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Readers' Reviews - author: Darren TtTackler Hartman
Rune: Viking Warlord  

"Me Ragnar, me Viking, me protect village in so-so story-line."

In Rune: Viking Warlord, you play as Ragnar, a newly christened Viking warrior that has sworn on protecting his village. Right after you have beaten the most skilled warrior in the village, you are crowned a man, but a clan of evil-doers have turned against the village and plan to release an evil god that has been sealed away by Odin (the god of all gods) many years ago. You meet the clan out at sea and they eventually kill all of you with magic (yep, even the main character, Ragnar!). After watching this uninspired scene you get to watch everyone floating around dead in the water, but then Odin, the god of all gods, has hand picked you, Ragnar, to save your village and help stop the evil god from being released. From there, you work your way from the pits of hell back to the real world in a so-so storyline...

"Hacking, slashing, and more hacking and slashing! Oh my!"

When I first started playing the game and observing the graphics, I kept on trying to tell myself that this is just a port of a PC game. After awhile I finally came to a conclusion, the graphics in this game, well, to put it simply, suck! Character models are jagged and blocky, with horrible skin textures. Enemies are uninspired, and just looking around the levels didn't make me feel like I was actually fighting demons in Hell... And there will be only two enemies on-screen, and the framerate drops miserably! Water and lava are very uninspired and bland and seems as though as bodies of water and lava aren't even moving. But, if there was one good thing about the graphics in this game, that would have to be the lighting effects. Even though there seems to be no movement in the water, it reflects off walls pretty well. And in dark areas you can use torches to light up the area, but it would have been better if they had the torch flicker when you move.

Just like most other PC titles, the audio was done pretty well, and ports to the PS2 well too. Voice acting is done perfectly with no hesitation and voices sound very "Viking-like." Background music consists mostly of, uh, Viking sounding music... Which puts you into a Viking kind of mood... While all this "Viking-like" stuff sounds weird, the voice acting and background are done well even if it doesn't sound very "Viking-like"... Moving on, sound effects are nothing to brag about. You have all your basic sword clashing sounds in the game, and swimming around in water isn't great but gets the job done. The best sound effect in the game is when you skim a tree or branch while running by and you can hear the leaves rustling, not to shabby at all.

Although Human Head has implemented a few different control schemes into the game, none of them are really good and take awhile to getting used to. Moving around is responsive so no worries there, but swimming and fighting enemies is a huge hassle. It's really hard to remember what all the buttons do while underwater so you'll find yourself trying to get above water but eventually drown because your struggling. Fighting is hard too since you have to be facing the enemy and it's sometimes hard to determine whether or not you're close enough to hit an enemy. I can't remember what all the buttons do off the top of my head, but you can; change weapons, throw weapons, use a shield, jump, duck, and use your weapon (of course). May I add that Rune has the infamous problem of troublesome camera angles also? Gameplay consists of mostly hacking and slashing, and it's nothing spectacular. Although you have a healthy choice of weapons (such as swords, axes, etc.), you should just stick with the sword since all other weapons, like the mace, are hard to handle. All that puzzles consist of are either finding the right switch, or jumping one platform to another to find your way to the next area, and gets quite boring after awhile. Another problem is that loading times are approximately forty-five seconds long and you begin to think that the game has froze on you. There's really nothing else to talk about the game except for the fact you should ONLY rent it if your an huge fan of PC titles or are a fan of the genre, other than that, stay away from this game like a plague!

Gameplay : 5.0

Although controls are responsive, swimming and fighting will frustrate you beyond belief. Also, the framerate drops at the least expected times, controls take awhile to get used to, and camera angles can be bad at times.

With gameplay that consists of your basic hacking and slashing, puzzles that shouldn't even be considered puzzles, and very poor loading times, not even the multi-player mode Human Head added can save this boring, uninspired game!

Graphics : 5.5

With blocky, uninspired character models, CGs, and levels, these graphics are just plain uninspired! The only thing keeping the game from receiving an even lower score in graphics is the lighting effects.

Sound : 8.0

Sadly, the good part about this game is the audio. Just like most other PC titles, the game has good voice acting and background music, but so-so sound effects.

I don't even see why you would want to even finish this game in the first place! But because of the multi-player mode Human Head has implemented, it brings the replay value up a couple of points.

Overall Score ( not an average ) : 5.5



Scores
Gameplay
5.0
Graphics
5.5
Sound
8.0
Replay Value
2.0
Overall Score
5.5



Developer
Human Head
Publisher
Rockstar Games
Origin
U.S.
Genre
Action
Players
1-2
Peripherals
Dual Shock 2
8MB Memory Card
Release Date
North America
July 28th, 2001
Europe
October 5th, 2001





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