Creature Shock

Considering all the work that went into the look of Creature Shock — and how wildly successful that work turned out to be — I really wanted to love this game. The problem, though, is the same one common with CD-ROM rail shooters, which includes FMV games as well: There’s just not enough game here to back up the graphics.

In Creature Shock, you’re Commander Barr, a lone troubleshooter-type assigned to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the space survey ship Amazon out near Saturn. Naturally, aliens are involved, and they don’t have our best interests in mind.

10In the first mission, you’ll fly your scout ship to the Amazon’s last known position, fighting your way past a host of alien meanies. This is a straightforward arcade shoot-’em-up, but it’s not an easy one. If you’re good enough to make it to the mothership — the “boss” of this sequence — you’ll have to keep pounding on it for a few minutes or more. Ultimately, this sequence doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the game — and since it’ll probably take most gamers a few tries to get past it, it’s an unwelcome obstacle.

When the real meat of Creature Shock begins, you’ll be walking alone through the maze-like corridors of spaceships and space stations, watching your scanner for signs of life — and dreading the moment when it reads a positive contact. The monsters in the game are varied but they’re all deadly, and their menacing mugs are rendered and animated in beautiful 3D graphics.

Your only weapons are a generic space-hero type blaster pistol and a few smart bombs. For protection, you’ve got an energy shield that can stop almost any attack cold. The catch is that the shield draws power from your gun, so it can only be active for a second or two. You’ll need good timing to find a winning balance between your offense and defense.

Beyond that, there’s not much to think about. You’ll try to kill everything that moves before it can kill you, and eventually you’ll make it to the mothership for a showdown with the big boss alien. But that’s easier said than done. Creature Shock’s designers made sure you won’t get through the game too quickly — possibly because there’s just not much to it.

System Requirements: Pentium 133 MHz, 32 MB RAM, Win96

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