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Publisher: PomPom    Genre: Arcade
Min OS X: Any Version    CPU: G3 @ 400 MHz    RAM: 64 MB    Hard Disk: 30 MB


Mutant Storm
February 28, 2003 | Galen Wiley
Pages:12Gallery


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In the early 80s, a company by the name of Williams produced one of the finest old school arcade classics to date, Robotron. The game offered long-lasting gameplay, great graphics and sound, and could only be found at the local arcade. Near the very end of the 20th century, shareware developers worldwide have tried to mimic Robotron's addictive and original gameplay, all yielding less than satisfying results. Die-hard fans began to lose hope in there ever being a game that would satisfy their needs, that is until Mutant Storm came along.

Gameplay
Mutant Storm's developer, Pom Pom, describes its product as "inspired by Williams classic RoboTron, Smash TV, and Jeff Minters fantastic Llamatron". For those who are not aware of these titles, let me give you the quick low down of Mutant Storm's general gameplay. You are placed into the cockpit of an advanced space craft with only one key objective: eliminate the enemy at all costs. Using two control schemes, one to move your ship, the other to control the direction of fire, you cruise around in a large shaped world, collecting power-ups and blasting the baddies with your dual lasers (as well as other weapons you can get your hands on), all while trying not to get blasted yourself.

Of course, with each level comes more. You might start off with the mundane task of having to wipe out an enemy footman squad, but as the game moves on, you'll find yourself dodging dangerous shards of broken hyper cubes, racing for that nearby shield power-up, and timing those bomb shots to annihilate as much as possible before that alien fighter has you for lunch. The game itself is very fast paced, and relies not only on a gamer's reflexes, but his or her judgment as well.

The game is viewed in a birds eye view manner, so you'll be able to see everything play out just as it happens. For levels with larger arenas, the "tabletop", so to speak, will actually tilt to a more dramatic angle, giving the gamer a better look at what's close, a feature executed superbly by the game's developer.

With this said, Mutant Storm is an absolute blast to play, and don't think that it will be over anytime soon. The game sports 89 levels in all, each more challenging than the last, in addition to an innovative "belts" system, which allows gamers to prove themselves in 8 different difficulty settings (marked by a different color, hence the "belts" system), for a grand total of 712 levels. Yowza! Fortunately, the game saves your progress every 10 levels, and you can easily replay already beaten levels in the level select screen. This is great for those who would prefer not to play 712 levels straight!

If that isn't enough, Mutant Storm also supports a robust two player mode, allowing you and a friend to compete against each other for the highest score in any level, all at the same time. Not only does this make the game go a whole lot faster, it also makes it a whole lot more fun, knowing that you don't just have something to prove to the computer.

Other interesting features I enjoyed were USB support for gaming devices. While the keyboard is fine for the earlier levels, you'll undoubtedly need some sort of gamepad controller if you want to get all the way to the end. My Gravis Gamepad Pro USB sufficed, and I noticed a far better experience while using it. Unlike other OS X games that claim to support HID enabled devices, there was little configuration needed (other than setting the controls), and before I knew it, it was like I was playing on a console.

As with all arcade games, Mutant Storm boasts a very nice high scores system that's easy to record and easy to view. When you receive a Game Over, and have made a high enough score, you are prompted to enter your initials (or whatever floats your boat), and viola, your name is forever immortalized in the Mutant Storm Hall of Fame, that is, until someone else can top you. You can find all the details you need about each entry, such as the record-bearer's level, time, and of course score. Furthermore, because there are different high score tables for each belt ranking, you'll be able to compete with people at your skill level, not higher, not lower.



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