STAFF REVIEW of Murakumo: Renegade Mech Pursuit (Xbox)

Thursday, March 13, 2003.
by Tony Ingrassia

Murakumo: Renegade Mech Pursuit Box art Murakumo is a blazing fast, seek and destroy, mission based game. The story is simple, renegade A.R.K's (Artificial Reflexive Kineticoid)have broken away from their human controllers and have set out to reak havoc on Oliver Port, a huge metropolis that is the center of scientific advancement in the future. You are part of an elite force of pilots quickly assembled to helm a prototype group of Mech Hunter units known as the Murakumo. Destroy enough of these renegades and unlock even stiffer adversaries. In this game you can't think, you need only react....or die.

Speed, thats were the fun of this game resides. The velocity in which some of these ARK's move on the screen is amazing. Your ARK is equiped with 2 weapons, 1 primary, and one secondary. 5 ARK's to choose from each with different strengths and weekneses. Controls are very simple, left stick used just like a flight sim, right trigger is your boost, left trigger reverse boost, "A" main weapon, "B" secondary, and "Y" toggles your view (You can play this game in the 1st person perspective). You are assigned a mission to destroy a Mech and off you go, at your disposal is a guidence system to let you know where your target is, and how far away it is, fall to far behind and you mission is over, let the enemy Mech get out of the containment area and your mission is over. Mastering quick turns is key to piloting your way around a sea of buildings. In case your thinking about flying above all the clutter, think again, your ARK has altitude limitations, so your gonna have to give chase. Now, the game is basically that simple, the Mechs are cool, the speed at which this game moves is amazing, the visual effects are pretty spectacular...but in the end the game gets very repetative, your playing to beat your high score and little else. To throw an even bigger monkey wrench into the formula, their is no system link or multiplayer option. It's a solo ride from start to finish. I didn't finish the game but was a little bored with it relativelly quickly, and there may be something real special when unlocked, but if a game can't keep your interested long enough to get to that point, well, that's a problem. The opening scenes make you salivate with anticipation, and then a few hours of frustration takes over as you keep repeating the same mission, slamming into the same building, loosing track of your target, and then finally you beat it to find another mission in, for the most part, the same type of city scape. Yes you occasionally find your self dodging bridges or overpasses, but not enough to get your interest level back up. The targeting system is real loose, and will drive you crazy during a heated pursuit. Again I find myself playing a game that could have been a great addition to the library, but just doesn't have any "...umph", no power ups, no nothing...just speed. This all may appeal to some of you out there, and by all meens, give it a rental, but I played for about 12 hours total, and I really don't have the urge to pick it up again. This is the same group that gave us Splinter Cell, right?

Visually Murakumo faired better, you do notice if you look closelly that some of the distant objects are less than spectacular, all to make the main action move that much faster. It's acceptable, because the frame rate is solid throughout. The explosions and vapor trails off your missles are very cool. The blured vapor trails and heat blur around your mechs gives it an uncanny realism that is amazing. Not to much in textures here because at the speed you traveling you will never notice. Graphically UBI delivered a solid game.

Descent soundtrack, the rest is pretty vanilla. The voice acting is very repetative, but it is supposed to be an AI talking to you. Explosions and crashes are nothing special. Even the in game Dolby Digital didn't really do much.

Again, a great idea and some wonderfull visuals fall short on gameplay. In this day and age there is no reason to not include multiplayer in a game of this genre. Take it the whole 9 yards next time around.

Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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