Void War

By Scott Parrino 16 Sep 2004 0

Void War

Void War is, in as few words as possible, Quake in space. Ridiculously fast action, lots of explosions, instant respawns, and a robust multiplayer experience are at the heart of this game. Playing it reminds one of the glory days of the space shooter, when games like X-Wing and Wing Commander ruled the roost.

There are two ways to play Void War: single-player campaign and multiplayer deathmatch. The campaign is essentially a bunch of dogfights strung together with the occasional cut-scene thrown in to advance the plot. The plot revolves around a mercenary named Lance who is off to find a friend of his in the depths of space. The plot isn?t that important, but since the players will want to find out what happens next, it does provide some incentive to continue the game. Players start out with a simple ship and only a couple of enemies to fight per level, but soon they are waist-deep in enemy fighters as they dodge missiles, fire off laser salvos, and lob missiles at enemy ships. Players also get new spacecraft as they complete successive levels, each one with a different look, feel, armament, and special ability. Special abilities range from sucking away an enemy?s strength to laying down mines to a devastating EMP blast that disables all ships within range. Overall, the single-player experience is a worthy diversion, but it?s only a prelude to the real meat of the game- multiplayer.

There are two multiplayer modes: against the computer or against humans online. Players can frag on several maps, ranging from a space station to an asteroid field to an interstellar junkyard. The maps are strewn with power-ups (missile packs, repair, stealth, and energy boosts) that can really turn the tide of a battle. There are also stationary objects, which are more than just navigational nuisances: they can serve as shields and thus make for some clever maneuvers. Flying completely around an asteroid and coming about with all guns blazing and shields recharged is a reliable strategy. Flying behind an asteroid or piece of floating space junk is also a surefire way to break a missile lock. Gravity wells are also interesting since they can catapult the player?s ship across the map. While this is disorienting, it can actually save the ship from a rocket or an aggressive opponent bearing down with all guns blazing. The gravity well will even suck ships in sometimes. The multiplayer experience is chaotic, and during matches with upwards of sixteen opponents (the game supports 32), players can get the same adrenaline rush they might experience in a good game of Quake or Deathmatch Classic, but none of the frustration. I didn?t get a chance to play online against other humans, but it is expected that the multiplayer piece will constitute a big portion of the game?s attraction when it is completed.

The game as a whole is coming together well, the graphics and sound included. The graphics, while a couple of years behind the curve, fit the game well. What is even more remarkable about this is that the engine was, for the most part, programmed by one man!

The sound is certainly no slouch either. All of the standard beeps and boops are here, and during a multiplayer battle with fifteen ships flying around, the sonic environment can get pretty crazy. Roaring spacecraft engines, the sharp crack of lasers smacking into shields, and the sound of ships exploding all blend together, and only serve to contribute to the experience. The music, too, deserves special commendation. The tracks are all done in MIDI format, but they still sound great, and all of the music fits the atmosphere of the game very well. I played the game for hours and never became bored with it.

Overall, I?m looking forward to Void War. It?s got a good formula of fast action, tight controls, and decent graphics. As with any preview it is impossible to know exactly how the final product will turn out, but from my experience with this preview, Void War is going to be worth keeping an eye on.

About the Author

Kyle Stegerwald hails from the wild, untamed northwestern region of the United States, where potatoes grow wild and things to do are in short supply. Kyle turned to gaming seven years ago to assuage the boredom and has not stopped since. He plays boardgames (for a while, then he argues about the rules and eventually rewrites them), computer games, and has occasionally been known to venture onto the Xbox for short times. He enjoys role-playing games, strategy games, turn-based wargames, first-person shooters, and has recently been experimenting with online games. He also reads voraciously, mostly nonfiction. He loves computers and everything about them. He is working on an unnamed Java game that will be ready in approximately five and a half years.

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