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Heavy Metal F.A.K.K 2? By the name you would be lead to thinking it was some kind of rock version of Dance E- Jay and how wrong you would be. Instead Heavy Metal F.A.K.K 2 is a Quake III Engine powered action adventure in the Tomb Raider style based on a series of graphic novels and animated films which originate from the 1970’s. The basic premise of the game is to save the peaceful world of Eden from a sinister alien attacker who goes by the name of Gift. You play as the scantily clad Julie, who manages to out do Lara Croft in the lack of clothing and size of digitised mammaries stakes. As Julie you explore various areas of Eden whilst fighting off hordes of radioactively mutated critters or strange alien creatures, jumping over various gaps of different sizes and solving rudimentary puzzles that are as about as difficult as tying your shoe laces, which may only present a problem if you used to wearing sandals or slippers. Graphically Heavy Metal F.A.K.K 2 is a gorgeous peace of eye candy. The Quake III engine creates a environment that is reach in detail and vibrant colours. Julie, the enemies and the non player characters are all beautifully rendered and animated, moving with grace and poise around the exquisitely constructed level. The levels set in the valleys outside Eden’s main city are a particular wander to behold, with their elaborate fauna and water effects full of reflections and movement. These levels also give you a real feeling of openness and depth. Standing on some of the higher cliff faces gives you a feeling of vertigo as you peer into the abyss below. Other outstanding graphical features include the fantastically realised and automated massive machines that appear in several of the games levels. Pistons pump and mechanisms click and turn in the background and it really feels that you are living in the heart of one gigantic machine at times. However gorgeous the game looks like and how well the Quake III engine deals with moving the graphics Heavy Metal F.A.K.K 2 is massively flawed in many ways. Firstly the game suffers from the problem that haunts all 3rd person perspective games, the camera view. Most of the time the camera follows the action of the game extremely well allowing for you to see all that is happening around you, which is an imperative when you going under attack hordes of mutants as if often the case. However as equally as well as the camera view helps you it also frustrates in equal measures. More than often you view gets obscured by the surroundings or disorientates you completely, which is incredibly annoying on some of the later levels which involves timed and precise movement. The number of times I had to reload a save game because I had accidentally fallen off an edge because of the camera suddenly and unexceptionally changing angle were numerous. The second big problem with Heavy Metal F.A.K.K 2 is that the game is unresponsive on occasions, which in a game that involves making a large number of accurate nail biting jumps is incredibly frustrating and beggars disbelief that it wasn’t picked up in the play testing. This problem really slows the whole game down as the only way to deal with the problem is to save the game before every jump and hope that the game responses to your command to jump in time. To make things worse the graphically detection around objects is also flawed meaning that sometimes you get stuck on objects whilst trying to make a simple move or found an invisible wall around other angles. Although Heavy Metal F.A.K.K 2 suffers from the above problems it is still an enjoyable if short term romp. There is a lovely selection of different weapons to choose from which is helped by having a two hands two weapons system which makes it possible to use a combination of different weapons. My favourite being the Uzi and Lightening sword combo. Then again the potential to make the dual weapon system something unique is really a wasted opportunity as most of the time you stick to using the same weapons whilst completely ignoring others. For instance I never used the gas bombs or the two handed axe as they were surplus to requirements as well as being fairly ineffectual and pointless. Heavy Metal F.A.K.K 2 is also too short, it took me less than a week to complete the whole thing. Which in comparison to similar games like the Tomb Raider series or Alice is rather disappointing, and to be honest your probably better of buying either of those titles if you want a 3rd person arcade adventure game that is free of annoying glitches and offers a real challenge. Heavy Metal F.A.K.K 2 could have been a great game if the flaws in it had been ironed out and it had offered a challenge that wasn’t just about controlling your anger at it’s limitations. Heavy Metal F.A.K.K 2 does have some plusses the graphics being the major one and may be worth picking up if you can find it cheap and are willing to swear at the annoying glitches.
