Title  : Forsaken
Platforms  : Sony PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Windows
Publisher  : Acclaim
Game Rating  : 7.6
Review by  : Ken Gagne

Acclaim is known for its often-shoddy titles, though the Turok series has given hope that this major publisher has forsaken its poor reputation. Acclaim proves it has not with Forsaken, for the Sony PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and Windows. [PSX version reviewed here] 

The future of the world is forsaken in this game's setting. After a nuclear holocaust, Earth is lifeless, classified Condemned, and considered 'up for loot' by mercenaries, adventurers, and other hoverbike-riding scumbags. Competing bikers and abandoned robot sentries will fight you at every turn. 

Forsaken is a 3D first-person perspective shooter, so it looks like Quake or Doom, but players can move in any direction on the three axes, as in Descent. 

It is difficult to master the controls necessary to adequately perform in such an environment. To avoid having to press two buttons simultaneously to perform one function, a dual analog controller is almost necessary; also, the precision afforded by such a device is valued. 

Bikers can spin, move, rotate, and fly in any dizzying direction by use of three separate controls. It takes awhile to satisfactorily customize these controls and become proficient with them. Some wonderful maneuvers are possible, but getting an accurate bead on enemies or making a graceful escape will prove difficult for many gamers. Be it a lack of buttons or hands, such games need to be either simplified or left on the computers. 

The graphical aspect of this computer genre made the transition with incredible ease. The world players will stagger through is gorgeous, with smooth-scrolling arenas and colorful special effects. Lighting emitted by weapon fire and items make the surrounding areas visible from far away. Not on any home console have I ever flown through a world like this. 

The music is negligible. It may be noticeable on maximum volume, but otherwise it sits in the background, contributing little to the experience. Sound effects are limited to gunfire, explosions, and some digitized voices. 

Forsaken is a not an easy game. Enemy fighters swoop down on players from unseen crevices to lay down constant fire. If standing still and firing away worked in other games, it won't here; constant maneuvering is the only way to avoid damage and stay alive. A handful of lives are initially allotted to progress through the game in its entirety. Levels may be continued later using passwords, but the chances left do not change. The option of saving levels and controller configurations to a memory card is not provided. 

A two-player mode is available. The various arenas cannot be selected, but must be played through in a strict order. The game's 3D nature makes the task tracking an opponent a difficult one. 

Despite some magnificent graphics, Forsaken stumbles in most other areas. It overlooks some obvious necessities and has a control scheme nigh-impossible to master. It adds a new dimension to the tired Doom genre, but does not do it well. Console gamers would do well to forsake this title.


This article is copyright (c) 1998, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.

Original publication: Sentinel & Enterprise, 15-Jun-98