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Red Faction
Review By:  Christopher Coey
Developer:   Volition
Publisher:   THQ
# of Players:   1-2
Genre:   FPS
ESRB:   Mature
Date Posted:   9-23-01

Viva la revolution?

Well, it's no Total Recall, but this is an FPS with a single-player mode that actually has a compelling storyline. The gamer plays the part of Parker. An overeducated, under-appreciated miner locked into an indentured servant-type job in the bowels of Mars. But things are going horribly wrong (go figure!). People are beginning to die nasty painful deaths. Seems there's a bit of a plague going on. Ironically enough, the movie Ghost of Mars has a similar plot: Miners being taken over by a mysterious plague that had lain dormant in the deep recesses of the Martian soil. Somehow, however, it makes for a deep and intriguing plot when interwoven within the framework of a game. But when used to propel the storyline in a Hollywood movie, it's downright terrible [read: don't go see that movie]

Once again, the protagonist of the story is a reluctant hero (Parker) who happens to be in the wrong place at the right time. A resistance movement has been brewing within the mines, and they've been waiting for the proper set of events to launch a revolt. The movement, called the Red Faction, is lead by Eos who guides you through your adventures by way of intercom. Also on you team is Hendrix, your "man on the inside", who aids you with his computer expertise and custom hack-jobs on the company's mainframes and security systems.

By now, if you follow the PS2 gaming community, you are no doubt familiar with the driving force behind this game. The real-time, dynamic destruction of game surfaces labeled: Geo Mod technology. Basically what this means is that instead of searching around for the right key needed to open a specific door, you can, with the right amount of fire-power, create your OWN door by blasting though the rocks. If there's a hard to hit sniper up on an inaccessible ledge: blow the ledge to bits! You get the picture. In all there are 15 weapons of destruction, ranging from standard FPS-stock riffle, to fusion-rocket launcher with infrared monitor, to flame thrower. Add to that an impressive selection of vehicles: Jeep (with mounted machine-gun), Submarine, Armored Tank, Driller, Single pilot spacecraft/fighter. The fun never stops. The Driller is pretty impressive, not only because you can drive THROUGH anything that may be standing in your way (including solid rock); But also because it's practically indestructible, AND you can run people over with it (although this becomes a little Austin Powers-like when the guards continue to shoot the massive armored vehicle with their pea-shooters while it continues slowly towards them, and they're crushed beneath it's twin rock-cutter blades)

The puzzles in the game are good. In almost all situations, starting right at the beginning of the game, you are simply thrown into the action. You're Parker, you're a miner on Mars, and everything is going wrong. Figure out what to do next. I LOVE this approach to games. Situational realism. It makes for pleasantly challenging gameplay. But don't get too worried, there's a back-up system in place. If you take too long to solve a puzzle, you will eventually get help in one form or another. Usually, in the form of Hendrix, you man on the inside of the evil corporation Ultor. The emphasis is certainly on the single-player mode, which is great. Over heard conversations, interaction with NPCs, and other generally cool extras are reminiscent of Half-Life (which is always a good thing).

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