Shockwave: review by Andrew Fenic

Review by Andrew Fenic (<>)

Add my voice to the chorus of those praising this new 3DO gem from Electronic Arts! It is, without doubt, the best 32/64 game yet released. This game mixes good freedom of movement with smart enemies, brilliant gameplay, stunning texture mapped visuals, and superb FMV to create the first truly mind blowing CD gaming experience.

The graphics are absolutely tremendous. At the lowest altitude/pitch combination the ground looks in many areas like it was digitized from satellite photos. Contrary to early reports, it is anything but flat! On the second mission, Peru, you get to fly through the Andes mountains and they look absolutely magnificent. Anyone who plays through a few levels is going to love the terrain graphics!

Initially, you find yourself cruising over a very realistic looking sea approaching egypt with civilian sailboats (you can blow these up) cruising about. Unlike FFM 3DO games, it is possible to turn 360' and chase down anything you have missed. The only limitation, as discussed, is that you can only fly backwards so far before friendly artillery starts blasting your ship. Very happily, the game supports limited pitch and bank - allowing you to get a great close up view of the stunning digitized ground scenery (at times jaw droppingly good; at others fairly bland).

To keep the plot reasonably linear, the game also plots out the path you are to take on the radar screen. Stray outside of it and you get blasted with artillery. You must, however, regularly turn 180' and punch the afterburners backwards to pick off enemies on your tail or find a better approach angle to enemy targets. Similarly, the width of the corridor is more than sufficient in most places to give you plenty of manuevering room. The great graphics make turning around and exploring quite fun! Generally, enemies are smart and fighting them is a total blast. Fire comes in from all directions and you must always be aware of who is behind you and to your sides.

The FMV is, as reported, the best yet. Very well acted with excellent quality surround sound. This is an element that adds a strong plot element to the game (very similar to what the cinematics did for Wing Commander II). It is clear thousands of hours of very hard work went into making the cinematic aspects of the game work and integrate beautifully into the gaming experience.

Great job, EA! 3DO is now IMHO a mature and successful platform. The local Software Etc now reports sales of 2 units per week! (they also have a policy locally that any employee selling 5 3DO's gets a free one!)

And, shockingly, while I was buying ShockWave 2 or 3 folks walked by and excitedly proclaimed "hey look they have 3DO!". All my fears are finally starting to dissipate!

As for Atari... <sigh>

Andrew Fenic
Mead Data Central
The views expressed above are my own and do not reflect those of my employer.