Vyruz (c) Chili Con Valley
Introduction / Plot:
As you read on the screenshoot, the Untel Empire controls everything all over the world.... But (and of course there's a BUT) you have the Vyruz fighter prototype to fight your way against this evil CPU (Intel?). You are Mr. Jack Kelkinn and have to destroy the worst AI computer ever made by the Untel corporation engineers. You'll have fight through the incredible Untel Empire State Building in the Megatown city. Destroy every dangerous vehicles controlled by the main CPU (i386) and find your way, floor by floor, to disconnect it. And as they say on the box 'If you don't do it for humanity, do it at least for money ...', of course, like Chili Con Valley is going to pay you for it.... NOWAY, you will pay for the game . With your proud Vyruz AM-030 you'll assault the enemies with plenty of rockets, mines, grenades, laser, machine guns, flame throwers, missiles, there is no shortage of weapons, you'll need them all (don't forget to collect as many weapons as you can, you can run out of them pretty easily if you do not take care). Well the plot, although not being that original (pretty much stolen from Robocop and other movies), is interesting and suits well to gameplay. The proof of the CPU being an Intel and not an Untel is that it will keep sending against you single army instead of crashing you with an huge ammount of fire power... but well even this way it's not that easy at all.
First matches with Vyruz will proove it's an hard game, altough just after a couple hours you will start to see it's not a full arcade game but a game where you'll have to think a bit before firing a lot.
Gameplay / Controls: 8.0/10
Stepping in into Vyruz is really easy, just fix the controls under the option menu to suit yourself and start going around finding enemies and shooting at everything. After a little time you will be still going around and firing at will, but you will move slower, think more, and save shoots for hard times. Honestly the learning curve is so well done that hardly anyone will be kicked out of the game having no fun or too many troubles understanding everything. Though at first your vehicle is pretty bad armed and only good thought attacks will let you reinforce the baby and let you avoid a premature death.
The Controls are really well done, you can choose to use the mouse, joystick or keyboard, but the mouse seems the best choice, letting you drive the veichle trough a point and click. Left button will move and right will fire, though even if you have an enemy under the cursor don't be certain you're hitting it, there seems to be a major bug into the pointing system, and even using the keyboard will not assure you about the target being damaged.
Level design is pretty good, with long levels and various enemies, also the variety of weapons will let you face the game in many ways; You will not be forced to front assault enemies, there are another couple options at least, like shooting a grenade and escaping or using long range weapons like the rockets. All over the game you will collect money, these are really important, even if at first you will not notice it. Indeed trough money you're able to look at a level map (each second costs you some money) and you will need 100.000$ to save the game!! Yes... that's weird, especially when u have to leave in an hurry, find a 'save' tower just in time to see you have not enough money to save... This save with money approach is pretty original, and can easily show both it's pro and it's cons: the game will not be ruined saving after each corner to avoid restarting but also you will be forced to keep playing till next tower even if you don't have no more time or will.
Sound / Music 7.2/10
Music is really 'pumping' up your time along the game, and the music genre really fits to a close future that Chili Con Valley tries to portrait with Vyruz. Anyway if you're not a techno freak you will find your ears burning pretty fast and a low volume choice is a must. The sounds are well done, nothing great, but it's not so easy to emboss a game like this with shots and explosions. Anyway they tried to improve the game adding speech here and there commenting your actions, during gameplay I didn't find them bad, though now that I'm writing I don't feel there was a real need to tell the player 'what are you doing!?' if he just choosed to leave the mouse for a minute and check something else in real life...
Game is shown trough an isonometric view, at first many panels will hide most of your screen, but you can get rid of them all with the [Tab] key. There are no major glitches and overall the graphics is good. There's no impressive feature and the game can be enjoyed (with some reduction of quality switches) even without a 3D card on a middle end laptop, anyway the frame pumping of a good 3d card and a good CPU (not Untel possibly), will help the gameplay a lot. Everything about the graphics in Vyruz lets me think that the GFX-guy was taken from the demo scene, and the 'LSD-like' effect seems to be a good proof. There's a pretty big bug into the game level check, so I found myself more than one time trapped, having to reset the level even if graphically I was free to move on one or more direction.
Overall this game is a success, solid gameplay, good graphics, music fits well, what else can you ask from a game? Multiplayer is the answer... weird but you will feel a bit alone playing Vyruz, maybe because whenever you wanna think you can just step back a bit and have huge level zones without enemies. The game genre is not new, and I would like to compare Vyruz to get Gaunlet back from grave... yes the game idea is the same (just gaunlet had sources producing enemies, whilst here enemies are counted), but Gaunlet years and years ago, even being an Arcade game had the multiplayer thingie solved, indeed the original cabinet had four joysticks mounted on it!
So, Vyruz is well done, not perfect and some more ideas could have been put inside, but trust me, you will not regret giving it a try.