Archive for Monday, June 26, 2000

Game BLASTS! into fun category


June 26, 2000


Male adolescence is never cured, it only goes into remission.

And if you'd like yours to experience a resurgence, consider Evolva, a shoot'em-up for PCs from Interplay Entertainment, of Irvine, Calif.

The premise is straight from the save-the-world fantasy that competes for attention with the "Yes! Yes!"-she-moaned fantasy in a 15-year-old male's brain cells: A world-gobbling parasite threatens to destroy all life, and you must control four genohunters to combat it.

Genohunters are warriors that can mutate on the spot, absorbing the DNA of their defeated enemies. They can, for example, breath fire if they kill a fire-breathing enemy.

All this is done with animated gore and violence, but it's in the comic book style and tone of KAPLOW! and KERBLAM! and not particularly offensive.

And just like some comic book illustrations are treasured today as art, Evolva's artists and animators deserve to take a bow. The landscapes they evoke are alien and compelling, the animation cinematic in quality. Even if shooting things isn't your bag, the artwork alone is worth a look.

But if art is something you don't plan to appreciate for another 30 years or so, there are plenty of things to be killed, which is what earns the software its Teen rating.

There's a fine, fluid user interface and a suitably arcane set of keyboard commands and shortcuts, which is part of the fun of these things. And, obligatory in today's market, there's also multiplayer capability -- left untested, in this case, because a real adolescent would have spotted my 50-something lack of skill in a second.

Interplay, which has taken some shots here for software that didn't install or run properly, gets a nod on this one, which installed and ran exactly as advertised. But there's no Mac version apparent, which rates a hiss.

Be warned that this isn't some tiny application: It wants 450 megabytes of hard disk space (all that wonderful art and animation doesn't come in a few bytes). But when you've finally mastered it, the uninstall utility does a nice clean job.

Other system requirements: Pentium II at 233 megahertz or equivalent, 32 megabytes of RAM and a 3D video accelerator with at least 8 megabytes of memory, Windows 95-98 and DirectX 6.1.

You can try a demo version at the Web site ( or buy the software for $44.81 -- an odd price that, the company says, reflects true price reductions. It's also widely available at retail.

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