|Another one of these fancy animated title screens, this is the only interesting bit
Won:Yes, I think (46W/48L)
We're finally back with Dynamix for the American version of SeeNa, racing meets early FPS, and this time, I'll actually be able to shoot something. Damon Slye doesn't have much to do with this game, but Dynamix co-founder Jeffrey Tunnell is directing and Dynamix veteran Dariusz Lukaszuk is programming and designing the tracks, so I think we're in good hands.
The manual does a good job of explaining the game, but not so much its backstory. Society has failed, so let's have a bunch of races where people shoot each other across America. Nothing terribly complex. So much so that its practically just an afterthought. I do question why its across the country and not centered in one city though. Doesn't really matter since its not supposed to be important. What is important, is that this has a MT-32 soundtrack.
|Spoiler alert, you don't get three machine guns
|There are a lot of things going on in one screenshot, but the most important bit is I'm last
Playing through the opening track several times with a variety of vehicles and settings its abundantly clear that I'm not getting any better at it. I don't feel like I'm in control of the car and I consistently end up last or next to last. There's an autopilot mode mentioned in the manual, but that's actually off, turning it on makes it all worse. So much worse. You can also screw around with the amount of laps each race takes, but I never messed with the default setting of 5.
The sound is interesting. The music isn't some kickass tune you'd expect to hear in a racing game. The menu theme is a dark, melancholic thing, while the in-game music seems like something an action movie would play as a variation of the title theme during a minor scene. I quite like it, but it doesn't quite feel right. It lacks the energy it needs for what is supposedly a hi-octane racing game. Its pleasant enough to listen to a few times, but it seems short for a game of this length. There are only two tracks. Sound is typical PC speaker, and doesn't feel objectionable.
|The tires are 500 new, so I'm really lucking out by only paying 60
|I feel bad for the guy they hired, if I ever saw him again I don't think I could unsee him as the creepy guy from Deathtrack
So, its clear that I'm missing the strategy of this game. Even if its crap there must be one. Over the course of my first few playthroughs of the career mode, which usually end in my demise, I put together a few points that improved my chances, and possibly yours.
|The different cars have different interiors, which is nice
|There's one other guy on the road, and of course he shot me from half the track away
|I wonder how many of these references are to military gear
More expensive items like the missiles do take out enemies, but aren't really worth the price. Two missiles take out one enemy, but that's 2k down the drain, minimum. The terminator missile might even hit you if you aren't careful.
|Basically how most races go
|See? So powerful everyone is using them!
Just be warned it can happen to you too. These things have deceptively wide range, so even if you think you've dodged one, you'll still get hit. As such, it can be a tricky thing dodging them. Slowing down doesn't really work.
Its seemingly a good idea to do a combination of playing the race seriously and placing caltrops to take out the fast drivers to win. Advancing past the more combat-minded ones tends to result in them taking each other out, so that even I could lap them.
|Slow and steady wins the race is a good saying when surviving is lucky
Its at the higher difficulty where this strategy starts showing cracks. I'm no longer consistently placing in 1st or 2nd, only rarely do I manage to reach there. Often, I end up losing my car. Primarily to missiles. Missiles can supposedly be dodged by slowing down, but it rarely seems to work.
Still, I manage to make it through with the highest placements of anyone. With the caveat that whenever my car was destroyed I quit and reloaded. I never won enough money for this not to be my default behavior. In this case it often seems like simply finishing every race is enough to win. Is the final section considerably more difficult?
|I swear I've seen this screen cracking effect in a different game
|In addition to ones in the manual, opponents have in-game profiles, including the only international competitor
With how the game is set up, selecting a good majority of the weapon options is simply unfeasible except as single shots in a single track run. Even discarding that, there's a very clear advantage to using caltrops every race, since otherwise its very tricky to actually race past opponents. 2/10
I recognize that there are several different racers, all with different parts and weapons, but its hard to tell who is who. When they're crusing past you at 300 MPH, you can't see them except as a brief flash of color. When you're smashing into their backside...well, it doesn't matter anymore. 3/10
Because of the control issues I had with the game, it was sort of hard to see the tracks all that distinctly. Some tracks are straighter, some are twisty and turny. They try to make them feel distinct, but because of the way the game is designed they don't feel that way. 1/10
There's this feeling of constantly driving on-top of a super soft substance like butter or something. Its okay when you're going at a certain speed on a certain section of it, but if you're not going that speed it feels like you're stopping dead in your tracks. 1/10
This game feels like a mess of contradictions. A dark, dystopian world that can't commit to being that. A 3d game that still feels firmly stuck in the past. A combat racer that doesn't really want to be a combat racer. It just feels like a strange mesh of ill-formed ideas. 2/10
Its okay looking for 1989 3D. 2/10
Suddenly, there are a bunch of racers shooting each other across America. Not lethally, because that would be bad. I'm used to excuse plots, but there's basically none, it just happened. 0/10
Music is decent, somewhat ill-fitting, but not enough for the game's length. Sounds are PC speaker and unobjectionable. 3/10
What's holding this game back is the strange driving scheme. Racing games took a while before figuring out how to work in 3D, but this isn't that. This is Outrun in overglorified 3D. There's no excuse for it. Seeing as this is one of those titles that was alleged to be on the FPS side of things I'm quite disappointed in it. It hardly fits that genre and even feels like it had a insignificant influence on car combat games later on. I'm disappointed in Dynamix too, since they're supposed to be the gold standard for vehicle simulations of the time, and this doesn't meet that standard.
The final game I've put in the '80s FPS pile is Sleeping Gods Lie, which has been described as that at times, along with adventure and RPG. The latter by a Russian source that is nearly always right on these things.