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Publisher: Gathering of Developers    Genre: Action
Min OS X: Not Supported    CPU: G3    RAM: 64 MB    Hard Disk: 80 MB    4x CD-ROM

Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2
February 9, 2001 | Matt Diamond

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I know little about Heavy Metal (the magazine, the movie, and the straight-to-video sequel) except that it was originally an attempt to use comics and animation, long associated with Disney and unambiguous clean-cut superheros, to tell ďadultĒ stories involving sex, violence, fantasy and science-fiction. That gives you an idea what to expect from the Heavy Metal F.A.K.K.2. Computer games are no stranger to that sort of content, of course, so on that level F.A.K.K. is just a market-pleasing combination of Tomb Raider (the sex interest) with the intense visuals and violence of Quake III.

However, F.A.K.K. is a brilliantly balanced and solidly constructed computer game in its own right.

The story builds slowly, starting with a comprehensive training level and some exploration of the peaceful town and its inhabitants. Ominous hints of trouble were then slowly introduced. It nicely dramatic, and by the time the story hit high gear I was quite comfortable controlling Julieís movements and attacks.

I will say that the townspeople come across as a bit simple-minded, being very slow to realize that something is dreadfully wrong despite the glowing pieces of mutant-producing meteorites every 50 feet (this is still very early in the game so Iím not revealing much.) Still, itís a time-honored tradition in fantasy and horror that the general populace is in denial and needs lots of rescuing.

Before long all hell breaks loose and itís up to Julie to put things to rights. This involves a quest for a mysterious item of power that must be located before the mysterious enemy locates it and somehow uses it to achieve eternal youth or conquer the universe or something, and the only guy who knows where it is lives a hermit-like existence far away... Okay, fairly forgettable quest stuff, but it draws on comic-book/fantasy/science-fiction themes to good effect.

The quest requires a great deal of combat along the way, and again I found that F.A.K.K. delivers the goods.

Themís Fightiní Words
The combat in F.A.K.K. is both lively and strategic, thanks in part to a varied collection of weapons that gradually become available as the game proceeds. The Julie character is able to use some weapons in either hand, while others are restricted to one particular hand or require both hands. Far from being cosmetic, I was able to use this feature in interesting and complementary ways. For example, swinging a sword in one hand and an waving an Uzi in the other, I was able to shoot at an enemy that attempted to attack me from a distance, then engage with the sword when it charged in to attack directly. An effective technique even late in the game is to use a shield in one hand and sword in the other, blocking attacks and swinging the sword as needed. Since different weapon combinations worked best against certain critters I really would have liked a way to preset different weapons configurations and call them back quickly. The given mechanism is very easy to learn, but itís is a bit clumsy to switch weapons in the middle of a combat situation (although one might argue that it approximates real life.)


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