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Shadow Vault

Friday, March 11, 2005 by TheDoc || [0 Comments]

Shadow Vault
Overall: 3
Graphics: 4
Interface: 2
  • Turn based strategy that gives the player the possibility to use and improve various special abillities of his units.
  • Stylish, nuclear war in progress environment.
  • Epic story and dynamic storyline that acompagnies the player throughout the entire game.
  • High level Artificial Intelligence.
  • Intuitive game rules placing emphasis on the strategical experience.
  • 20 game levels.
  • 30 units and characters.
  • 40 different actions that can used during the game.
  • 36 abilities and character improvements.

I had some high hopes for Shadow Vault. Reading the website, and box, it sounded like company Mayhem Studios was trying to get the niche market of the people longing for the next installment of the Fallout series.

Well, a better term for it is copy Fallout. The game uses the same static art backdrops as the Fallout series, and does a pretty good job at that, however, that's pretty much where the similarities end.

The game is played in an RTS type setting, each person has Action Points (AP) and can move, or perform actions depending on how many AP's you have left. After you've done all you've wanted, or don't have anymore AP's left, then it's the AI's turn to kill you.

This game tries to take the best from RTS games like Fallout and Fallout Brotherhood of Steel (BHoS), even down to the look of the interface, but it seems like this part was rushed, or not finished.

Graphics/Display:

The graphics are pretty nice, not state of the art, but seem to have nice high rez graphics, and most of the character models are pretty well done.

I think I'd give this game higher numbers is due really to the graphics. I'm a Fallout fan, and also a First Person Shooter (FPS) fan, so I try to keep what's being done in the FSP market separate from things like RTS games, so I tend to be a little forgiving of the backdrop type games.

I'd have to give the game credit however, as it does a very good job of basically copying the Fallout designs, backgrounds, etc for graphics. It's almost up to par with the originals.

Interface/Controls:

The interface... Well, this is the big let-down in the game. It's clunky, non-intuitive interface, that doesn't reflect the overall look of the game even.

Here, Mayhem tries to copy the interface of Fallout, however, they can't seem to figure it out it seems. It's a generic interface, that shows information that's both needed, and not needed, and things seem to have been added at the last minute, or they couldn't figure out how to add them in and just put in something that looks horrible, and can be confusing at the same time.

To see the representation of how much health you have left, you have to click on the character to see the portrait, and it will color the picture red from bottom to top, depending on how much health you've lost.

They do not show you in points how much health you have, or how much damage a bad guy has done to you, it's all pretty much guess work. You're alive, or you've been killed. You don't seem to have many hit points, so you get killed pretty fast, and the enemy outnumbers you most of the time 3-1 or so (with the same amount of hit points).

Even in the beginning, the enemy seems to have the advantage, as they seem to posess laser technology, where you simply have one shot rifles, or handguns. It actually took me several attempts to get past the tutorial (or even past the few beginning missions).

The missions are the sort where you have to save someone, or rescue someone, or get someone from point A to point B before they die, etc. It's pretty easy to fail these.

One of these, a mission to find a group up north, I managed to fail in two turns. I'm not even sure how I managed to fail it, as it said the bad guys found out their position, however, I was never able to find it out.

Summary:

While the game strives to pick up where Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel left off, it does a pretty bad job of it. It tried, and falls flat. I'd stick to waiting for Fallout 3 (if/when it ever comes out). It tries to copy Fallout in most every aspect, from graphics, to interface, to a replacement for the PiP (you have a diary), etc, however, while giving Mayhem credit for trying, I'd have to say that this game is actually a disappointment, considering what it could have been.

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