Wednesday, September 5, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 10


'Space Tripper' makes upgrades over classic game, 'Defender'

By Michael Ahlf
Daily Cougar Staff

This week, I thought I'd start out with something different ­ a "value" title, from a distribution house that still believes in classic gaming values.

The game is Space Tripper, from developing house Pompom.

On the surface, it's a very basic title. There's the ship, which moves up and down and from side to side. There are the enemies, which are there to be shot. The inspiration for the
game was the classic title Defender, and it's a pretty nicely done remake.

The most obvious improvement Space Tripper has is in its graphics; 14 levels on four different "worlds" sport well-rendered enemies, with boss creatures like a spider robot
and a gigantic lamprey.

All the enemies are well drawn, and the three-dimensional graphics engine allows the worlds to look much more fun, with ramps and holes in the floor to contend with as well as
the fighting.

The gameplay options have been improved upon as well, with the player having two guns.

There's a tight forward beam and a spreadfire weapon, each of which can be upgraded as levels are passed.

The point of Space Tripper isn't to be a high-powered, million-copy-selling game -- it's just a fun little one to pick up when you've got some time to kill.

With that in mind, it can only be ordered online at, and the cost is a mere $12.

Grade: B

The next game is Max Payne, from Gathering of Developers, and it's a third-person shooter. The story line is pretty simplistic, but it works well. 

The plot line is straight out of any movie which carries a lot of carnage; by the end of the first level you've watched as Max's wife, child and best friend have all been killed before
his eyes.

Your goal? Take down the mob, the corporation that's making a drug called "Valkyr" and anybody else who gets in your way.

And you're not really paranoid, either. Between the cops, the mob, the corporate security and the secret government workers who invented the drug, everyone is out to kill you.
It's time to go nuts and shoot anything that moves.

Max Payne sports a rich graphics engine, with fabric movement and real-time rendering of bullet flight.

The arsenal Max can wield is impressive, going from a baseball bat to dual Ingram semiautomatics to massive shotgun and explosive shell weapons.

The rendering engine also takes a good deal of getting used to, since the headshot is almost necessary for taking down enemies quickly.

What makes Max Payne a cut above the normal shooter games is a little feature called "Bullet Time."

For short bursts of time, the game slows to a crawl; while Max can't move any faster than normal, aiming becomes much, much easier.

Think of The Matrix for an idea of how it works. In addition, the game's artificial intelligence is well done, with enemies taking the time to dodge and roll just as the player can.

The downside? The game requires the burliest specs for a computer, asking for a minimum speed of 450 megahertz, a 16-megabyte graphics card, and 96 megabytes of RAM.

To really shine, you'll need something carrying 800 MHz or better, with a Nvidia GeForce2 or higher graphics card.

If your system can handle it, it's definitely worth it. Grade: A.

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