Epic (Second Review)

Title           Epic (Second Review)
Game Type       3D Combat Sim
Publisher       Ocean
Players         1
Compatibility   All (With WHDLoad Patch)
HD Installable  Yes (With WHDLoad Patch)
Submission      Tom Waddington (tom@waddie.org.uk)

Possibly the most disappointing game of all time. Epic was supposed to be
the Amiga's answer to Wing Commander. You play the pilot of a the Epic
fighter, leading the defence of a Battlestar Galactica inspired fleet of
refugees as they struggle across alien territory to escape the impending
supernova of their star.

The plot is, of course, complete and utter tosh. At the end of the game
the supernova of one star wipes out the entire Rexxon Empire, a multiple
light-year spanning collection of star systems. Still, it's the gameplay
that counts, right?

After a minimally animated mission briefing you enter the game itself.
Your tasks vary, generally they involve shooting a certain number of enemy
ships or blowing up a particular ground installation. The graphics are
lovely; very solid-looking 3D in pastel shades and look like no other 3D
game before or after and everything moves around quickly enough. The sound
is limited but adequate.

The problem is that the game was rushed out before being anywhere near
complete. I'm going to have to resort to a list to mention even a fraction
of the bugs and flaws in this game:

1) The fuel canisters vital to completing the missions are completely

2) They compensated for the lack of fuel by including a "re-arm
   and re-fuel" key that boosts your ammunition, shields and fuel to
   maximum no matter how often you use it. And you will use it, no
   matter how good you are, because the game is impossible without it.

3) If you fail to complete a mission the game carries on regardless
   with none of the threatened ill effects, breaking all the following
   mission logic entirely.

4) The game is easily completed on the first attempt inside half
   an hour.

5) Your fighter can only move up and down a very short way, making
   the game more like Battlezone than a real space simulator.

6) The enemy fighters are all hopeless shots so the only chance of
   being shot down is if you stay as near to motionless as possible
   and give them five minutes or so to shoot at you.

7) If you shoot down all the enemy fighters, replacements blatantly
   appear out of nowhere.

8) By necessitating the use of the "re-arm and re-fuel" key, the
   game gives you weapons that you aren't supposed to have early in
   the game and, crucially, can remove a weapon that is vital to the
   completion of one of the missions if you don't do things in exactly
   the right order.

Hm, that'll do. I could go on but it seems pointless; even if these were
the only problems they would render the game unplayable. The saddest part
is how close the game comes to being something really special. If they'd
given it another six months of development and play testing it could have
been a classic.

The final awful thing that this game was responsible for was a 91% mark
plus Screenstar award given to the game by CU Amiga magazine, clearly
reviewed from an early prerelease version and for which all involved
deserve to rot for all eternity in the lowest pits of hell.

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