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DREAMCAST REVIEW: CONFLICT ZONE

There is very little action on the Dreamcast front as everybody knows so when a game comes out for it you can bet that all the hardcore fans of the console will be waiting with baited breath for a sign that the game is good to go. There are those reckless adventurers that forge ahead with no consideration for the safety of their mental health and purchase the game simply on the advice of the salesman at the store or worse yet, the propaganda on the box. How many times have you been to the video store with a friend looking over the picked-over offerings only to hear your pal say, "This looks good," as he's holding up a version of Munchie, starring Don Delouise and Lonnie Anderson. Of course the box is not on the honor system. It's not going to tell you that this movie embarrassed all involved and ruined three professional careers. So before you run out and do something foolish, let me do it first.

I don't really know if Munchie actually starred Lonnie or Dom but it seems to me those are the caliber of actors that would be in such a movie. Look for it in your local video store, but don't watch it. That's a warning. (Cole, you were right on the money....Jennifer Love Hewitt)

Combat Zone is ported from the PC game of the same name. It's a real-time strategy game with a premise that is all too familiar. Without having to read too far into the review for me to answer your question, don't buy this before you rent it. It's not idicitave of what the DC can do. This TRS game was designed for play on the computer with a mouse and a cursor to select various items and interact with the interface. It does not translate well to the DC even though there is every reason that it should. Why not just use the stick to control the cursor? Sure it would be a little awkward at first but it's would be better than the solution offered here where the cursor is in a fixed position in the middle of the screen and you have to move the camera angle around to select the items. Do we have to actually move the house around to screw in a light bulb while one guys holds it in the socket?

The hackneyed premise involves a NATO organization called ICP which is mandated to liberate war-torn and military-controlled countries. The bad guys in this game belong to an organization named GHOST which is comprised of several nations and attempt to infuence world politics through military involvement. It's another excuse to play war complete with all the trimmings including atrociously-acted dialogue. As with most RTS games you have the opportunity to acquire points or money which can be used to upgrade your situation. In this case you will want to amass more troops, buildings, weapons and branch out your technology tree. Cash is earned from how well you perform your missions. You are also rated on how effeciently you equip your base with building and troops. You can't have too much of a good thing, everyhting has to be balances. If you have too many troops and not enough buildings to house them your ratings will go down. You are also rated on your actions in combat. Your use of troops and equipment at the base will be restricted if your actions are deemed inappropriate.

I can live with the graphics but they are boxy and not as refined as something along the lines of, say, Crazy Taxi. The framerate slows down when the action gets intense and it's here where the controls show their weakness. In a panic situation, accessing the controls quickly is an absolute lesson in frustration. If that's not enough, the game is continually interrupted by load times. All in all, Conflict Zone should have left well enough alone. The Dreamcast does not suck but games like this can give it a bad name. Let's not desecrate this console's memory.

System: DC
Dev: MASA Group
Pub: Ubi Soft
Released: Dec 2001
Players: 1
Review by Cole
OVERALL
2
GRAPHICS
3
CONTROL
1.5
MUSIC/FX
3
VALUE
2