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Esoteria

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Jason Chen

GAME DEVELOPER:Kirin Entertainment

GAME PUBLISHER:Moebius Designs

Copyright 1998, Kirin Entertainment

Esoteria is a fun 3D third-person shooter that unfortunately got far too little attention than Shinys innovative MDK, which the game closely resembles both in gameplay and presentation (although not in the creativity department). Created by California upstart Kirin Entertainment and published by Moebius Designs, the game disappeared very quickly from store shelves, and neither company exists anymore. Which is a shame, because despite being an obvious derivative of MDK (or at least heavily inspired by it), Esoteria is a fun and sophisticated combination of nonstop action, stealth, and exploration wrapped inside a mission-oriented premise. Similar to MDK, you control a genetically engineered killing machine code-named Project Raven. While Ravens armor of light-bending circuits and slew of special weapons help in the effort to stop mass destruction, you must also be able to navigate the huge 3D complex and analyze the enemy.

All of the environments and structures in Esoteria, which include cities, forests, deserts, and aquatic areas, are fully modeled 3D structures and very pretty to look at. The game is much more non-linear than MDK, although it is less imaginative as far as the designs of weapons and locations go. The third-person perspective allows precise control over character movements such as dodging and jumping, as well as shooting in one direction while moving in another. The combination of mouse (which moves the camera around Raven) and keyboard controls (which moves Raven himself) takes some time to get used to, but becomes natural once you do. Also, as in MDK, there is an ability to zoom in on the enemy and pick them off from a great distance. Another feature of note is the excellent automap, which allows you to zoom in over areas of importance.

Although it is not nearly as innovative, Esoteria offers one thing that MDK is sadly lacking: multiplayer capabilities. The game is networkable up to 16 players in head-to-head or co-operative play over either LAN or the Internet, although the single player game is much more fun because the missions are not all frag-fests. Many missions require a fine balance of reflexes, cunning, stealth, and even strategic planning. You have to ambush and assassinate, disappear and destroy, and plan how to kill. If you enjoy MDK but feels that it is far too short, the bigger gameworld and more non-linear gameplay of Esoteria may well be what you need. Just dont expect it to be as innovative or unique as Shinys classic, and you will have hours of fun with this unconventional FPS. Two thumbs up!



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