Set in your typical post-apocalyptic Mad Max world, Redline had one of the coolest oudoor levels around, though they were eclipsed by merely average interiors. It sports amazing character models and particle effects, but only so-so animations. It’s got a pretty advanced game engine, but is only a mediocre game. To sum up, Redline is a mixed bag.
Redline however does present one real cool innovation – it mixes together typical first-person sci-fi shooting with vehicular combat. Behind a wheel, Redline is fun and furious. The action isn’t as catchy as Interstate ’76 or even Carmageddon, but it’s still frantic, bloody and explosive. When your car blows up (don’t worry, you switch vehicles quite a lot), the driver is ejected and left to fend for himself, and you enter Redline the first-person shooter.
But playing the game on foot is probably where Redline is at its weakest, especially since indoor areas are so dull. The enemy AI is meh and you only get one modular weapon that switches modes according to the ammunition you find – by default it’s a rapid-firing rifle, but tap the right number key and you’re wielding a rocket launcher, or a sniper rifle. The game’s levels are linear but creative, often switching between shooter and driving modes in an attempt to offer some variety. It’s got a few special objectives here and there, but mostly you engage in regular switch puzzles.
But there are a few drawbacks to the driving. Although the control setup is as configurable as you could hope (it even allows separate setups for on-foot and in-vehicle play), there’s a mech-like separation between driving and aiming controls: you drive with the keyboard and aim with the mouse. This works well enough in games with huge slow robots, but in a fast moving vehicle, such a setup requires a whole new kind of dexterity.
Most vehicles have at least one homing weapon, but these are generally weaker than the aimed weapons. But even more difficult is the game’s AI, which isn’t necessarily smart so much as it’s tenacious, displaying an annoyingly ruthless ability to get close and drive circles around you. There’s no sense of trying to outdrive your opponents so much as out-turn them or, even better, keeping your back to a wall and plugging away with your guns. There’s no padlock view to help out and the car combat is merely an exercise of precise rocketry.
Although mainly focused on graphics, Redline does have its moments of creativity. But overall it’s just too clunky an action game to really stand.
System Requirements: Pentium II 200 MHz, 16 MB RAM, 100 MB HDD, Win95