7, 2000 (USA)
> Max Steel is a futuristic action/adventure featuring the characters,
voices, and technology from the WB's hit afternoon TV series. Crawl
through ducts, snipe distant opponents, make quick decisions, and solve
puzzles. This TV to console rendition is programmed by Treyarch,
creators of the fantasy action/adventure, Draconus
Cult of the Wyrm. I don't claim to know for sure, but it seems
likely Max Steel uses a version of the Draconus game engine.
> What I like... FMV cut-scenes develop the story well. The
level design, variety, and complexity are very good. You'll venture
through junkyard, warehouse, dockside, tanker ship, high rise, underwater
base, missile complex, jungle, and "Dawn's Complex" locales in an effort
to defeat D.R.E.A.D forces. Special effects like animated skies,
laser scanners, light source shading, gonzo explosions, and billowing smoke
really put you in Max Steel's shoes! The adversaries are interesting
enough -- they include security cameras, remote machine-guns, various thugs,
various robots, biohazardous creatures, and more. It's certainly
a cliché to have end-of-level bosses, but the "old-school gamer"
in me can appreciate it.
> What I don't like... Some of the enemies look very first-generation,
as their polygon complexity is not up to current uber-standards.
Usually your view of the action is great. When fighting in close
quarters, the camera sometimes gets stuck behind a wall, which obscures
your view of the action. Most of the time the framerate is good.
However, when the sight distance increases, the framerate drops noticeably.
This shouldn't be, given where we are in Dreamcast's development cycle.
Oh well, at least the gameplay doesn't suffer much because of it...
> This is the kind of gameplay I like in an action/adventure title.
Weapons are very useful, nano-technology (N-Tek) is cool, and there's a
reason to use hand-to-hand combat. Weapons auto target in the 3rd
person view, and you can snipe in the 1st person view. You have two
N-Tek powers: stealth for temporary invisibility, and turbo for temporary
super-strength. Puzzles are mild (which I like), and include moving
boxes, operating control panels, punching through walls, climbing ladders,
and crawling through air ducts. The levels are fairly straight forward,
which is another feature I appreciate. If there's one thing I hate,
it's getting to a point (in a game) where you have no idea what to do next!
Don't worry, Max Steel doesn't take you there. The obligatory power-ups
are well placed to aid in the completion of mission objectives. Lastly,
the reason for the average score in this category is the fact that Treyarch
should have tweaked the framerate -- this would have ensured rock solid
gameplay 100% of the time.
> Pop rock music is the norm in Max Steel. At times, the music can
be repetitive. That's OK though, since the volume is adjustable and
the music is good to begin with.
> The sound effects definitely get the job done. Environmental effects
are especially good, as you'll constantly hear radio chatter, enemy exclamations,
and much more. I don't know for sure, but reports indicate that the
character voices are straight from the TV series.
> I've never seen the TV show, but I immediately liked the story line and
characters involved here. Max Steel strikes a great balance of fighting,
shooting, climbing, being stealthy, and puzzle solving. Venture through
28 missions in order to defeat the forces of D.R.E.A.D. If you enjoy
games like Draconus, Sword
of the Berserk, Soul Fighter, MDK2,
Raider Chronicles, or Fighting Force 2,
then you should check this game out...