This has been somewhat of a sleeper game from my perspective. I haven't been following it intently, but then again, I haven't heard much about it. However, a few days back I was browsing through Future Shop
for a colour printer when I saw a scantly-clad sapphire-coloured female on the box of a game. Naturally, I stopped to get a closer look and boy, was I glad I did! Aside from the voracious females (Sea Reapers) inhabiting the game, the whole essence of the game struck me as unique. Unlike more FPS / TPS shooters out now, there is a distinct objective that you must seek out throughout the whole game (be it chasing down a criminal, saving the world, etc.) but in Giants, it's different. Although, yes, each species has it's goal the environment is yours to roam. Species? As in plural? Yep - the Meccaryns, the Sea Reapers and Kabuto.
The game takes place on an island, most commonly referred to as the Island (I think the writers were facing a writers block when they came up with this name). The Island is hopelessly drifting through space, much like an asteroid; however, the most notable feature that separates it from an asteroid would be it's incandescent lights radiating from it's core. The Island is full of life, both humanoid and plant life, natural resources and more.
This is the place that the Sea Reapers (think: indecently clothed water dwelling females) have called their home since they began their existence. In light of an attack, they created Kabuto, a huge, fierce, savage, [insert more gruesome names here], beast to protect them and ward off any enemies. However, Kabuto became aware of his own existence and turned evil, went berserk and turned on the Sea Reapers, forcing them into the sea; where they still dwell now. Many were killed and the few that survived have lost hope. Though, one Sea Reaper stood up from the rest and took charge, Queen Sappho; through her evil ways she intends to take back the land that Kabuto stole from her people.
Lastly, we have the Meccaryns - a technologically advanced race of aliens who were on their way to the Planet Majorca to enjoy a grand ball of liquor, beer and other intoxicating beverages. However, on their way through space they were swallowed by a Giant "Gibbon" Fish - putting an end to their drunken vacationing plans. Down the road a few, they were eventually defecated from the beast and with their ship in ruins, they landed on the nearest hunk of rock to get repairs. This being the Island. Here they were met with hostile intents and now fight for survival on the Island. "Meccaryns … Sea Reapers … Kabuto … One island isn't big enough for the three of them."
Starting up the game I was expecting a small ingame training session - like most games. A place where a mentor shows you a thing or two about the game's controls, interface, weapons, items, etc. However, in Giants as soon as you hit Single Player Campaign and after the comical opening ingame movie, you're starting the game … not knowing what you're doing. However, it isn't all that bad because a) the controls are rather easy to learn and b) after your first mission of rescuing a Smartie he then tags along the journey with you helping you out. In addition to this, at the beginning of every mission there is a list of objectives and if you received any new items or weapons previously, it will tell you how to use them here. It's a rather intuitive interface - very nice.
For those of you who don't own a 3D graphic's card (I don't know who that would be in this day 'n age) then you won't be able to play Giants, as it requires one. What's more, if you don't have a 32bit card, then you may want to run down to the store and pick one up. Though it's not a requirement, I highly suggest it for this game. As I mentioned before, in most FPS / TPS games you pretty much have to go to point a, retrieve something and then head on over to point b; taking some detours along the way. In Giants, you're free to roam the land and enjoy the environment. Trust me, even if you aren't the type of individual that likes sight seeing (re: Dagoth Moor Zoological Gardens) you're going to do some of it in here. The maps are huge! Standing on top of a pillar-like mountain allows you to see just how big the level really is. On top of that, you're met with uber-sweet graphics and textures. Taking a look at the lens flare (which is dynamic vs. common static ones) will blow you away; or blind you in the process. Taking a look at the water and see the ripples, then the rays from the sun bouncing off of it is something else. Vegetation really appears to be alive, ambient life and creatures grazing are very convincing.
Character animations and models are terrific. When you play the Sea Reapers, you can really tell that they are female, heh heh. In fact, before the game went gold the Sea Reapers were nude and blood in the game was red. Conversely, to keep the game below the rated R genre, at the last minute before shipping the females were given cloths and blood was turned from a life-like redish tone to a alienated greenish blur. No word yet on a nude patch, but if you want to turn the blood from the green to a red colour, you can check out the patch at the bottom of this review. [ Update 12/27/2000: Delete arpfix.gzp in your Giants\bin dir in Giants to return Giants to it's previously nude state, thanks Jorel! ]
Another forte of this game is it's sound - both music, sound effects, voice acting and ambient life. In the opening movie, you see Tel and Baz (two of the five Mecc's in the game) flying over the Island, as Baz heads onto the wing of the plane - preparing to descend to the land below. A miscommunication forces Tel (the pilot) to close the hatch (on Baz's hand) who is now left on the wing without his jetpack. Tel, being the moron he is doesn't notice this and camera moves into the cockpit, where you hear elevator music, as Tel taps his fingers to the beat. Sporting a British accent, the Mecc's converse amongst each other and with the Smartie's, adding a brand of comedy that I haven't seen in these type of games in some time.
One of the first enemies that you will encounter are the small, medium and large Ripper's (nasty bony, flesh tearing apart creatures). The medium and large Rippers can burrow underground, sensing your presence on what they think is their land. If you don't see where one is coming, heh, you will hear it. I have the bass cranked up on my sub woofer (naturally) and this is where it shines; I could keep my eyes closed and hear these buggers pop up behind, in front or adjacent to me.
The way this game is put together really is a nice change from the norm and although it does possess a story … for any RPG fans out there you are going to be disappointed with this one simply because the story doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense. Though, I really wouldn't let that stop you from picking this game up. One rather annoying (especially in large maps) thing is that there are no mid-level saves. So if you're | | close to finishing the level and then a sniper picks you off - that's it. You've got to start over from the beginning. Games automatically save at the beginning of each level.
Many people have been complaining of crashes, bugs and more bugs plaguing this great game. Oddly enough, I haven't had one crash, freeze or otherwise unwanted behaviour in the game thus far. Take into account the recently released patch (1.1MB) and I don't believe stability will be a problem in this game. However, if you want to keep up with it you're going to need a very beefy system. The recommended system is a PII-450 MHz, 128MB RAM, 16MB D3D video card and heh … 1.3GB of HDD space. Not to worry though right? That's the recommended amount of HDD space for the game - 1.3GB. The required isn't much lower, weighing in at a hefty 900MB. It shouldn't be a problem for the majority of gamers out there but if you're running low on space, start uninstalling some of your old games.All in all, Giants: Citizen Kabuto is a great game. Graphics wise it's going to blow you away (couple that with 4x FSAA, *drool*) and you're in for a treat. The sound in this game will kick your butt and the interface is really well done. Download the blood patch and the game patch below and the believed crashes and bugs will disppear. Get this game.
Turn green blood into red blood.
Giants Patch v.1.1.