Heavy Metal: Fakk 2 is part of the Heavy Metal legacy, which spans back to the 1970's. Heavy Metal is a comic, that in the 70's was considered cutting edge, with risque sexual imagery. An animated movie of the same name was also made, which I purchased on DVD to check out this phenomenon. The movie was very dated and didn't really grab me, although there were several good stories in it. Since then, the Heavy Metal comic has been very popular, leading to the computer game. The game is based around a battle between Julie (the guardian of the universe who destroyed the evil Lord Tyler in an epic battle) and a new threat to Eden's peace. After the battle, she lead her people to Eden, a beautiful planet which harbours a great secret - water that provides eternal life and regeneration. The planet is guarded by a "Fakk 2" hazard beacon (which warns space ships that the planet contains deadly biological diseases) and also an energy shield. Life on Eden has been good, and very serene. The game starts with an introduction to Julie's sister, who is pregnant and needs feeding. The opening scene is stunning, as this game uses a licensed Quake III engine, which provides incredible visuals throughout the game. The game is played in the 3rd person viewpoint, which works very well due to a brilliant camera, fluid character movement and smooth animation. At the start of the game, you are outside Julie's house. The Julie character in the game is modelled on Julie Strain, a B-movie actress who found fame doing porno films, before marrying Kevin Eastman (of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame). Julie Strain was used to promote the computer game, which worked well as she is a wet dream for any computer geek. During the game, she dons various outfits ranging from tight leather catsuit to suspenders and stockings. This serves no purpose but to encourage the gamer to continue playing, I suppose it is very sexist but then many compu ter games are, and she is the central character and heroine of the game. After mooching around the house, you enter a training area, where you are introduced to a great suite of weapons. Starting with simple projectile weapons like a sling, and moving onto powered weapons like handguns and heavy artillery. Julie can use both hands independantly, for example holding a shield in one hand and a sword in the other. This makes for refreshingly different combat to "Boob Raider" games, and Julie's fluid movement makes the game a joy to play. On completion of training, you enter the Eden Marketplace, and things start to go wrong. Large meteors are penetrating the energy shield, and a swarm of weird insects attacks a pen full of cow type creatures. Julie then drops down into the basement to find a queen insect, which she fights as a boss. The story progresses quickly, with Lord Gith attempting to take the planet from Julie and her friends. As the rest of the people aren't soliders, it's up to Julie to save Eden. She must travel deep into the swamps to find out the mysteries of the magic water. This game is very original, even though the genre has been done to death. The Quake III engine is excellent, providing a graphics base that makes for one of the best looking games I've ever played. Sound is equally good, providing a decent 4.1 speaker system with plenty of detail. The contents screen even has a Julie Strain / Heavy Metal track which is pretty good.. The game imagery is a mixture of sci-fi and low-tech, lending the game a timeless feel. The storyline is good, and though basic, keeps you interested as you fight your way through. The developers haven't filled this game with obtuse puzzles (Like Soul Reaver) but basic switches and platforms that don't frustrate or annoy. It's an un-ashameadly linear game, which works very well, you don't spend hours wandering around lost. The pace of action is fast, and the enemies are very tough at times, keeping you on your toes. The enemies are very interesting, some of the best character design I've ever seen. They are a horrible bunch and have good swarming AI which leads them to chase you around. As you progress through the game you get some heavy duty weaponery which makes a mess of the toughest bad guys, although limited ammo stops you waltzing through. Power-ups in the form of Eden's Water and berries, food, etc. keep you going and repair battle damage. The strongest point of this game is the sheer quality. You never feel like any part of the game was relegated to the trainee artist or novice programmer. As the game progresses the levels become even more grand, culminating in the levels of the "Wu" temple which is splint into 4 levels. The "Fire" level is stunning, if you have a fast PC you will be gobsmacked at the architecture and detail. One of these levels contains a great falling block puzzle, which is massive and quite puzzling until you learn to follow some fairies that you release earlier in the level. The final battle is challenging and will have you scratching your head (hint: chop off HIS head using HIS sword). And then it's all over...maybe it's a little bit short, it took me about 10 hours to complete. Overall, a very enteraining and beautiful game, quite original and with a literary / comic heritage which gives the plot some extra weight. You don't feel like a "save the world from the bad guy" plot was hatched just for this game, but you feel more involved as if you are taking part in a real adventure. Some of the cut-scenes are very funny and give the non-player characters some extra dimension. Highly recommended, but make sure you've got a fast PC.