Software Review: Underwater, substandard

This generic video game is yet another forgettable, unimaginative FPS.

red ocean disk 88 (photo credit: )
red ocean disk 88
(photo credit: )
Red Ocean, a DVD-ROM by Collision, distributed with a 12-page English-language user's manual by Hed Artzi Multimedia, requires Windows 2000 and above and a 1.6 ghz Pentium PC or better, for ages 16 through adult, NIS 219. Rating: ** 1/2 Hundreds of first-person-shooter (FPS) video games have been released in recent years, and as all of them have a "good guy" or a "bad guy" brandishing weapons at enemies to wipe them out, they should have something special to stand out from the crowd. This game, set under the sea but occurring mostly in a dry environment, does not. It takes you into an underwater Cold War-era power station deep under the ocean, where a merciless hunt begins through a murderous world full of unscrupulous terrorists, deadly energy weapons and high explosives. (To an Israeli, this is certainly not unusual; in fact, it is the stuff of daily newspaper headlines.) A man with the idiotic name of Jack Hard had imagined his life would be different when he quit the US Army and started his own diving school, Treasure Dive Inc. The small company specialized in diving for treasure and offered a wealthy clientele exciting diving adventures to sunken wrecks all over the world. Then he got a strange assignment: A man named Hammerson hired him and his vessel to go in search of a U-boat that sank during World War II. Two weeks later, some 500 kilometers from the "Corvo Islands" (actually, there is only one; this volcanic island exists at the northernmost tip of the Azores in the North Atlantic), they ran into a lot of trouble. Hard gets caught up in a global conspiracy involving the fictional terrorist organization United Arms, which has uncovered a new energy source on the ocean bed and plans to use it in the construction of a weapon of mass destruction. The plot really is meaningless, as you spend hours doing nothing more than aiming a variety of weapons - from knives, machine guns and pistols to plasma guns and grenades - at the enemy in a variety of environments, including train stations and secret laboratories. Some weapons have a greater range and power than others, making the furniture fly into the air, so you will have to think for a split second and choose the most suitable among them before you switch. Unfortunately, you can't turn the blood off in the options menu, and when you shoot someone (you will do so hundreds or thousands of time during this silly game), the red stuff spurts out. You can't stand around doing nothing for more than a few seconds, because you will be a target for bullets. Thankfully, you don't see bullet-hole-ridden and maimed bodies, but the walls quickly begin to resemble Swiss cheese. When you are "killed," the whole screen turns red, and you are returned to the point in the action where you last saved the game (saving the action can be performed at any time, or you can depend on the autosave feature). Terrorists come at you fast and heavy - like during the second intifada - and grenades and flash bangs are hurled every few seconds. But the scenery is dreary, the music boring, the graphics nothing to write home about - making this a tiresome, ordinary game. Even the water textures aren't great, despite its name Red Ocean. I also didn't like the numskull dialogue and the constant and gratuitous vulgar language - as dark as the poorly lit, endless passageways you must pass through. The only minor innovation is that you can control water in three states - liquid so you can drown your enemies, turning it to ice to make the terrorists slip and creating steam to "cook" them. But this left me cold. This generic video game is yet another forgettable, unimaginative FPS. There are probably many more ahead, cranked out by the software companies, but ready to be ignored and left on the shelves except by teenage boys with nothing else to do but release their aggressive urges.