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Score Scale:
10 - Awesome
9 - Excellent
8 - Very Good
7 - Good
6 - Above Average
5 - Average
4 - Below Average
3 - Unsatisfactory
2 - Poor
1 - Very Poor
0 - Disaster





Reviewed by Curt Rask on 7/10/00

Article Discussion Forum

First Impressions:

After looking at the cover of Evolva, I wasn't quite sure what type of game I was getting myself into. There is a picture of some humanoid creatures, doing who knows what, with the words 'Create Your Own Genetic Warriors' written across the top. Upon further reading, you come to understand your mission. You control a squad of genetic mutants, who can change at will, and guide them through an alien world with the purpose of saving that planet from an invading lifeform. Overall, the concept and the imagery were intriguing.

Loading the game was a breeze, although annoyingly, it required the reboot of the machine before being able to play. There was also a quick registration form that could be filled out or skipped over. Once that was finished, I moved on to the game. The opening scenes and graphics really paint a good picture of what you are supposed to do, visually, but your real mission is still a sort of mystery. So, I read the instruction book. After that, everything made much more sense.

Graphics:

I found the graphics to be rather good and very detailed. The 3D environments were well rendered, and there was good use of blurring the background into larger solid objects and colors to reduce the total strain on the graphics card, which leads to much richer and more accurate colors. I played the game at a resolution of 1064X768 with little or no problem at all. However, as graphic intensive as the game can be, with all of the colors, characters, motion, and backgrounds, it could easily make playing at lower resolutions preferable. With the right equipment, the graphics on the box are easily attainable and usable. There is also an options screen where you can select all manner of different setups. You can choose to utilize higher screen definitions with more colors, you can opt for greater detail at a reduced frame rate, etc.

Sound/Music:

The music for this game is fairly nonexistent. There is the quintessential throbbing baseline and jungle-esque noises playing throughout all of the levels you visit, but other than that, there really isn't much to the soundtrack. The sound effects are pretty good. I am always pleased to hear the wet-sponge squashing noises made by dying bugs in video games. The 'parasites' you are out to destroy are, for the most part, bug-like, so the noise is appropriate. There are a myriad of weapons to choose from as well, which also make interesting noises. The other creatures in the land along with the parasites lend to the overall soundscape of the world you are cleaning. These options can be controlled in the options panel, but the only way to get a great soundtrack out of this one is to have your stereo playing.

Gameplay:

The down and dirty of how it works is this: After the opening movie and credits, you are delivered to the main screen. From here you can opt to start a new single player game, go for some multiplayer action, resume a game or configure the options. All of these interfaces are extremely easy to use and understand.

When you first begin your mission, you are given a team of 4 genetic mutants who can 'evolve' on the fly. You start from a screen where you select your team. On this screen, you can change their initial color, their names, and the name of your team. These team members are then deployed to the planet with a mission to exterminate all parasitic life forms. For multiplayer mode, you can select from a team you have currently in use in your single player missions.

Once on the planet, you are in direct control of only 1 team member at a time, although it is possible to direct the actions of the other team members somewhat. The controls are somewhat confusing to operate at first. The mouse controls the direction that you are facing, the up/down arrow keys control movement forward and back and the left/right arrow keys cause you to strafe - a typical keyboard and mouse setup. The directions call for a wheeled mouse to allow the player to select between the various weapons.

As far as things you can control during the game, there is a small screen at the bottom of the main screen containing the view of each of your team members. There are information bars denoting overall health, weapon power, overpowered weapon status and mutational energy. Since you control one of these mutants, his view is what you see on the main screen, and therefore, that smaller window now becomes your objective and food radar. This little screen helps to guide you through the levels to find your objectives along the way as well as pointing out sources of food.

After succeeding through several missions and a few games, the controls become quite easy to work. There are definitely a lot of them, and they are spread out over the keyboard. There are 2 of most controls, and all of them can be remapped at your discretion.

Enjoyment:

Evolva is quite enjoyable. It is especially fun if you like the concept of squishing bugs and blowing things up and lighting them on fire, etc. There is a lot of that. About the only thing that may take some of the fun out of it is killing the indigenous wildlife on the planet. However, I haven't been able to figure out whether or not that's a bad thing. After all, the more DNA you sample, the more your team members can evolve with new and better variants.

Yes, a fun game.

Multiplayer:

There is a multiplayer feature to Evolva, but unfortunately, I did not have a lot of time to fully test this feature. I played a simulation one night just to see what it was and what it could do. It appears to be able to host games as well as join other games being hosted by other people. The settings seem easy to configure in order to arrange a game. The basic essential to joining another game is having the IP address of the host computer. That's pretty much all there is. After that, you can select from teams that you have already established in your single player endeavors, or you can create a new team. If you host a game, the game itself comes with a program built in to find your address for you, if you are unsure of how to go about that.

This game is also available for play on Heat.net.

Overall Impression:

Overall this is definitely a fun game to play. It has an easy to use interface, excellent graphics, an abundance of controls and good sound effects. The storyline is not terribly exciting, but then again, roaming around and squashing bugs should be fun in and of itself, especially when you can pick up the firepower characteristics of your recently fallen opponent. This game also has very good information in the manual. Just about any question you could have is answered. If you have a question that cannot be answered, they also have tech support readily available. The game is rated Teen and could easily be enjoyed by all types of folks.

Marketing Efforts Towards Women:

As for the packaging and content of this game, it does not really appear to be marketed toward or against women; in fact, there does not appear to be any real target audience. All of the main characters are amorphous beings of an apparently neutral gender.



PROS: Explosions, bug guts, morphing, easy to use, good manual, very intuitive concepts, multiplayer action

CONS: Controls difficult to learn, difficult starting out knowing what it is you're supposed to be doing, can probably get tedious killing the same bugs in the upper levels.

Total Rating - 8.0
Gameplay - 9.0
Enjoyment - 8.0
Graphics - 7.0
Sound/Music - 5.0
Multiplayer - 7.0

Pentium 233MHz;Win 95/98 w/DirectX 7;64 MB RAM;4MB Voodoo 1 equiv;4X or faster CD-ROM;Mouse



ESRB: Animated Blood & Gore, Animated Violence











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