January 16, 2019
Archives  Reviews  Bionicle  



Publisher: Feral Interactive    Genre: Action
Min OS X: 10.2    CPU: G4 @ 1000 MHz    RAM: 256 MB    Hard Disk: 1500 MB    DVD-ROM    Graphics: 32 MB VRAM

April 26, 2005 | Michael Miller

Click to enlarge

All of this is brought to life by brilliant colors and vivid effects of all kinds. Nothing about this game pushes the graphics envelope by any means, but that doesn't keep it from looking gorgeous. The environments are colorful and carefully designed to give a certain atmosphere. Whether you are up drifting over treetops or diving through blue lagoons, the experience is distinct. Little details are present, like butterflies and small creatures doing nothing but living in the landscape. Character movements are detailed, including touches like weaving off balance if you stand too close to an edge. Special Kudos go to Feral and Zonic for expanding the available resolutions for the game, too. The PC port can only go up to 1024x768, but on the Mac side a great deal many more options are provided, and it was one of the few games that supported my monitor's native resolution of 1920x1200.

I cranked every setting I could find all the way up -- shadows, resolution, FSAA, textures, and colors -- and the Dual 2 GHz G5 I was running handled it with silky smooth aplomb, for the most part. Scenes where there was sudden fast movement encompassing a large area of the screen would introduce stuttering, something I find mysterious since I've certainly run other games that were more intensive and not ended up with any such problems. Still, tweaking the settings down should give perfectly acceptable performance on machines with even the minimum requirements. According to Feral, Bionicle is particularly RAM hungry, and the more you have free the better off you are.

Sound and Music
The sounds in Bionicle were functional, if not memorable. Something I was pleasantly surprised with was the music, which was definitely a notch above the average video game score. With various ambitious touches, including little choral riffs for the grander moments, it certainly complimented the epic feel that the story was attempting to give to the game.

I say 'attempting,' because unfortunately I suspect that unless you are already well acquainted with Bionicle history, a number of things are simply going to leave you in the dark. Of course, much the same could be said of any number of Star Wars games, and the reasoning there is that virtually everyone already knows the basics. Apparently, Lego makes much the same assumption here. Not necessarily unreasonable, as research shows that the Bionicle toy line has actually been a fairly substantial hit for the company, and spawned two straight to video CGI movies. Nevertheless, despite being a long time Lego fan, and considering myself to be a fairly hip person, I must confess to total ignorance in this case. This puts me squarely in the category of an out of touch old person, and at my age, that's pretty sad.

Nevertheless, for those in the same boat as me, here is a brief explanation:

An Island Paradise is ruled over by the benevolent Mata Nui. His vile brother Makuta has put him to sleep, corrupted large portions of the islands denizens and sent his own spawn to attack the peaceful inhabitants left.

Enter the Toa, six heros wielding elemental powers. Like all the other living things on the island, they look somewhat like robots and somewhat like Inca drawings come to life. Going by the names of Tahu, Lewa, Gali, Pohatu, Kopaka, and Onua, they are all that stands between the darkness and the light.

It's certainly understandable enough, but that's once I've cut out about half the words that I'm guessing come direct from Hawaii. At the rate they are thrown around in game, you spend half the time wondering what was just said.

At least it's said quite well, as the voice acting is not bad, and the few cutscenes that are part of the game compliment it pleasantly.

That is almost the final word on this game -- a good solid effort at creating an adventure game for kids, with care and attention applied throughout to make it an entertaining time.


Archives  Reviews  Bionicle