Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Chaos Break (Playstation)

So, in 1998, Taito released an arcade game entitled Chaos Heat, it's a pretty good game, like a 3D beat em up with guns. I'll probably do a post on it at some point in the distant future. For some reason, Taito, instead of porting Chaos Heat to the Playstation, made Chaos Break, a spin-off set in the same universe (or an "Episode of Chaos Heat", as the title screen puts it).

This port doesn't have the constant, fast-paced action of its arcade parent, eschewing it in favour of Resident Evil-esque exploration and puzzles, in what can only have been an ill-advised attempt to cash in on the popularity of that kind of adventure game on the Playstation at the time. Ill-advised because, while Resident Evil, as an example takes place in an atmospheric mansion, with many unique rooms containing interesting puzzles and memorable items, Chaos Break doesn't have any of those things.

The setting is a scientific facility that's futuristic in the least interesting way possible: everything made out of grey metal, no decoration, sliding doors, all that kind of thing. The rooms and especially the corridors all pretty much look alike, which I guess is realistic for a facility of this type, but in a videogame that contains as much backtracking as Chaos Break, it's not only ugly and boring, but also impractical, leading to endless flicking to and fro between the game and the map screen in the pause menu.

The biggest crime Chaos Break commits, however, is in its puzzles. Using Resident Evil as an example once again, the puzzles in that game included logic puzzles with verbose clues, block-pushing puzzles, fitting items in different slots, and so on. The puzzles in Chaos break are neither fun nor interesting. To find the first password you need to unlock a door, the player simply has to find it written down on a piece of paper found in the possession of a dead scientist found lying around. The second takes the game to new depths, being a randomly generated sudoku puzzle. Not only is the puzzle itself a tedious, slow, laborious chore, it completely shatters any atmosphere or immersion the player might be feeling, which would be bad in a regular game, but remember that Chaos Break is supposed to be a horror game (though the near-infinite ammunition available coupled with the feeble monsters might have already convinced you otherwise) and the sudoku puzzle is like a testament to this game being an awful, poorly thought out mess.

I'm sure you've already guessed, but I don't recommend this game. It's just an ugly, boring mess. Don't play it.

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