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Giant: Citizen Kabuto

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Nick Bruty

GAME DEVELOPER:Planet Moon Studios

GAME PUBLISHER:Interplay

Copyright 2000, Planet Moon Studios

Giants: Citizen Kabuto from Planet Moon Studios is a great FPS/RTS blend that makes up for its dumb AI with an excellent mix of humor, interesting (if wacky) storyline, and fun gameplay that combines the best of FPS and RTS genres. The Adrenaline Vault’s usual thorough review says it all about this charming underdog that never got the attention it deserves:

“The setting of Giants is actually a broken-off piece of a faraway planet that flies through space like an exotic asteroid. The surface is covered mostly with water, but is broken up by lush land formations — islands within the Island. The ocean-dwelling Sea Reapers were the original inhabitants of the Island but were forced to retreat to the sea when the beast created as their protector, the mighty giant Kabuto, became aware of his uniqueness and the pain of isolation turned him against his makers. Sappho, queen of the Sea Reapers, has begun to take steps to reclaim the islands from the giant by whatever means necessary. However, Delphi, Sappho’s daughter, does not agree with her mother’s evil ways and hopes to find a way to combat the magical powers of her own people and bring peace. Unfortunately, Delphi’s cause seems hopeless, as she has not yet developed her own powers and cannot face her mother’s forces alone. Enter the Meccaryns, or “Meccs” for short — five space travelers with distinctively cockney accents from a technologically advanced world. Baz, Tel, Reg, Bennett, and Gordon are on holiday and enroute to the vacation world of Planet Majorca when their ship is swallowed by a giant space fish. Two months later, their ship has been digested and is “discharged” from the beast, and the space travelers are forced to find the nearest landing spot to effect repairs on their ship. The nearest rock turns out to be the Island.

The other sentient residents of the Island, the Smarties, are a diminutive race that find themselves caught in the middle of the conflicts of the other races. Baz and his good-hearted Meccs, anxious to be off the Island and on their way to Planet Majorca, can’t help but assist the innocent Smarties as they are overrun by the tyranny of the Reapers. The Smarties themselves are crucial in their efforts, as they are the source of labor and knowledge for the heroes. Therefore, many of the missions involve rescuing or protecting Smarties from the clutches of the evil Reapers. The Mecc storyline eventually ties in to the struggles of Delphi, whose primary goal is tracking down Sappho and stopping her evil plans. After Delphi’s campaign, the storyline puts the player in the shoes of Kabuto himself. The giant is no longer a friend of the Reapers, and his campaign involves stomping across the islands, destroying, or even eating any Reapers that get in his way. Evil Smarties also contribute to Kabuto’s diet, with the added benefit of giving him strength needed to lay eggs for hatching offspring that will obey his commands.

Mission objectives in Giants vary from rescuing Smarties or gathering food, to completely destroying all enemy buildings — though some of the more challenging missions are those involving building and defending your own base. (Only the Meccs and Delphi can build bases, probably because the construction depends heavily on Smartie labor, and Kabuto would most likely end up eating his workers.) Not only does the base have to be defended as it’s being built, but you will often have to leave your base, at times traveling great distances in order to find Smarties to construct your buildings; and the Vimp meat they need to keep working. Only when you have the majority of your base constructed will you be able to get your workers to build a meaningful defense of turrets to keep the evil Reapers at bay. Once these defenses are in place, you are better able to leave the base for an assault on the enemy’s structures or accomplish any other goals you may have. These levels certainly have an RTS feel to them, but at the same time do not use the standard RTS formula found in most titles of the genre. Whereas Sacrifice is a true-blue RTS game at its heart, the Giants‘ flavor of RTS is more akin to that of Battlezone.

The single player mode is broken up into three campaigns: one each for the Meccaryns, Sea Reapers, and Kabuto. Of the three, the Meccaryn campaign is the strongest, as it is during this set of missions that Giants takes the player through a well-structured and fun storyline with unique and interesting missions. Most of these also serve as an efficient tutorial for using the various weaponry and equipment available in the game. By the time the player reaches the base-building missions, there is a firm understanding of the action gameplay element which will allow the player to concentrate more fully on base construction and resources. Each mission builds perfectly upon the last in both storyline and gameplay, so that the natural flow is not broken or stunted; and the missions are separated by well-written, humorous cutscenes.

No game is perfect. That certainly doesn’t stop Giants from trying though, and Planet Moon does a fine job at jumping the genre fence to create a product that is appealing to fans of many different genres. While the gameplay in Giants is certainly unique, it will not be intimidating to most players since it uses concepts familiar to fans of other genres and effectively combines them without sacrificing entertainment for innovation. That’s not to say you’ll be able to jump right in and expect a zero learning curve; some aspects of gameplay, such as the jetpack and the sniper mode, may take some getting used to. Put simply, the gameplay is fun, although the game is so short — due largely to the shoddy, easily manipulated AI — that some players will feel somewhat robbed. Still, combine the humorous and effective storyline with the gorgeous graphics and sound, and Giants becomes the hit that its creators were obviously striving for, and a worthy addition to any player’s collection.”



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