Software Review: War against the Locusts

While children and teenagers should have no access, Gears of War will provide entertainment for adult fans of this genre.

gears of war 88 (photo credit: )
gears of war 88
(photo credit: )
Gears of War, a DVD-ROM in English by Microsoft, requires Windows XP and up and a 2.4 ghz PC or higher, NIS 179 to NIS 199, ages 18 and over. Technical rating: **** 1/2 Moral rating: 0 stars The storyline is not much different from that of many shooting games - a guy with a nefarious past is drafted to save humanity from alien attackers - but the developers of Microsoft's Gears of War manage to embrace it with all their might and transform it into a memorable and compelling, albeit very violent, video game. Gears of War was released over a year ago for Microsoft's own Xbox 360 game platform; over four million people have played the single or multiplayer game. Now it has been transformed exclusively for PC gamers who lack such a pricey game console but can maneuver the human fighters with an ordinary mouse and keyboard. An unconventional feature is that unlike most shooters, it is not in the first person, with the player viewing scenes through his protagonist's eyes, but in the third person, with all characters visible. The story begins 14 years before the present era, when the Locust Horde - thought by many to be fictional bogeymen - assemble under every major city on the planet Sera. Suddenly they come out of the woodwork to finish off the humans on the planet's surface. Called Emergence Day, the memorable event induces humans to fight back with chemical weapons and orbital particle beams. They move to a plateau made of solid granite in the hope that the horde will stay put in the subterranean netherworld, but now they are re-emerging. Marcus, who previously fought the Locusts but was imprisoned with a 40-year sentence for disobedience and treason in an innocent effort to save his father, is enlisted to save the humans of Sera from the fierce attackers. Marcus pulls his old uniform out of the closet and, with the three-striped insignia upon his Superman-like body, takes up arms to fight for the homeland. The arms at his disposal are quite spectacular and include short-range snub pistols, fragmentation grenades and a big gun with a chainsaw bayonet for sanguinely slicing opponents into two (although this accessory is hardly ever used). The graphics engine and the soundtrack are superb, accompanying frenetic scenes of battle in tunnels and other environments. Instead of running and shooting, gamers spend most of their time hiding behind objects and peeping out to fire. It's about 14 hours of extremely bloody but heart-throbbing gameplay in a virtual slaughterhouse. While children and teenagers should have no access, Gears of War will provide entertainment for adult fans of this genre.