Overall Score 64%
Your name is Taren. You are a woman with a vague resemblance to a young lady who raids temples and carries pistols on her belt, and you live in a future where most of the population have been killed by disease. You have also been abducted by a mad professor and cloned countless times over.
Taren is a game based upon the escape of our heroine and her mission to exterminate all her clones. Entirely why she wants to do this is rather unclear, as is why some of her clones are imprisoned and others run about with large guns. If I was cloned several times over I'd be trying to rescue myself, not test out an array of automatic weapons. Ah well, who needs a plot anyway?
You control Taren through a combination of mouse and keyboard, exploring a hostile 3D world and finding weapons as you go. You can crouch, run, jump and so on, and you can open doors and press switches by walking into them. All pretty standard, as Taren has been constructed using 3D game making software known as Reality Factory.
Graphically the game looks okay, but not great. There is a huge advantage to a world full of clones in that your enemies can all look the same! A lot of effort has been made to make the graphics fit well and for a first game they are very good. I particularly liked the graffiti that reads 'vandal' and 'idiot'! Yet when compared to similar games on the market, which Taren inevitably will be, the graphics serve their purpose but do not stand out.
The sound is pretty good, but rather loud, and the constant banging of one captive clone on her prison bars quickly began to grate on me. There is very little music in the demo version due to the already massive download size, though if the title music is anything to go by you'll have something worth playing along to. If you prefer, you can also play your own music CDs.
Gameplay suffers a little in two ways. For one thing, Taren moves and turns quite slowly, especially when crouching or standing again. Sometimes the environment seems against her - I once walked behind a movable block which was pushed along by my walking into it, even though I was on the wrong side and I got stuck. Secondly, I have repeatedly got killed in one room although I couldn't see anyone there. My limited ammunition and/or very low health didn't help either. Some difficulty setting would be useful here, as would the trick in Doom of turning to face your killer when you die. Combat is somewhat difficult to master, and not helped when you start with no guns and no protection.
This is a very encouraging effort from an indie developer with ambition. There are however limits to what can be achieved with game development software and I hope they gather the courage to try programming for themselves.
The demo version merely needs to be downloaded but the full game comes on CD.
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