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Extermination
Review By:  Brennan Ieyoub
Developer:   Deep Space
Publisher:   Sony
# of Players:   1
Genre:   Survival Horror
ESRB:   Mature
Date Posted:   9-10-01
 
I have to admit, there wasn't a whole lot of information I knew about Extermination whenever I saw it enticing me from across the counter at Electronics Boutique.  Sure I had read a few articles and seen a couple of screenshots, but I didn't know what kind of gameplay it had to offer.  The mystery shrouding Extermination's arrival was what made taking it home seem so irresistible to me.  It was like spotting an exotic beauty from across the dance floor, her coy smile piquing your curiosity, her amber skin dipping in and out of the spotlights, glistening with every sultry gyration of her robust hips.  She draws you toward her with her passionate stare then embraces you.  She rests her chin upon your shoulder as your hands run across her sweat soaked back and onto her supple buttocks.  She leans in closer, grazing her full, cherry colored lips upon your ear as she whispers, "Take me home with you.!"

 
Well I've already been down that road brother, and I'm here to tell you that this beauty has a serious case of loins scorching HERPES!  Now I'm not by a long shot saying that buying Extermination is as terrible as contracting herpes. I mean, you can return Extermination, but you can only dream about returning herpes until the day you die.  I'm just saying you probably won't know you've been bamboozled until you've sealed the deal in both of these situations.  The more you don't know about this game, the better the package sounds.  This is just another forgettable title.
 
Upon booting this puppy up, you'll be treated to a boring cinema scene with bland dialog and animatronic like animation.  The story is so painfully trite you'll probably want to skip it, so I'll sum it up in a nice, terse paragraph.
 
On the Antarctic continent lies a top secret military base that goes by the name of Fort Stewart.  The base dispatches a distress signal, then somehow loses contact with the rest of civilization.  So how does Uncle Sam remedy the situation?  He sends in the Marines of course! Semper Fi!!  As a member of Team Red Light, the most elite branch of special forces recon known to man, you and your squad are sent in to assess the situation, rescue survivors, and restore the facility.
 
I was truly excited when I first began traversing the icy exterior of Fort Stewart.  The game looked great,  sounded great, and it had some very promising gameplay.  In addition to the run and gun action that is prevalent in most survival-horror titles,  Extermination will have you climbing crates, jumping crevasses, swinging from ladders, and performing a myriad of acrobatic evasions.  It all sounds like candy right?  Well, the problem with all of these Lara-Croft-like moves is that none of them can be implemented effectively.  Their applications are extremely linear and unexciting, like driving a race car on rails.  The game developers have failed at making these innovations gel together with the traditional gameplay that makes classics like Resident Evil so exciting to experience.  There is also an evident lack of passion behind the development of this title.  Extermination feels like an attempt at fattening some ones bank account instead of a game idea conceived by an artist, aimed at offering gamers a refreshing, new perspective of the genre.
 
The graphics are admittedly above average.  The frame rate is locked in at a brisk rate, and the characters are nicely detailed.  There's a wide variety of enemies to face, and they all have a good range of animation available to them.  The textures are, unfortunately, very drab and repetitious.  The level design is also quite boring and uninteresting, resulting in an overwhelming sense of deja vu when accessing new areas.  A noteworthy exception to the otherwise somniferous locales would be the external environments, which showcase a very well designed snowstorm effect that makes for some genuine tension.

 
The control is basic and requires little time to master.  The X button is your action button (Jumping, opening doors, grabbing ledges, opening chests, etc), the square button executes a powerful knife slash, and the circle button is a weak knife attack that can be pressed repeatedly for a three hit combo.  The triangle button will pull up your inventory and status screens, and the shoulder buttons are used for aiming your rifle and controlling the camera.  The analog control is very responsive, and your character turns to face whatever direction you push the stick in as opposed to having to rotate him in place before walking forward which is the genre standard.  This gives you a nice amount of precision that can be useful when evading enemies.  The tight control gives an exciting, action oriented type of feel that is unfortunately stymied by the cumbersome targeting system.  You can't fire your weapons while moving, and the auto-aim feature is really lame. 
 
The camera is just plain horrendous.  You can swing it behind your character by pressing L1, but you can't control the distance from which the action is viewed.  It remains too close to your back, obstructing the view of what lies directly in front of you.  Be prepared to be smacked around by lots of off screen mutants the camera wont allow you to see. Switching to a first person viewpoint is possible, but only for looking around or firing your gun, movement isn't allowed.
 
There isn't a lot of depth here either.  You'll spend most of your time finding a way to open a certain door, or access a certain elevator.  Of course there are plenty of enemies hanging around just begging for a chance to poke one of their tentacles through your pasty white chest.  In addition to avoiding tentacle floggings,  you have to evade the mutants' green, projectile barf that will infect you with the same bacteria that makes them all look like inside-out colons.  Once your infection meter reaches the 100% mark, you have a very limited time to find a vaccine, otherwise it's game over marine.
 
I really wanted to like this game, but I just can't seem to remain interested  in it for more than 5 minutes at a time.  After that, everything from opening doors to battling monsters just becomes a very arduous task.  Save your hard earned money for a more worthy purchase.  If you want to give Extermination a go, do yourself a favor and make this one a rental.

HIGHS:

  • Some good graphics.
  • Cool enemy design.

LOWS:

  • Bad camera.
  • Boring gameplay.

FINAL VERDICT:

Extermination takes a step in a new direction and falls flat on its face.  At it's very best, it's a weekend rental.  It came with a whisper, and it will leave with a thud whenever I toss it onto the counter at EB for trade-in credit.

Overall Score: 4.5

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