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     " Chances are you will spend a great deal of time yelling, 'That is such ****ing Bullshit **** you **** YOU, you piece of crap! Iíve had it, this game ****ing sucksÖ' and then hitting the replay button. "

      Title: Blade by Activision

      Format: PSX Action/Adventure

      Reviewing Monkey: Simi N.

      The Hype: Did you ever see the movie Blade? Me either, but in this game you get to take over the part played by Wesley Snipes and kick some vampire ass. Take on a ton of enemies, use a hoard of weapons, and travel through diverse locals in your quest to kill the "suckheads."

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: The graphics in this game could have been really good for the Playstation, but the programmers didnít quite make it. There are a huge variety of surroundings with tons of interesting textures. The big problem comes with warping. For those of you who donít know about this phenomena its like youíre looking at, say a hardwood floor, and off in the distance all of the wood is in a zigzag pattern, but when you get closer, it shifts to being straight. In this game everything more than about six feet in front of your character is prone to warping. Another annoying problem is the polygon gaps in the walls of your surroundings. There is a crap-load of these throughout the entire game Ė just to clarify, "crap-load" in this case means that you will be hard pressed to find a screenshot where there isnít at least one gap. If the designers had spent a little more time polishing this game up it could have been beautiful. 3 out of 5

      Sound: Most of the time games that come with looping techno tracks donít bother me. I donít usually love the music, but at least itís not in the way. The music in this game, however, makes you want to bang your headÖinto your TV. Almost the entire soundtrack consists of very short looping techno songs that just donít fit the game at all. Not only are they not very fun to listen to, they are often times distracting and can really hinder the gameplay. Luckily the voice acting isnít nearly as bad. In fact I would even say that the voice acting is pretty good compared to most games. Sometimes the actors get a little overzealous, but for the most part it sounds pretty natural. As for the sound effects in this game, they are less than special. They are about the quality of the default sounds that come with Windows in your computer. Enemies grunt, and your weapons make a bang nose, but they are all decidedly low quality and there is no way to tell if your character or your enemies do the grunting. 2 out of 5

      Game Play: Offer up vampires, zombies, security guards, SWAT team members, and a bunch of weapons and almost anybody should be happy. But this game doesnít come through for the most part. The controls are very simple, but that is almost the only good aspect of the gameplay. It is hard to explore your surroundings because your character doesnít have a lot of movement options. This carries over to fighting as well, where you will be driven insane by the lack of moves you get to use when fighting for your life. The auto-aiming feature is cool, but very inconsistent. Sometimes youíll target an enemy and wait for your shot gauge to fill up (thus raising your chances of a critical hit) and blow its head off, but other times, you will repeat the same procedure and it will take five shots to kill it. Not to mention the times when it says that you are aiming at the enemy, but you shoot your gun right past it. And then there are the in-game load times which are not only atrocious but also almost random in their occurance. For example, you will be running down the middle of a hallway and suddenly everything stops and a loading message appears. This probably doesnít seem too unreasonable, and it wouldnít be if it didnít happen every five minutes! Then thereís the fact that the save points, which disappear after one use, are placed in totally nonsensical intervals throughout the game. You should always have a save point either right before or right after a Boss character, or a cutscene, so you donít have to play through a half hour of the game just to get to the boss who beat you the first time you faced him. Throw all of this into a game that shouldnít be, but is, strangely addictive (kind of like watching a car accident) and you will find a huge rise in broken game controllers and expletive usage. In fact if you play this game, chances are you will spend a great deal of time yelling, "That is such ****ing Bullshit **** you **** YOU, you piece of crap! Iíve had it, this game ****ing sucksÖ" and then hitting the "replay" button. 2 out of 5

      Level and Environment Designs: This game starts you out on the loading docks of a major metropolis. From here you will travel through sewers, China town, factories, catacombs, offices and a museum. There really is a lot of variety, although almost all of the rooms that you will visit are very square. The texturing is really cool, especially in the catacombs with the PS2ís smoothing function on, but it is ruined by the gaps present throughout the game. The problem is that you are almost never rewarded for exploring your surroundings. Sometimes you will get a special item for noticing that a wall looks funky and shooting it, but when you spend ten minutes timing your jump to get into that dark corner, you get bubcas. 3.5 out of 5

      Multiplayer: No multiplayer. And, for the first time, I can honestly say that the way this game plays, multiplayer would not work.

      Replayability: It would be tough to play this game only once and get all of the special items. This is mainly due to the fact that this game is very non-linear; you are often forced to go one way, and never will see where the other path would have led. But apparently having certain items can slightly change the ending. And really the game doesnít take very long to beat so going back through it wouldnít be too much of a chore. 2.5 out of 5

      Story/Dramatics: I could have written a better story using a pencil in my butt cheeks. The story was just barely interesting enough to keep me playing, there wasnít really any depth to the characters, and the story didnít have any cool twist, it was very straight-forward. And after having beat the game youíll feel a bit disappointed and not just because the final boss was the easiest boss in the game. They could have taken it so much further and explained so much more. 2 out of 5

      Instructions and Learning Curve: I didnít figure out exactly how the shot gauge worked until I was well over halfway through the game. I blame this entirely on the manual, which didnít do a good job of explaining it. But the rest of the controls were explained pretty well. The menu (to switch items or weapons) is probably different from what youíre used to, but it doesnít take very long to learn. Also the movement controls are very simplistic and easy to master. 3.5 out of 5

      Installation and Real System Requirements: When you realize that this game has fairly long load times and a whole colony of a monkeyís lice worth of them, you end up spending a lot of time reading instead of playing. It only takes one slot on a memory card but you canít save one game to two slots on the same card. However it does check both memory card slots, thank you. And if it had been polished off a bit more it would have pushed the envelope for the Playstation, but as it is, it doesnít use it to its full potential. 3.5 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       This game could have been really cool if it was stretched and refined a bit further. The way it did come out is lacking, but I found it strangely addictive which almost made me like it less because I couldnít stop playing even when I wanted to. But I wouldnít bet on most people getting drawn in as much considering the fact that there isnít much there to pull anyone in.

      The Good: There is variety in your surroundings, the texturing is great, and you get to shoot & slice vampires and zombies.

      The Bad: There is a ton of warping, gaps in the walls, the sounds is really pretty bad, the game play is constantly cut up by loads that jump out of nowhere, and the final boss was the easiest one in the game.

      The Overall Ugly: This game is definitely worth the rental, though not much more. I found it to be addictive in spite of its myriad problems, which meant it pretty much made me perpetually pissed off.

      What it's Worth: This would be an awesome $10.00 game.

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