October 23, 2018
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Publisher: MacPlay    Genre: Action
Min OS X: Any Version    CPU: G3    RAM: 128 MB

Giants: Citizen Kabuto
November 20, 2001 | Eddie Park

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Hey lads, I just met the most beautiful Smartie...
Giants is a gorgeous game. It features huge, lush environments rife with color, well-detailed creatures, and some incredible 3D effects. The environments for the Meccs campaign are particularly gorgeous, featuring staggering mountain ranges layered in with grassy fields and multi-colored deserts. It's possible to see quite far into the distance, and the added zoom feature makes seeing far-off enemies particularly easy.

The various in-game characters are also well animated and detailed. Strap a Smartie to the back of a Mecc and he'll hold out his arms ala Kate Winslow from Titanic. Delphi boasts a different swimming animation for each of the four main directions. Kabuto leaves monstrous footprints as he stomps about the landscape. Creatures impaled on his horns tend to wriggle about, and he boasts various eating animations, including one where he tosses up his hapless prey and snaps them out of midair.

The in-game camera itself is particularly flexible. As noted earlier, it's possible to play the game either in first or third-person mode, depending on one's tastes. There's also a "special camera" that allows players to face their characters from the front, which is cool when you want to see them in action. There are also three levels of zoom, making sniping particularly rewarding.

Unfortunately, all this power comes at a price. Even on my 867 with a GeForce 3, I was playing with framerates anywhere from 35 fps to 10 fps, depending on how much action was taking place on the screen. The Delphi jet ski races are particularly annoying - imagine trying to race with several other jetskis through a series of narrow checkpoints at 10 fps or less. The courses themselves aren't particularly challenging, but the low frame rates made what should have been a fun diversion into some of the most difficult missions in the game.

Roooooooaaaaaaaaarrrr!!! (Kabuto emoting)
The audio in Giants is a mixed bag. One of my own personal beliefs is that a good title should have a soundtrack to match. Unfortunately, Giants' soundtrack is instantly forgettable, featuring what seems like one soundtrack for each campaign. The music is orchestral in nature, and tends to stay low-key unless impending action comes upon the player. After listening to the same track for what seemed like the 50th time, the music ceased being music and turned into little more than a glorified warning device.

What Giants lacks in music, however, it more than makes up for in sound effects. The voice acting alone deserves much praise. The Meccs are definitely the stars of the show, making wisecrack after wisecrack. Even when they die, they can't go out without rattling off phrases like "I'm out for a bit," or "Ooh, my legs!!" All the weapons in the game make the appropriate sounds, from the pinging noise of the pea shooter to the huge roar accompanying a launched mortar and the subsequent explosion that follows.

Kabuto in particular is a sound bank unto himself. If you have access to a solid subwoofer, I suggest you crank the bass when playing as Kabuto. His footsteps alone can rattle the windows, and when he attacks, your neighbors will wonder what the heck is going on at your place. Kabuto also features three different, very impressive roars, and his devouring of soft pudgy things is accompanied by much smacking and chomping. As for his laying of eggs, well, let's just say you'll be tempted to recommend that he go on an all-fiber diet or something.

I suppose I could go on about how gorgeous Giants is, how great it sounds, and how varied it is. I could also point out its flaws, including low frame rates and a weak soundtrack. However, all of this is pretty meaningless in the face of one overriding thing:

This game is FUN.

It's fun to soar above your enemies as a Mecc, blasting away with missile launcher and ordering your pals to take out a particularly annoying sniper, all the while wondering where your next beer is coming from. It's fun to play as Delphi, speeding through the water and casting the Meteor spell that lets her rain destruction from the heavens on a cluster of enemies. And it's incredibly fun to stomp around as a nigh-invulnerable package of mayhem and destruction, belly-flopping onto buildings and devouring anything that moves.

This game definitely has that special addictive quality to it. I burned way too many late-night hours playing through what I firmly told myself would be "just one more mission." I actually reached a new excuse while playing Giants, turning the "just one more" into "just one minute into the next mission to see what it's like."

It doesn't hurt that this game is bursting at the seams with some of the funniest lines and moments I've ever experienced in a computer game. There's a "Timmy!!!!!" scene that holds a special place in my heart. Couple this with the lush graphics, the amazing sounds, and the great gameplay, and this title is a no-brainer recommendation.

Giants: Citizen Kabuto
Publisher: MacPlay
Mac Version: Omni Group
Developer: Planet Moon Studios
Buy Giants: Citizen Kabuto now at MacGameStore.com


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