Saturday, September 6, 2008

Boiling Point: Road to Hell

Boiling Point: Road to Hell

Boiling Point, a fusion of first-person shooter and role-playing game, you play as Saul Meyers, a former French Legionnaire investigating the disappearance of his reporter daughter Lisa from a fictional South American nation called Realia.

PC games rarely come without a host of problems. Boiling Point, a
fusion of first-person shooter and role-playing game, is no exception
to that rule, shipping with so many issues that it's unplayable out of
the box. The Deep Shadows-developed game is crazy buggy, with frequent
crashes, routine corruption of save files, vanishing non-player
characters that makes it impossible to complete quests, and lots of
other extreme weirdness, including the ability to destroy a police
station with a single crossbow bolt. A recent patch eliminates the save
bug and most of the quest and graphical oddities, but at present this
game remains proudly unrefined.

So, caveat emptor. Keep in mind
that this is for all intents and purposes a beta, even with the patch.
You'll experience crashes, watch NPCs open and drink from invisible
cans, encounter traffic pileups because the artificial intelligence
drives worse than a fleet of little old ladies, and so forth. But with
that said, Boiling Point is still an engaging play because there is
nothing even remotely like it on the market. Deep Shadows has worked
off the Grand Theft Auto template to fashion an open-ended hybrid
shooter with more diverse missions and a more interesting setting than
the genre has seen in years. While the plot is so derivative that it
must power a dozen action movies--you play as Saul Meyers, a former
French Legionnaire investigating the disappearance of his reporter
daughter Lisa from a fictional South American nation called Realia--the
design goes beyond ripping off Arnold Schwarzenegger's Commando and
Crytek's Far Cry. Basically, this is Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in
the jungle, maybe with a dash of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
tossed in for good measure. Starting from the hub village of Puerto
Somba, you take a roundabout path of looking for your girl that
involves signing up for jobs doled out by the local bus station,
government, mafia, guerrillas, CIA agents, bandits, and indigenous
groups and trekking into the jungles in search of adventure and ways to
make some cash.

Money is the main driving force here, because
everybody has his hand out in this stereotypically corrupt banana
republic. To get tips about Lisa's disappearance, you need to shell out
1,200 pesos here, 20,000 pesos there, and so on. Accepting these
mercenary assignments typically comes at a nonmonetary cost, though, as
faction members tend to remember the French commando who just killed a
bunch of their buddies. Do thug work for the corrupt police force, and
you'll make friends with the government at the expense of your
relationship with the guerrillas and the bandits. Reverse your tactics
and you'll sacrifice government goodwill to chum up to the communists
and the crooks.

This means that you can't keep everybody happy.
It also means that you probably won't be able to complete all of the
available missions in a single run-through of the game, which enhances
its replay value. That's a good thing, in part because there is no
multiplayer option, but at the same time Boiling Point takes the
factionalism too far. Accidentally shoot a civilian, for instance, and
you become a walking target. Hunched-over grannies you were recently
helping cross the street start tossing grenades, and average citizens
suddenly become assassins. Every stroll down the street turns into a
scene from The Wild Bunch. This constant harassment gets annoying in
short order and dramatically ups the difficulty of missions, as you can
find yourself flanked by Grandma Dynamite and her pistol-packing
neighbors when attacking a guerrilla truck or a bandit drug lab.

battles aren't handled very well by the game engine either. Imprecise
controls are exasperating at times, with everything feeling a little
bit off. Movement and aiming are never quite fluid, although things get
better as the game goes on and you improve both the quality of your
weapons and Meyers' core stats, which govern his skills with automatic
weapons, pistols, and the like. Enemies seem to be able to outrun
bullets, so it's difficult to line them up as they zip between
attacking in the open and taking cover. Also, even bare-chested thugs
can take a good six or seven rounds before going down, so you can waste
whole clips on single foes. Ammo is in cheap supply at the local arms
dealer and, oddly enough, roadside fruit stands, but managing your
shots is still vital, since it's easy to run out of bullets in the
middle of firefights with these Speedy Gonzales characters. Equipment
also degrades, so you have to keep guns repaired or risk firing duds in
the middle of a melee.

Size: 2.42 GB



Enjoy !


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