Newest Review: ... is also alot better at base building. This brings me onto another aspect of the game that actually came as a suprise to me. In the very ... more
A Giant of a game... ha ha
Giants - Citizen Kabuto (PC)
Giants - Citizen Kabuto (PC)
Date: 05/04/01, updated on 06/04/01 (11 review reads)
Advantages: Graphics, variety
Disadvantages: Unstable... may crash and no in-level save feature.
The game's action is set on the Island, a planetoid hurtling through space. It is covered with lush, tropical islands and brilliant azure seas and is at least a temporary home to numerous strange creatures, including the game's three playable races. These are so different that they can make Giants seem like at least three different games in one. First, there are the Meccaryns, or Meccs, who were swallowed by a giant space fish while heading to a vacation planet and then unceremoniously defecated onto the Island. They have access to a full range of traditional shooter weaponry such as machine guns, missiles, sniper rifles, grenades, and more. Meccs also have special backpacks, including a default jetpack that lets you fly short distances before having to recharge. For higher flying, there's a gyrocopter that can be piloted by one Mecc while you carry others in multiplayer mode.
Whereas the Meccs use high technology, the nymphlike Sea Reapers rely on mystical powers. Delphi, their princess, wields a sword plus various bows for long-range attacks, but her real power comes from her spells. For instance, her teleport spell not only instantly moves Delphi to another location, but it also creates stationary clones to confuse the enemy. The slow-time spell temporarily decreases the movement and attack speed of creatures caught in its sphere of influence. These are just a couple of the many imaginative Sea Reaper spells. The Sea Reapers also have a jetski vehicle, which you'll have to race around on in several misssions.
The third playable character is Kabuto, a Sea Reaper experiment gone awry, who uses his massive size as a weapon. Instead of spells or gadgets, he lashes out with pro-wrestling-style moves. Using a special adrenaline boost, Kabuto lets loose with elbow drops, foot stomps, cannonballs, and the butt flop ("like the body slam, but with less dignity," according to the game's funny manual). Kabuto can also make mi
ssile weapons out of handy objects, like boulders - or even Sea Reaper guards. In a laudably bizarre twist, Kabuto can also use a special gemstone, like a magnifying glass, to focus the sun's rays and scorch anyone in his path. Furthermore, you actually have an option to view the game from inside Kabuto's mouth or from beneath Kabuto's foot, in case you want a very close look at the carnage.
A gameplay element that sets Giants apart from other shooters is its incorporation of base-building and resource-collecting elements from real-time strategy games. There are two basic resources - Smarties and Vimps - which are two of the many indigenous life forms on the Island. Smarties are little munchkinlike fellows with oversized heads, and they act as workers; Vimps are lumbering alien cattle. The economics of these resources is different for each of the three playable races. Meccs gather Smarties to build their bases, including workshops, gift shops (armories), command centers, perimeter defenses, and so forth. They gather Vimps to feed the Smarties and keep them working. Sea Reapers surround Smarties with magical bubbles and lead them back to the sea to create their bases while gathering Vimp souls for more energy. Kabuto has no need for a base and simply eats Vimps and Smarties; the former restores health while the latter lets Kabuto lay miniature offspring that fight along with him. To save meat for when he might need a health boost later, Kabuto can skewer creatures on his horns.
The single-player game is composed of separate stories of linked missions, which progress through each race. Through very funny, fully 3D animated cutscenes, you're introduced to new items and game concepts, like collecting Vimps or using advanced combat tactics like hiding in a holographic bush for stealth. Missions tend to be varied in their individual goals, and they gradually increase in scope and difficulty, typically alternating between easier and hard
er goals. Despite their differences, the missions largely revolve around a little exploration and a lot of combat; Giants is an action game at heart, though the action never gets old, thanks to the impressive settings and widely varied forms of attack. Giants uses some old shooter standbys like power-ups, which appear when you kill a creature; but this doesn't feel stale or out of place, since the rest of the game is so imaginative. If the single-player game does have a flaw, it's the lack of an in-mission save feature, which can quickly turn the fun into frustration since some missions can be quite hard. This can also be a problem because Giants can be rather unstable, and may unceremoniously crash your computer, forcing you to restart the mission you were in. Also, the game only has one difficulty setting. Fortunately, the single-player campaign is quite long, and many of the more elaborate missions give you access to a base, where you can stock up on health and firepower.
Ultimately, the truly unique premise, coupled with stunning graphics and exciting gameplay, makes Giants: Citizen Kabuto one of the best action games in years.