12With the wave of first-person shooters and action games, SSI has teamed up with Raven Software to create a no-frills combat driving game that delivers down-and-dirty gameplay. Since you’re in a car rather than on foot, the game takes place in wide-open spaces, with lots of room to maneuver your vehicle. The level maps are relatively flat, but what makes Necrodome more interesting than some other combat-driving games is the fact that you’re not confined to a track. The environments vary – you’ll play through hills, rocks, patches of slippery ice, and pools of dangerous lava.

Still, for the bulk of the game you’ll be driving around with the pedal to the metal, running over little men and shooting at turrets — and at top speed, even Necrodome’s wide-open spaces are simply not big enough. You’ll often find yourself coming up against dead ends and other obstacles, and within these confines, the sensation of speed can’t be maintained for long.

To get around that, the designers gave you the ability to get out of your car and explore the map on foot. When you run around Doom-style, with gun in hand, you can ascend ramps too narrow for your car to climb and locate additional power-ups and concealed switches. But don’t think you’re jumping out of an armored-car game and into Doom — other than flipping the occasional switch, there’s not much to do while you’re hoofing it.

3Besides this switch between driving and running, you can choose from external or internal views of your car. Sometimes the car is easier to control from the external view, since your vehicle is ponderous and tends to get caught on corners. A variety of opponents will confront you: foot soldiers, who stand around and are easy to run over; flying soldiers; and eight different vehicular enemies. Necrodome also gives you the standard gamut of weapons (plus a few cool ones), and about thirty levels to play on.

Necrodome also has a good set of multi-player options, including both cooperative and competitive play. In co-op mode, two players can share the same vehicle, one driving the car and the other operating the rotating turret. This makes for some interesting combat, where teams of two-on-two compete not only with their reflexes but with their ability to work together. The smokescreens are also cool in multi-player mode.

Necrodome is well thought-out, the physics are good, and it has many nice touches, but the constant stopping and starting, entering and exiting and looking for switches interrupts the action and detracts from the excitement. In short, Necrodome might be worth taking on a test drive.

System Requirements: Pentium 75 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win95

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