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Heavy Metal: FAKK 2

Sometimes fighting the good fight requires more than just a big gun; sometimes it requires a big sword and a big gun. Following up on the Heavy Metal: 2000 animated film, Heavy Metal: FAKK 2 isn't shy about honoring its roots—gleefully embracing the franchise's legendary mix of violence, apocalyptic science fiction, and (im)mature levels of sexual content and innuendo. Eden's defender, Julie (modeled after B-movie virtuoso Julie Strain), is big on curves and minimal on clothing.

The game's awe-inspiring arsenal spans everything from Uzis and rocket launchers to a giant axe and a fire sword. Better yet, you can carry different items in each hand, getting up close and personal with a blade while simultaneously blasting away at a distant target or protecting yourself with a shield. The intuitive combat system is easy to learn thanks to a comprehensive tutorial, and the camera rarely hampers the third-person point of view.

Populated by outlandish aliens and friendly town folk, the environments are stunning and varied. Plenty of lighting effects and some downright disturbing organic shapes push the underlying Quake III engine to beautiful extremes. The puzzles, which don't present much of a brain drain, make sense within the game's context.

An unfortunate audio bug occasionally interrupts the party with a burst of static, but this does little to damage the overall effect of Gathering of Developers' effort. The mix of gun action and melee mayhem, spectacular visuals, and great gameplay combine to deliver an imaginative action adventure that's bold, loud, and simply maximum rock 'n' roll. —Jaap O. Tuinman

GOOD NEWS: Absolutely gorgeous design. Wicked mix of melee and projectile weaponry.
BAD NEWS: No multiplayer mode. Occasional sound glitches.
COMPANY: Gathering of Developers
CONTACT: 214-880-0001 ,
REQUIREMENTS: G3 processor or faster, Mac OS 8.6 or later, 64MB of RAM (128MB recommended), 20MB of free hard disk space (400MB for a full install), CD-ROM