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     " CímonÖ. Aaaaaaaarrrrrgh CRAP! Son of aÖ "

   Title: Sky Odyssey by Activision

   Format: Action/Adventure for PS2

   Reviewing Monkey: Simi N.

   The Hype: Fly up to ten aircraft on hair-raising missions including landing on an aircraft carrier, refueling on a moving train, and flying through canyons full of geysers and rockslides!

      What This Monkey Thought...

   Graphics: The graphics in this game are pretty good, but they didnít make me drool. They certainly donít use the PS2 to its fullest capabilities, but then, it is an early game. The best graphics are devoted to your airplane. The planes all look very nice, with a good amount of detail; ailerons move when they are supposed to and what not. The background textures are very nice looking, but the falling rocks and hills donít have a very high polygon count, and there is noticeable draw-in. Also, the geysers and lava spurts sure look like sprites to me, making things seem a bit cheesy instead of amazing. There are plenty of special effects that you will encounter on your way through the game, they are not too flashy as to make you lose your concentration and run into a canyon wall, but Iím sure you will do that quite a few times on your own. However the special effects can and will lead, at times, to some tremendous slow down. Slow down of this magnitude in this type of game is really inexcusable and seems to be a problem more with the way the game was coded, than with the PS2s capabilities. 3 Ĺ out of 5.

   Sound: The sound is very nice. While I admit that I really donít know what a Messerschmitd BF-109 sounds like when it starts up, I have to say that it sounds believable to me. There is a nice rumble noise when rocks break off canyon walls, the other vehicles in the game sound accurate, and all of the sounds are nice and crisp. The Music is really very nice. There are no one-size-fits-all kinds of techno songs in this game. The music is more of a classical variety, with lots of stringed instruments, and in some cases some choral backup. The best part is how the music changes nicely depending on your situation, making those tough spots even more exciting. 4 out of 5.

   Game Play: This game is just plain fun. There are four modes of gameplay including Adventure, Target, Sky Canvass, and Training. These modes all provide their own unique challenges and require differing levels of skill. Target mode tests your skill by having you fly through floating targets. The further you get the more difficult the targets are to hit: in the last level, they all move! Sky Canvass mode is a neat one where you release smoke from your plane to make designs in the sky. This mode has the most difficult levels I have encountered. But the Adventure mode is by far the most fun. In this mode you are given a series of missions to complete in order to find Eden on one of four Islands. The levels range from being very short (two to three minutes) to quite long (fifteen to eighteen minutes) and get more and more difficult as the game progresses. The situations you are placed in are somewhat ludicrous, but are really fun. Aircraft carrier landing, refueling on a moving train, and flying through canyons with rockslides, and geysers are all things that you will do in the first three missions! From these levels to the later ones where you find yourself flying through small caves, and forests the most repeated string of nonsensical blathering coming out of your mouth will be, "Oh shit, oh shit oh shitÖcímonÖ. Aaaaaaaarrrrrgh CRAP! Son of aÖ." 5 out of 5.

   Level and Environment Designs: The levels are nicely varied, although you will often be flying through tight canyon walls, there are also a lot of very open missions, some of which are the most challenging. The levels in this game will take you through canyons, tunnels, caves, over mountain passes, cities, bridges, waterfalls, long expanses of sea, through forests, high into electrically charged thunder clouds, and into giant tunnel-like air currents. And all of these places look very nice due greatly to the texturing. The levels begin to incorporate more and more tight squeezes and nail-biting situations the further you get and also become larger and much more diverse. The only real problem is that many or even most of the levels are kinda unrealistic, I mean what kind of whacked out nut job goes flying into a forest, and through a cave when he could just fly over them? Itís really kind of ridiculous, but it sure kept me frozen in front of my television for days on end. 4 Ĺ out of 5.

   Multiplayer: Alas there is no multiplayer. Woe is me. If thou wishes to share the experience that this game provides, thy friends will have to watch.

   Replayability: This game has what I would call super high replay value. You probably wonít even beat the game before your start to replay the levels either to better your ranking on them, or just to relive the experience. You will have no trouble rationalizing beating it multiple times to unlock all ten aircraft. The game really is that fun. In fact this game makes me so happy, if it were feasible I would have the case melted down and molded in to a pair of underwear so it would always be with me. 5 out of 5.

   Story/Dramatics: The story in this game just doesnít make sense. The premise goes something like this: In order to conquer these four relatively unexplored Islands, you must first conquer the skies. But if this is true, and these islands are largely unexplored, then how come there is always a landing strip waiting for you? Well some of it makes sense. You have to visit four ancient ruins to get maps of the islands that will eventually tell you how to get to Eden. What Eden is in this game and why you want to find it is never explained, but it must not be really important, because as soon as you beat the game after finding it, your character takes off on another adventure. 3 out of 5.

   Instructions and Learning Curve: The in-game and in-manual instructions are plenty good to get you on your way. If you are like me and the last flying game you played with any real interest was Tie Fighter, the controls will take you a while to get down. But hey, thatís why there is a training mode. By the time you finish the first six training levels, the seventh is for special vehicles only, you will be good enough to get through the first four or five levels, and as you progress you develop more and more skills to get you through more and more missions. It really works out quite well. 4 Ĺ out of 5.

   Installation and Real System Requirements: This is where my biggest gripe comes up. Fist of all the game uses about 240 KB on you Playstation 2 memory card, unless you save a replay; those take a lot more. And this game requires an analog controller. That part is just fine, but there is absolutely no joystick support! I mean come on, the PS2 has two USB slots, and this is a flight game! It should have been a no-brainer! Sorry, but you lose points for that one. 3 out of 5.

   The Verdict:

       This game is one of the most fun I have had the pleasure to experience on the PS2. Its amazingly fun levels and high replay value dwarf all of its problems. You will have trouble turning this game off. In fact, shortly after I received this game I developed a twitch in my left eye from staring at my television for so long.

   The Good: Nice texturing, cool vehicles, four modes of play, nice music, many secrets, and awesome levels.

   The Bad: Some cheesy graphics, and some horrendous slow down, not to mention a nonsensical plot.

   The Overall Ugly: Youíll be happier than a monkey in a Honey Bucket. This game will keep you coming back for more; no matter how many controllers you may break in your repeated fits of rage.

   What it's Worth: This game is definitely worth the market price, probably even a little more.

Buy it now from Amazon.com

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