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Darwinia - PC - Review


Posted by: jkdmedia

Review Rating 9.0 Amazing

Many people always gripe and complain about the lack of unique and innovative games. Yet when one does arrive, people laud it as the next best but no one seems to purchase it so it fails in retail and is soon gone forever. This has happened time and time again, and when the developers see this they are afraid to make anything out of the ordinary, due to poor sales which will cause them not to have a job. Well one developer by the name of Introversion Software was not afraid and they have released one of the most unique games I have played in a while entitled Darwinia.

The first question you might have on your mind is what in the world is Darwinia, well the developers at Introversion Software have made a very interesting and in depth story about what it is. Darwinia is a virtual theme park that is created by Dr. Sepulveda made out of malfunctioning Protologic 68000s. The Protologic 68000s is a computer that tried to take dominance when the computer industry started but it failed miserably.

Since that time Dr. Sepulveda went into seclusion and it was during this time that he stumbled upon quantum computing which lead to the creation of a new type of AI he dubbed Darwinians because they learned, grew, and adapted with each new generation. This was accomplished because after each Darwin died they were taken to a certain hub where its data was distributed among the new Darwin’s. Dr. Sepulveda has found peace and hopes that these new creatures will find happiness and live life without him directly helping out. One day a virus infected the world of the Darwinian’s and it is destroying their very existence. It is up to you to help Dr. Sepulveda protect the Darwinian’s or else they will be utterly obliterated. Are you up to this challenge?

When you first load the game you are taken right into the fray of the action trying to help the Darwinian’s fight off this virus plague. The first few missions act as a kind of tutorial mode to where it gently lets players get the hang of all the controls and how to create new units to help fight back. I really enjoyed the interface that the players must use in order to create new units. Players need to hit the ALT key which takes you to the “Task Manager” and then draw the symbol of the unit type you want. After drawing the symbol and the computer recognizes it, your unit will be placed in the world.

What is really nice is how you can take direct control of the fighting in this game. Once you draw a Squad, you can move them to do battle against the malicious virus. You will have to actually hit the mouse button for them to fire at the enemy’s because they are not smart enough to do that yet. This gives players a great deal of control in the battle and makes you care more for your Squad because the more you have the faster you can take out the enemy, but once a few of them get picked off your last man will not stand very long, which makes players want to make sure that they will stay alive so you can defeat your enemies. As players progress in the game they will find new upgrades which give them better and more efficient weapons.

Besides the Squads, there are other unit types that you can create and they each have a purpose in the game. Engineers will recapture infected buildings and collect the souls of the dead viruses and make them back into Darwinian’s. Officer’s are used to control nearby Darwinian’s such as telling them to go a certain direction. Armour’s are used to transport large numbers of Darwinian’s around the game’s world, and under extreme circumstances players can use it as a stationary Battle Cannon.

The only bad thing that I can say about this game is path finding for the computer AI, and this is particularly true for the squads. It seems like you have to baby step them especially when it comes to going around a corner. They will continue to try to get around that corner by drowning in the water or they give up and just sit there. This can be a killer if you are trying to coordinate an attack against an enemy if your troops can not get to the destination.

The graphics for Darwinia are really unique and yet very simple at the same time. The game has a very “retro” look and feel to it. The units have a very different look to each of them so you will never be confused at which unit you are using at the time. The environments are really interesting to look at as well as you are going through this virtual world.

The music and sound effects for this game also fit perfectly into the entire world in which it inhabits. The music is sort of an upbeat “techno” score which fits right in with the graphical style of the game. The sound effects also have a very “futuristic” sound to them especially when you are in the middle of a battle.

System Requirements:
Pentium 3 – 600 MHz
128 MB of RAM
Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
DirectX 9.0
GeForce 2
60 MB of Hard Drive Space
Keyboard and Mouse.

Review Scoring Details for Darwinia

Gameplay: 9.2
The game is a blast to play and the learning curve is not that steep.
One thing that was really interesting about this game is that players will take direct control of the squads while they are in battle against the malicious viruses.

Graphics: 9.0
The art style of Darwinia is really unique and nothing short of awesome. Players who always crave the latest eye bleeding graphics will not be impressed, but this game has a very unique “retroish” style to it that is very appealing to the eyes.

Sound: 8.9
The soundtrack to the game fits the entire atmosphere you will be put in.

Difficulty: Medium
It might take players a while to get adjusted to how Darwinia is played, but once they do they will find it to be a blast. The game isn’t that hard but it can get sticky in certain situations.

Concept: 9.0
This game is a mix of almost every genre you can imagine and it is accomplished very nicely.

Overall: 9.0
Darwinia is one of the most unique games that I have played in a while. If you are looking for a unique game that isn’t just a “cookie cutter” of the most popular game out there, then look no further than this game. You will not regret it.

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