Okay, the storyline goes little something like this.... Our hero, Turok, is unwittingly thrown in the depths of a death match style tournament, in order to control the Light Burden, or something. Truth is, it pays no relevance to any part in this game whatsoever! It's basically Acclaim, and the N64's answer to Quake 3. It is a single player title, but get a few mates round, it's a lot more fun. With lots of levels, lots of weapons, and four variations on the death match, this game looks set to take the N64 multi-player title from GoldenEye, for now anyway.
For single player, there is a large training type course called "Trials", that puts you through your paces against the AI bots, in order to win rewards, such as new weapons, features and characters. Personally, I dislike this idea, although, I suppose it adds to the replay value. There is a 2 Player co-op, which is nice to see. This is basically the worst part, of a great game, and even then, it's quite good.
As you'd expect, the multi-player is undoubtedly, one of the best ways to spend some quality time with your friends. There are four modes, comprising of quite a few maps, in each. One on One, Team Play, Tag the Monkey, and Capture the Flag. My favourite is Tag the Monkey, where one player is turned into a monkey, (and somehow a chicken for me once!), and is assigned 10% Health, where they must find a portal that will transform them back into a human/monster/droid /dinosaur type creature, before someone touches, or shoots you, and make you explode instantly. The others may sound familiar to Quake fans. One on One is self-explanatory, Team Play is where players are assigned to teams, and set out to kill each other. Capture the Flag is not like GoldenEye's Flag-Tag nor Quake's CTF. There is one flag, and two bases. The levels for Capture the Flag are too small for any real fragfests, and two-on-two doesn't really compare to a sixteen-on-sixteen on Quake 2 PC.
The plain death-match modes are very good though. They are well designed, and vary from damp, dank, dark crypts to floating pyramids in space. There are quite a few maps, over 30, and each is unique. As for weapons, there are quite a few to choose. From the shotgun to the emancipator to the cerebral bore. These are excellently balanced, and no one gun stands out. As for a melee weapon the WarHammer will have to do, it's really just a fancy mallet, it sounds like an earthquake if charged, and makes for an alternative deathmatch.
Acclaim have taken a page out of Valve's book, and added secondary fire to each weapon. This really adds to the gameplay. The shotgun, for instance, loads up 6 shells and blows up in some poor unfortunate's chest and hurts them pretty good. The assault-rifle doubles as a rapid-fire sub-machine-gun. There are also some extra items you can pick up along the way. Proximity Mines, Sentry Turret, a bear trap, and a cerebral bore. The latter is a brain-sucking gun, put simply.
The controls, I have to say are excellent. Instead of opting for movement using the stick, this game uses the C Buttons. C-Left, and C-Right strafe, while the stick is used for sight. There is also jumping in this death-match, which gives you a much larger freedom of movement than GoldenEye. They are tricky at first, but are excellent after you get used to them.
Overall it's hard to knock the multi-player element of this game. Although the AI could have been elaborated on a bit more. Some of the characters have a tendency to play peek-a-boo, but that's not really noticeable when there are a few bots in the arena. It's quite simply the best multi-player first-person shoot 'em up for the N64. The only let down is the single player mode, which seems to be slapped on, which is maybe a good thing, as it gave the developers more time to enhance the multi-player side of things.
This games is one of the first to take advantage of the Nintendo64 4MB Expansion Pack, but for the benefit of the majority of the N64 owning population, this game was tested with a regular N64. The graphics in this game are excellent. They are smooth and streamlined. Coloured lighting is used to great effect when lighting is set in a room. The interface is nice, and does the job well. One real beauty of it though, is the level select screen. When you select a level, a 3D fly through is displayed on the sidebar, so it's easy to remember what your favourite levels are. The characters are well rendered, but still look cartoonish. One qualm I had though, was the darker levels, on my TV they came up pitch dark unless brightness was turned up to full, where they would appear legible. Another was the fact that no matter what character you selected, the arm holding the gun would remain a human arm. This is no biggie but is clearly noticeable to a purist like me.
The sound effects are decent, nothing special though. As for the music, it's quite atmospheric. If you've ever played Diablo on the PC, you may notice an uncanny resemblance to some of the tunes.
This is one of the best N64 Multi-player titles available and is must to any N64 fan of the multi-player element of GoldenEye. If you're looking for something to play by yourself on Christmas morning, then I'm afraid this isn't for you. The AI could have been a bit better, but works just fine anyway. My advice, get an N64, four pads, four pals and fire up a death-match, you'll not soon regret it.