Software Review: Hack-and-slash lacks new frontier

'Loki' will be regarded by most fans merely as an opportunity to destroy enemies as savagely as possible.

loki game 88 248 (photo credit: Courtesy)
loki game 88 248
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Loki, a DVD-ROM in English by Cyanide, distributed by Hed Artzi Multimedia with a 38-page Hebrew-language user's manual, requires Windows XP and up and a 2 ghz PC or better, for age 16 through adult, NIS 219 Rating: ** 1/2 Software developers at Cyanide in France seem to have run out of inspiration. Their role-playing and "hack-and-slash" game Loki is much too reminiscent of Havas Blizzard's Diablo II that in its time - at the end of 2001 - was among the best-selling pieces of game software in history. Today's "generation" of gamers would not get excited about this addition to the genre. Loki presents four heroes and heroines of mythology - a Greek fighter, an Egyptian sorcerer, an Aztec shaman and a Norse warrior - to be chosen in turn as the protagonist. Each goes out on missions in different environments from Troy to the wintry snow of Norway. Two are accorded magical talents, while others excel in melée activities. The Greek fighter, for example, is a tall, lean woman who goes about her bloody hacking and slashing wearing what looks like a red Gottex swimsuit (the red seems to have been chosen so the blood of aggressive humans, monsters and beasts she constantly slays does not leave stains). The gamer, serving as the heroes' apprentice, obtains daggers, staves and other weapons to make them more powerful against the enemies they encounter in several dozen quests. Only when you complete playing with all four characters are you allowed to confront Seth, the Egyptian god of chaos, who at the outset of the game is shown rising from his tomb, focused on causing chaos and bringing the apocalypse. In general, Egyptian gods in the 13th century BCE are troublemakers rather than inspiring or benevolent characters. Instead of worrying just about your character's health meter, you must keep your eye on a "faith" meter that awards skulls and an "experience" meter that rises the farther you go hacking and slashing. The sound and background music are occasionally perfect but usually mediocre. The graphics engine presents some objects in great detail, but most of the time you have a feeling you're on a treadmill watching repetitive artificial scenery on a video screen. As ancient mythology is too high-brow for the average male teenage gamer, this product will be regarded by most fans merely as an opportunity to destroy enemies as savagely as possible. Some fans of this genre may enjoy it, but those who get bored by role-playing games should stay away.