depletion of its own resources. But like most package holidays it isn’t quite what it says in the brochure, and you’ve got a lot more to worry about than dodgy light fittings, and cockroaches. The conditions in which the miners work are awful, food is often questioned of its edibility, and the Ultor corporations guards often decide to practice their kung-fu upon the more than unfortunate miners. If that didn’t already seem bad enough, there’s also a mysterious plague going around killing off quite a few of the miners. All this inevitably leads to an underground organisation, who obviously dislike more than Ultor’s lunchtime menu, lead by the mysterious Eos, who urges the miners to rebel and strike out against the corporate slime.
The miners are ready to blow like a 35 year old Trekky in an Asian massage parlour. But during a routine shift change a miner is assaulted. That’s when all hell breaks loose, and Parker is forced to defend himself, which inadvertently leads to him becoming a rebel in the eyes of the Ultor corporation, and rebels aren’t liked around these parts. It’s now a case of kill or be killed my friend, and for god’s sake don’t shoot the windows.
There are a lot of nice things about this game. The vast array of weapons, ranging from riot batons to fusion rocket launchers, all serving their own purpose. The riot baton is there so you can have fun with the civilians and scientists. The sniper rifle and precision rifle are there to hit distant switches, or to help that guard in the tower remove the bit of spinach that’s been stuck in his teeth for days. But only through progression can you unlock the more fun weapons like the rail driver, which can both shoot and see through walls, which is a great asset in some of the infuriatingly hard later levels.
Along with the weapons there are also vehicles and gun turrets to get your mitts on throughout the game. The submarines are essential for the underwater levels, the Aesir Fighter for the flying levels, the driller drills, the Armoured Personnel Carrier kicks the crap out of everything, and the All terrain Vehicle is there to run over the porridge men who think they are god’s gift to breakfast nourishment. There aren’t a lot of games that condone the slaughter of civilians, but THQ know how much fun it is to kill that poor office worker who’s hiding under the desk, and actually give you much needed medi-kits for doing so. Also as your notoriety grows as a rebel your wanted posters will boast larger sums of money and there will eventually be a picture to accommodate it. This will lead to you becoming more easily recognised by the guards. A lot of time was spent facing into a corner, looking into a plant pot desperately trying to avoid detection on the stealth levels.
But what really makes this game stand out from the rest is the Geo-Mod system, which lets you destroy everything and anything. If there’s a door you can’t get through, get out your rocket launcher and make another door. Unfortunately there is a limit to where you can go with your remote mines and rocket launchers, after all it would be a bit too easy to just make your own path to the end of the level. But there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing your carefully placed remote mines explode and cause the bridge to collapse taking everything and everyone with it.
If you want to have some fun with the Geo-Mod system, you can try and create your own Mt. Rushmore, or go looking for a rock that looks like your mum and let loose with the fusion rocket launcher. It might not sound like much, but it adds a lot to the enjoyment. But no game is perfect, and it is not without its flaws. As said before, the later levels are infuriatingly hard and will eventually force you to go out toup
Gamestyle Score: 8/10