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Zombies, vampires, huge spidery things with rocket launchers attached on various places of their anatomy and one long stream of enemies to mow down with your machine guns. NecroVisioN is a dinosaur, clinging to a lot of the gaming conventions we so viciously decried in our last issue – exploding barrels, switches, big boss monsters with inordinate amounts of health, etc. While it does nod towards modernism on a couple of occasions, what with its challenges, combos and unlocks, there’s hardly anything here you won’t have seen before.
Is this a bad thing? As usual the answer is yes and no. There’s no pretension here, and no sheen of originality covering a generic shooter. NecroVisioN is out-and-out old school corridor (or rather trench) blasting and is unrepentant about it. Set in WWI, you take the role of a wise-cracking US soldier, curiously fighting for the British even before his fellow countrymen have joined the war. (Is there any other kind of gaming American?) You’re sent over the top by a bumbling General Melchett-esque character, which inevitably leads to you and your buddies getting cut down by a wave of machine gun fire and mustard gas. This atmospheric introduction leads you to a cutscene in which a grotesque creature – heavily inspired by Hellraiser’s cenobites – uses barbed chains to tear an innocent squaddie apart.
After this, you find yourself in a bunker with a crazed (and very well acted) British soldier, who you end up killing and dispossessing of his rifle. From here on, you’re in Painkiller territory (no suprirse, as half the team behind that series is responsible for NecroVisioN) – lots of enemies, visceral bloodshed and gore, huge enemies, guns and explosions: they’re all here. Sadly, so is the feeling of repetition and weariness you get after your hundredth room of zombies. The boss encounters are exciting on the face of it, but once the initial wow factor has passed, you’ll probably end up frustrated at the monotony of each encounter.
As with most old-school blasters, NecroVisioN is fantastic fun in small doses, but extended play makes for mind-rotting boredom much quicker than you’d expect. As gamers, we’ve moved on and demand more – certainly if we intend to be playing for more than 30 minutes. There’s a lot of fun to be had here in the zombied and vampired version of WWI’s battlefields, but only if you stick to your strict gaming rations.
May 26, 2009