23rd Jun 2004 | 13:22
Bizarre Russian strategy games - we love 'em. Take Perimeter, given an Essential award last issue, and still filling our office with strange sci-fi noises. So, a bizarre Russian strategy game with turn-based action and a poorly translated plot? Bring it on!
Unfortunately though, Paradise Cracked is no Perimeter. Graphically weak, poorly executed and largely impenetrable, it's a game that will grind you into submission like a Siberian winter.
Clearly inspired by X-COM, Paradise Cracked features much the same mechanic, where Action Points (APs) limit the movements a character can make in any one turn. Aimed shots eat more APs than 'snap' shots, likewise a stealthy crawl - as opposed to a mighty sprint - gets you a third of the way across open ground before the enemy targets you. All standard stuff, and for that reason alone the combat is mildly satisfying.
There's certainly plenty of it, as new enemy squads amble into view as soon as the previous one is cut down. With new weapons to pick up and party members to recruit, in some instances you might carelessly admit to having fun. That is, until you realise you've been trudging through the bleak underworld of Paradise City for hours in a relentless rehash of fetch-and-carry missions, in between which the combat becomes more and more monotonous as the hours tick by.
Clearly, the developer has made an effort to weave an intricate cyberpunk story. However, the dialogue is so bad, the voice-acting so hammy and the text interludes so laced with obtuse meaning that you'll be reaching for the quit button before you can say perestroika.