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Expendable

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:

GAME DEVELOPER:Rage Software

GAME PUBLISHER:Rage Software

Copyright 1998, Rage Software

Expendable is a fun 3D action shooter that is Rage’s sequel-of-sorts to Incoming. Bob Mandel of Adrenaline Vault says it all in his thorough review:

“More than any other offering I have played with this commando “me-against-the-universe” format, Expendable is pure arcade action. There is not a lot of puzzle-solving and precious little resource management or command-and-control complexities. You don’t talk to others around you or exchange goods with them. You do not engage in reflective, methodical, slow-paced strategy. Instead, if you are unsure about what to do next, blasting away with your considerable firepower is almost always the right thing to do. In any case, moving ahead extremely rapidly is invariably essential to avoid dire consequences. The game is set in 2463, when humans have scattered onto nearby planets and moons that have been terraformed to become hospitable. With the goal of eradicating the scads of aliens called the Charva, who have killed or eaten the entire human population of the planet Novocastria, you play a space marine operating within six principal geographical gameplay areas scattered throughout the solar system. Raised from birth as a genetically-optimized killing machine, you are part of a group of “expendables” sacrificed to save humanity. As is typical of offerings of this type, there is nothing particularly novel or important about the background story.

You move seamlessly between indoor and outdoor environments with varying degrees of visibility and with each setting providing its own risks and opportunities. One can fight in solo, cooperative two-player or deathmatch multiplayer modes. A wide array of weaponry is available for your use, including pulse and vulcan cannons, particle accelerators, shotguns, rockets, missiles, flame throwers, mines and napalm grenades. Some of your adversaries are immune to certain weapons, so you have to choose carefully. Compared to other titles in this genre, the range of choice is more than adequate.

Rage has a reputation to uphold in being way out in front of the pack in terms of audiovisual effects, and this title is no exception. Exceeding by a large margin even the high standard set by its highly acclaimed release Incoming, Rage has incorporated every possible special graphics and sound enhancement to make Expendable the ultimate treat for both the eyes and the ears (as well as full force feedback support for the rest of the body). From trilinear filtering to bump mapping to spatialized sound, it is all here. This achievement is particularly noteworthy because the engine is not borrowed from another title.

Just as you feel while playing Expendable that you are fighting alone against incredible hoards of antagonistic forces, I feel as if Rage is fighting a battle through the release of this title against the “me-too” forces of clone-like first-person shooters. While no single element of Expendable has not been done before, the clear and consistent arcade vision of the designers and the wonderful execution of each game component clearly set it apart from the pack. After becoming more and more hooked on this offering the longer I played it, I have to say it is one of only a handful of games that is absolutely not expendable on my desktop.” Highly recommended to arcade lovers who don’t mind a me-too title that is executed superly.



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