the Junkyard


Posted by: Mhaddy on Sun Sep 23rd, 2001 at 6:42 PM
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Genre: FPS Giant Robots
PublisherReal Networks
DeveloperJamie Systems
Release Date: 0-0-0
GalleryClick here (22).

Click for the full picture! Axis, a Korean developed anime-mech game by Jamie Systems has made a huge splash in Korea. However, to introduce the game to the North American audiences, a publisher was needed and (RealArcade) was chosen to do just that. We quizzed Senior Producer at RealArcade, Dave Nixon a couple of weeks ago on Axis in an interview, which you can read here for some background information on the game. We will be reviewing RealArcade's release of the game, NOT Jamie's Korean release.

Axis was first introduced to the 'Yard several months ago by the community and it has grown on us ever since. So much so that, we've officially made it part of the Junkyard.

"geemu wa koumon kemasu"*

What's so special about it? This FPS is one of the select few that sports the 'giant robots' in that anime-esq theme (think: Evangelion, Gundam Wing, Robotech) in a fast paced head-on-head battle system unlike many games I've seen in a while.

What's more, is the ability to customize your robot with a truly vast array of weapons, armour, legs, arms and other assorted body parts that all contribute to the speed, durability and agility of your robot. Click for the full picture!

To further that, in order to 'unlock' certain equipment in the lab, you must progress through the single player ladder system in order to earn or gain the parts by defeating your foes. True interaction between single player and multiplayer, nice.

Getting the game from RealArcade is painless, simply head on over to the site and download the 35MB demo in which you will have 60 minutes of playing time before you will have to purchase it for $19.99 USD and receive a registration code to unlock the time limit. The demo and the full version are identical.

What's really amazing is the amount of compression on this game. Something around 300MB of level data into just 150k (2000-1 compression). Mind you, movies and music were cut but regardless - that's still quite a feat!

Click for the full picture! So that's great, it's got a nice personality but what about its appearance? Graphics are nothing revolutionary in a sense of how Q3: A was built but they are very pretty. And heck, they don't need to be. On my Voodoo 5 5500 in D3D I was pulling an FPS of about 70 and then on my GeForce 2 GTS in OpenGL I was pushing 80 to 100 with all graphic settings at max.

The lighting effects on the robots, weapons and maps themselves are very well done. Again, nothing that is really pushing the envelope in technology but eye catching none-the-less.

Sound effects and ambient reverberation are superb. While zipping around the maps, you can hear other robots fly by and the ricochets of projectiles bouncing off of walls... and yourself.

Furthermore, the background music is something that I personally love. Comparable to the pieces of Starsiege, Axis' music is right up there; really sets the mood for the maps that you're on. Oh, and that adrenaline pumping, eye bursting, kill everything in sight persona. Click for the full picture!

However, this is one thing that you will not be able to enjoy in RealArcade's release of Axis. To cut back on the size of the download, Real took out all but one of the ingame music pieces which is really a shame (though understandable) considering the quality of the music.

But! Do not despair, tJY has you covered! You can download the full Axis music add-on here (or from our Axis downloads page), weighing in a hefty 46MB. It's a self-extracting .exe, point it to your AxisMusic directory, fire up the game and enjoy! Fortunately, Real left all of the music code in the game so your work ends here.

An additional item that was left out of the RealArcade release was the opening and closing cinematics (which again, were pretty damn cool). Ah, but we've got you covered there as well. You can download the opening cinematic here and the closing cinematic here (or from our Axis downloads page).

Click for the full picture! Lastly, the multiplayer ladder service (similar to the OGL ladder) present in the Korean version is reluctantly absent here because of the lack of stability on the code of the ladder. Dave Nixon comments, “Because Jamie's ladder system is in it's early stages and cannot support very many users yet, we opted to remove this option from the RealNetworks version until that could be improved. We can update to include it later once the system is robust enough to handle higher volumes." So that's good news.

Other than that however, the Korean version and the RealArcade release are pretty much identical! We've got you covered on the music and movies bit so all that you're missing here is the ladder service, which will be available to North American players sometime in the future. Maps that were added in the 1.03 patch for the Korean version have also been included in the RealArcade release.

Player models are quite intricate and extremely well designed. Each piece of equipment that you suit up with makes a large visual alteration to your robot. Weapons are also well designed in that being unique, conveying to your opponent just what muzzle flash he will see just before he dies. Melee combat is present in the game, but you can tell that the game wasn't designed for it - melee weapons are fun to play with (if you can get close enough to your opponent) but they certainly aren't my choice weapon in Axis.

Level design is very close to that of Q3: A, but not limiting the player to 4 axis (pun not intended) of movement and giving them a lot more open space; with the exception of certain maps where close combat is what it was designed for. Click for the full picture!

Gameplay is a ton of fun and very well balanced... with the exception of one weapon - the SR-7 Sniper Rifle. This one-to-two shot kill weapon is regarded by some as being just too powerful. Sniper rifles in a lot of games usually have some balancer - in Tribes it's energy, in other games, it's limited ammunition or reload time. However in Axis, the SR-7 is not limited [heavily] by ammunition, energy, or a considerable delay in reloading. However, depending on the server you play on there is a certain unspoken rule about using SR-7's religiously. Some players respect that, others don't... it's all in the server you join and the people you play with.

Some would argue that the net code in the game is pretty bad but personally, I haven't found it to be bad at all, so this is something that I'll leave open for you to decide. The game uses a client-to-client internet mode versus the more popular client-to-server mode. The use of this mode is what cut out the dedicated server option in the game, which is a real let down. So, whenever you want to play or host a game you actually have to have the game up and running to do so, bleh.

Nevertheless, you can't get over the fact of how fun this game is to play. I'm an anime nut, so naturally the artwork and overall feel of the game truly attracts me. However, it isn't overdone so those of you who don't care for this style of artwork won't get sick of it. There's just something about kicking the crap out of giant robots that's oh so fun.

Fin: Final Thoughts:
The Final Verdict

* Roughly translates into 'One kickass game!' in Japanese. It literally translates to 'game kicks anus', but I couldn't find a direct equivalent to 'kickass'. Yes, I know the game is Korean, but I only know Japanese ;)

Related Links: Related Links:

Related Links:
  • Axis Arena
  • Jamie Systems
  • Real Networks

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