Abomination: The Nemesis Project

It’s always nice to find a new game in the squad-based combat genre that X-COM made great. Actually, let me rephrase that: it’s nice to play a good squad-based combat game. You see, there’s a wretched chunk of “gaming” filling up my hard drive right now called Abomination: The Nemesis Project.

16_1Let’s fill you in on the background story: mankind has been ravaged by a super-virus that turns the average human into a drooling, blood-vomiting zombie. The only way to avoid being transmogrified into a walking chunk of meat is to join up with the Faithful, a mysterious cult that promises viral immunity to all of its members. The Faithful have taken over several northeastern cities, and the only people who can stop their Ultimate Goal of World Domination is a highly trained black-ops force. Your mission is to lead these agents to victory over the scum-sucking hordes of evil.

So what we’ve got here is an army of commandos versus gun-toting zombies, which, in theory, should make Abomination: The Nemesis Project a cool computer game. Unfortunately, the designers blew it big-time, and Abomination is an appropriately titled game if ever there was one.

The first thing you’ll encounter is one of the most incomprehensible interfaces ever displayed on a monitor. You can click on a character or drag a box to select your commandos, and right-clicking brings up a maroon-on-red command box with obscure-looking icons. These can change your commandos’ aggressiveness, firing orders, range attacks, and whether or not they will reload their weapons (why you’d have that last option turned off is beyond me).

Unfortunately, none of these really do anything, as your group of manly ass-stompers has the collective IQ of a gerbil at the shallow end of its gene pool. And for heaven’s sake, don’t select a character and expect them to do anything – when a commando is highlighted, they won’t even attack zombies who are shooting from point-blank range.

19_1In short, all of your team’s movements must be controlled by the player, resulting in a mindless click-fest that’s no fun at all. On the plus side, you can shift the game into a pseudo-turn-based mode by hitting the space bar: the action stops, and you can give characters orders in a leisurely fashion. This is a big help when your team splits up, since it’s necessary to baby-sit each individual commando. Fortunately, the random foot soldiers who team up with you work on their own, and exhibit a level of intelligence much higher than your supposedly genetically superior commandos.

So is there a plus side to this squad-based time bomb? Well, the random mission generator is capable of creating several million zombie-blasting assignments. But even though the premise of Abomination is cool enough, the atrocious interface and hackneyed gameplay aren’t enough to do the scenario justice. So I guess it’s time to reinstall X-COM.

System Requirements: Pentium 90 Mhz, 16 MB RAM, Win 95/NT/98

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