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Alive SE - EIL 2001
  FreeFall 3050 A.D. by Total ArKade Software

Type: Action/Arcade
# of players: 1
Levels: 15 + 4 Training
MSRP: $29.95

Falling at 150 mph without a parachute has never been so much fun!

It is the year 3050 A.D. Mankind has laid waste to the once beautiful
planet called Earth and is forced to sneek accomodation elsewhere. Huge,
sky-bound cities now dominate and environmentally controlled stratosphere.
The increase in city population has also led to an increase in crime.
Gangster syndicates are taking over and are forming a dark new order.
There is only one hope for justice - an elite core of uncorruptible law
enforcers to protect and to serve. They are our only hope. They are our
only future...

You are Commander Alexander Menon of the Drop Corps. At your disposal is a
state-of-the-art defense suit, equipped with parallel lasers, grenades,
airbrakes and anti-grav boots; it is all you have to keep the peace.

Scared? Who wouldn't be...


   * A distinctly original and exhilirating new style of gameplay -
     spin and shoot in 360 degrees while freefalling through space
   * 15 gut-wrenching levels plus four helpful training levels
   * Cool futuristic weaponry and gadgets
   * A variety of unique and wicked enemies
   * Multiple difficulty settings

TAKS brings us its first title for NUON, FreeFall 3050 A.D. This game sees
you as Alexander Menon, a Commander of the Drop Corps out to save the
skies for the well being of mankind - and there's really no other game
like it. You start the game off by dropping out into a thunderous
cloud-filled sky as you make your way to the city. Along the way you use
grenades, homing missiles, shields and a variety of other special weapons
to take out the bad guys and save the joydivers. This game is not for the
squeamish. The somewhat complex control scheme (which works great once you
get the hang of it) is enough to turn casual gamers off, while the
difficulty even on the normal setting will challenge even the most harcore
gaming freaks. But this isn't all bad, considering there are only 4
missions (with 15 levels in total) - you wouldn't want to blow through
this game in one evening, would you? There are also 4 helpful training
missions to let you come to grips with the controls and objectives of the
game; something that was definitely useful when getting started out.

Each mission consists of four parts (except for Mission 4, in which parts
1 and 2 are combined for continuity). A Skyfall, which has you up in the
air falling towards a city, a Cyber City, which (obviously) sees you
falling through a tunnelized (is that a word?) sky city, a Gateway that
has plasma walls and other obstacles to avoid, and the dreaded Endzones.
The Endzones consist of thermal currents of differing intensities which
you must navigate in order to make it to the landing pad at the end. These
can get brutally hard as you have very little oxygen, and have to be
*very* careful with your health and shields in order to make it to the end
successfully. The kicker is that you don't get a level password until the
end of the EndZone, so if you bite the big one here, you'll have to start
over at the SkyFall. A mid-level password on an Easy or even the Normal
difficulties would have served to make this game more player-friendly.

This game has some killer FMV. The first of its kind on NUON, the mid-game
DVD-resolution FMV sets the missions up nicely, while the lengthy opening
sequence sets up the storyline for the game. The in-game graphics could be
better, some anti-aliasing or filtering would do the slightly-jaggy
graphics nicely (apparently this shouldn't be a problem in future games,
due to an updated SDK), but overall things look decent. There's plenty of
color but some of the missions just seem sparce - some more landscape and
atmosphere would have been nice. The characters design is pretty good (I
like the one guy with the huge lightning gun the best), and the missions
are definitely very ingenious and nicely diversified. I won't give
anything away, but there's no lack of new and interesting things to do on
each level.

Some excellent techno-rave tunes thump along as you plummet through the
skies and fit the game perfectly. We're talking near-T3K goodness here, I
caught myself tapping my toes along once or twice (when the action wasn't
too intense) which is a rarity for most video game music. Lightning
crashes, baddies yell "Yahoo!" and buzzers and alarms go off, all very
fittingly, to accompany the action. Some of the samples are semi-cheesy
but for the most part they're well-done.

It's a rare occasion to have a completely original game concept these
days. FreeFall is not an updated classic, it's not a FPS, RTS or RPG. It's
straight-up action that is unrelenting. An amazingly fun game despite the
fact that most will be turned off by it's difficult play. But, those that
stick with it will find a rewarding and satisfying experience that, when
conquered, will remind you why you play video games.

Graphics - 6.5

     Cool characters, quality FMV and colorful surroundings, but lacks
     that extra polish.

Sound/Music - 9

     Rocking techno that suits this game perfectly.

Control - 7.5

     Difficult to learn, but once you get the hang of it you'll feel like
     you can do anything.

Fun Factor - 8

     An Easy setting would make the game accessible to all, but is great
     for the Hardcore as it stands.

Overall (not an average) - 82%

Alive SE - EIL 2001