"Nobody could imagine then that the abandoned red planet would ever attract the attention of mankind again. Suddenly the Martian satellite control system starts reporting strange data to Earth. Soon after that, communication with the satellites breaks down. The Government decides to send an investigation team to the red planet – but the investigation turns out to be a battle to stay alive."
MARCH! Offworld Recon is a F
hooter from HBM with a rather one-dimensional plot. The game puts you in the boots of a mechanized commando that was sent to the red planet, along with your squad mates, to investigate the strange readings from an orbiting satellite. Humans once inhabited the planet but over time, humanity lost interest in Mars and left. All that remains are the numerous buildings and research facilities inhabited by robot workers.
The gameplay in MARCH! is comparable to your everyday "shoot everything that moves, then go press a button, shoot more stuff" game. Though it is not quite as linear as that: you have the ability to control up to four other commandos throughout battle giving them basic commands on what to shoot and where to go.
You also have the capability of blowing off specific parts of your enemy, think Solider of Fortune
. This feature is very helpful as various enemy robots have their own strengths and weaknesses. If you are low on ammunition, try taking out the legs on a worker robot to immobilize them or you try to disarm a security robot by blowing their weapons out of their hands. This will prove to be a very helpful element later on in the game.
Another nice addition to this game is the ability to build upon your current weapon to create bigger and better ones. You start off with a basic minigun that has pretty low accuracy and firepower. As you progress through the game, you can pick up add-on modules that modify your existing weapon. For example, you can strap on an accuracy module that increases your accuracy, or an explosive rounds module that will change each bullet into a mini-explosive. You can switch between your upgrades and add-ons to create the perfect weapon in just about any situation.
Running off of the LithTech engine, MARCH! looks pretty good though it will not rival the likes of Unreal Tournament 2003 or much of the upcoming games. The game is definitely not
ugly though; character models are very well-done and the level design, though simplistic at parts, suits the game quite well.
Ingame music is very well done. Each level has its own music track that coincides with the overall fast-paced action happening on screen. Fans of the Tribes or Starsiege music will thoroughly enjoy MARCH!'s music – though not of the same caliber, it's quite well suited to the game.
Sound effects are another thing that HBM has taken their time on and done a great job with. The various switches, clicks and attachment noises correspond with their onscreen visuals almost perfectly. From the roar of the minigun to the collapsing steel of your enemies as you tear through them; you'll enjoy what you hear.
As the copy that I received from Buka
was still in its beta stage, there were a few glitches that made the game a little hard to control. Nonetheless, I am quite confident, given their progress thus far that MARCH! will be one helluva fun game to play when it is finally released sometime in the later half of Q1 2003. If you enjoy fast-paced gameplay, great sounds, a pretty face and just want an overall fun game to play – be sure to check out MARCH! in the coming months.
MARCH! Offworld Recon Website