Date: April 17, 2003
Buy 'RTX RED ROCK': PlayStation 2
The story behind Lucas Arts’ RTX Red Rock is your classic “I am the hero and must save the world from peril” adventure game. The plot entails you being an elite military soldier who is called in from your vacation to travel to Mars and defeat an alien race that has attacked a colony there. Of course, you are no ordinary soldier, as some of your body parts are bionic, thus keeping you one step ahead of the enemy.
The gameplay in RTX Red Rock is set up like a typical third-person action/adventure game, but instead of a fixed third-person view, you can control the camera angle and spin it around your person, giving you the ability to peer around corners or look down at what is beneath a ledge. The camera angle sometimes suddenly changes and becomes a hindrance, but you can correct it easily enough. The weapons/armor/items your character can acquire are the industry standards: pistol, machine gun, and health packs. There are also some specific items that you only need to acquire once but can utilize for the duration of the game. When you rescue a hostage, it is much too dangerous to have them following you around so you are given a human digitizer, which basically compresses them into a tiny digital save cube. I laughed for a few minutes when I first encountered it simply because it is so unexpected, but it certainly is one of the coolest contraptions that I’ve seen lately.
Since you are a “bionic” man, you have some nifty features to assist you in your search and destroy missions throughout the game. Right off the bat, you have the option of a number of “visions.” The different vision options range from detection of cloaked units to the highlighting of interactive objects. I find these visions very appealing because you don’t have to waste time searching every nook and cranny for items. You could conceivably enter a room, scan it, grab the goods and leave. On more than one occasion, these vision options have also saved me from being ambushed.
Before the weight of the mission starts wearing you down, take solace in the fact that you are not totally alone in your quest. You are accompanied by a spunky, well-endowed female computer AI that you carry along in a cartridge that you can plug into the various computer terminals around the colony station. She can assist you in opening doors, acquiring mission updates, as well as giving you moral support or a scolding if you look at another female in the wrong way.
As you progress, you do have to travel outside which requires you to be in a space suit. This is where the oxygen canisters come in, since your suit has a limited supply of oxygen. The same idea behind scuba gear applies here: if you are low on air, pop in another tank. Besides the obvious cosmetic differences and the ability to travel outside, the suit does not offer any type of armor so you will have to keep an eye on your health.
The enemies in RTX Red Rock are called LEDs. The game starts off with a victory over the LEDs on planet Earth, where the earthlings drove the LEDs off the planet. Naturally, the LEDs decide to make Mars their next pit stop. They are plentiful in number and can vary in size as well as abilities. You have the biological kind as well as the cyborg type. They can pilot assault aircrafts that hinder your travels outsides of stations. Some of them can even cloak themselves, while others just suck your life like leeches. Unfortunately, salt won’t get rid of these bad boys.
While they don’t push the envelope, RTX Red Rock’s graphics are decent eye candy. Every character has its own model, and the lip-syncing is pretty accurate. The graphic effects complement the overall feel of the game and do not seem out of place. The textures are also pretty good, and the colors are vibrant and depict the specific level pretty accurately. There are, however, some parts where the repeating textures are quite noticeable and some of them look distorted, but again what can you expect from three-year-old console? The level design is pretty straightforward; you aren’t given much room to wander around, but it does give you more than one way to get to the specific location. All in all, this game boasts a solid graphics engine.
There is a nifty soundtrack provided, and the sound effects blend in perfectly with the game. The soundtrack defines the mood for each level and changes from normal exploration to faster-paced action music. Sound effects are realistic so expect your pistol shot to sound like, well, a pistol shot instead of a shot rendered with nuclear-tipped ammunition.
The controls are easily mastered, and if you have played any type of action/ adventure game, you won’t have any problems. If I had to gripe about something, I would say that the camera control needs to be tweaked a bit so your view isn’t thrown out of alignment when trying to avoid the enemy with quick-dodging movements. RTX Red Rock is a solid game and is to be taken less seriously than other action/adventures games. Certain aspects of the game are “cartoonish,” but they only add to the laidback feel of the game. You could really have a good time with this game if you wanted to take a break from blasting armed aliens or Nazis.