Forward into the past, to get forward again.
John Romero’s Daikatana, from Eidos Interactive, operates
on the principle that time is not on your side. But there is a lot of time-slipping
in this program. You’ll begin in the year 2455 C.E. in Japan, drop back
to 1200 B.C.E. Greece, then work your way up through 560 C.E. Norway to
2030 C.E. San Francisco. Along the way you’ll encounter amazing monsters,
solve a host of puzzles, and battle, battle, battle.
But before the review goes any further, it’s time to address
the bugs – and this game has a big one.
There are some things that gamers just won’t tolerate
– one of them being a game that forces you to jump through hoops to get
it to run. Daikatana is just such a game. First, it won’t recognize the
Voodoo2 chipset. Your graphics card must be OpenGL compliant. The program
will direct you to Glsetup.com, but that site is experiencing server problems
(maybe from the hordes of Daikatana fans flooding the site looking for
The latest update from the Glsetup site is as follows:
“The demand is outstripping our bandwidth right now, so if the web GLSetup
is failing or the monolithic build is taking a long time to download, please
try again later. We’re hoping to fix this soon.”
Another avenue is to make sure you have the latest drivers
for your video card. Forums for the site are filled with disgruntled fans
who have tried everything from miniGL drivers to wicked3D drivers with
some success. The program does come with some beta versions of the drivers
that you may need to run the game.
Another problem is the system requirements. The program
asks only for a Pentium 233 with 32 megs of RAM and a 4x CD-ROM. But if
you don’t like your frame rate to seemingly mirror the seconds hand of
a clock, you won’t want to play this program on that slow a system. Here’s
where the interesting catch comes in. Compare the specs for minimum, recommended
and best. The recommended system is a Pentium II 300 with 64 megs of RAM
and an 8x CD-ROM driver, while the best specs ask for a Pentium III 500
with 128 megs of RAM. That is quite a disparity. What it boils down to
is a program that runs slowly on a system sporting the minimum requirements
Once you get the graphic card element sorted out, you’ll
be treated to a game that is rich in graphical design. Daikatana is built
off the Quake 2 engine, utilizing three-dimensional rendered
graphics that are detailed, a little dark, but otherwise a visual treat.
The vision of the future is a little pessimistic, but hey, if it were all
sunshine and gardens, there wouldn’t be a game.
You play the part of Hiro Miyamoto, a martial arts master
who must set the future right through the ultimate destruction of the evil
and insane Kage Mishima, and the recovery of the ultimate sword, the daikatana.
Yep, it’s one of those ‘the world is at stake’ games with a few interesting
twists. The first one is that you don’t have to undertake the quest alone.
There’s help available in the forms of Superfly Johnson and Mikiko Ebihara.
Superfly was formerly in the employ of Mishima Industries, but his morality
caused him to turn against the nasty practices of that group. Mikiko is
the daughter of Toshiro Ebihara, whose clan lays claim to the daikatana.
These ‘sidekicks’ are computer controlled, but you can give them direction.
They will sacrifice themselves to save you, but you are responsible for
them as well as for your own well-being, so keep an eye on their health
bars. And, of course, they aren’t with you as the game opens – you have
to find them. Mishima Industries is a good place to start looking around.
The saving function in this game is a real gem – literally.
You can’t save the game at any interval along the way, you must find a
save gem, which can be used to save the game. However, save gems are limited
and you do have to work a bit to find one.
There are three difficulty levels in this game: (in keeping
with the Japanese flavor) Ronin, Samuri and Shogun. However, even at the
easiest level, this game is still tough. Robotic, poison-spewing frogs,
and robotic bat-birds that zoom down from above are among the first challenges
you’ll encounter. Keep an eye out for berry bushes – they can help heal
Intensity is the hallmark of Daikatana. There are 24 levels
and more than 50 enemies you will have to overcome in the course of play.
This game, while primarily a reflexive game – though you will be required
to use a little grey matter, is detailed from the first-person perspective.
The options package is rather limited, but the main thrust is the non-stop
action of the game.
This program supports multiplayer gaming in Death-match
or Death-tag style, and is rated for Mature audiences due to the animated
violence, and blood and gore.
Install: Medium. The game eats up 200-plus megabytes of
hard drive space and you may have to install new GL drivers and 3Dfx drivers,
which are included in the program. Other than that, the game installs at
a decent rate with no spectacular or screen-grabbing effects.
Gameplay: 7. This, again, depends on the system running
the game. If you are on a system capable of playing it, Daikatana’s defined
graphics give the sense of intensity that is added to by the seamless play.
If your system requirements barely meet the minimum, ‘lag’ is the word
you will come to know quite well.
Graphics: 7. The three-dimensional rendering of this program
is wonderful, although some gamers will have to fight like the dickens
to see anything at all. The game is very finicky when it comes to the type
of graphics cards it recognizes, and on-line support is lacking.
Sound: 8. The 18 MP3-quality songs, plus solid ambient
sounds give the program a boost.
Difficulty: 8.5. This is a game that requires not only
reflexive skill, but brain power – even at the easier levels.
Concept: 7.5. Score the game for the addition of computer
controlled sidekicks, and the multi-time period plot line is nice.
Overall: 7. This program has a lot of bugs, mainly in
the realm of graphics card-acceptability. That will give a lot of gamers
frostbite, and we’re not talking the type experienced in 560 C.E. Norway.