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Chaos Control: Vivid visuals,passable shooting but easy to finish

>> Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chaos Control is one of the prettiest CD-i titles to look at -- and unlike other beauty-contest CD-i discs, it's also fun to play. The game puts players in the cockpit of a space-fighter, desperately trying to punch through an invasion fleet and... of course... Save The Earth. As flying games goes, Chaos Control is of the ''railroad tracks'' ilk, meaning you fly through the same terrain the same way every time. The ship flies itself, you just have to shoot. Fortunately, that assignment will keep players plenty busy.

As you fly furiously through cityscapes, through space stations, etc., you'll come across alien ships, ''mobile-suits'', tanks, etc., some stationary, some flying. Moving your cursor on to them and pressing the button fires your guns. But to keep things interesting, you can only fire so often before overheating your guns -- as a practical upshot, success depends on making quality shots.

As the alien mecha returns fire, a shield guage on the bottom of the screen diminishes. When it runs out, the game ends. There's no way to replenish it -- no ''1ups'' or recharges to pick up -- short of finishing the entire level. One other thing to watch for: the cursor turns yellow when it's pointed at a friendly object, such as one of your squadron members. Try not to shoot them!

In Chaos, the same alien ships show up in the same places at the same time in every game. That's because of how the game actually works -- the terrain and the alien ships are pre-recorded digital video being unspooled from the disc. The CD-i superimposes a target and the various shots (yours and theirs) on top of this video. When you hit a ship, an explosion and smoke is drawn on top of the ship until it disappears off the screen.

In its execution, Chaos most closely resembles the Namco arcade shooter Starblade, which also offered exactly the same game every time. Starblade gets a point for actually removing exploded ships from the screen, but Chaos gets many more points for being faster, better looking, and generally more fun. (Note to Infogrames, though: if you can animate the explosions, vary their size, and have them track the moving objects, couldn't you have just put computer-animated ships in random locations and opened up the game more? Or is that too Rebel Assault?)

Chaos is also distinguished by a faux-anime storyline that is played out in animated sequences between the action sequences. The heroine who you're playing is ace pilot Jessica Darkhill, whose wingman and One True Love has been killed in an earlier battle with the Kesh Rahn, an alien fleet that's come to conquer the Earth. Jessica must first punch through the front lines to get to a base in Manhattan, destroy a computer virus in a virtual-reality world, then take a prototype ship into space and destroy the alien mothership.

It's nice to give the game a narrative angle like this, and making the hero a woman is an interesting idea. Anime fans will also notice a variety of borrowings from franco-japanese animation. Still, every now and then, the voice acting isn't up to the task, and some of the scenes border on camp. (to some, of course, that makes it even more authentic anime!)

The look of the game elements actually show the title's strongest design skils. The larger Kesh Rahn ships are appropriately creepy, bulbous behemoths with pointed spikes. They're backed up by robot-like mobile-suits, serpentine ''boss'' mecha, etc. The flying is at times claustrophobic, dizzying, and desperate. All of this has been rendered by supercomputer and when replayed in full-motion video, it's a sumptious shoot-em-up.

The game comes from France's Infogrames, who designed last year's feeble Kether. That game's sole highlight was its sweeping flying sequences, an idea developed further here. Having said all that, Chaos Control has two significant game-play flaws that prevent it from achieving true greatness. The first is simply that the level designs don't live up to the potential of the game-engine. The first level, in which you fly past the Statue of Liberty and into the wrecked urban corridors of Manhattan, is easily the best, and even it seems to go on aimlessly near the end.

After that, you fly a ''virtual'' fighter through a computer landscape, to destroy a virus that threatens the attack mission. The real rush of the first level, the sense of flying through a real-world landscape, is obviously lost here. Flying around a circuitboard is too obviously artificial to provide the same rush. The third and fourth levels, in which you fight off aliens around a space station and take on the mother ship, are better. But...

They're just too easy. The first time I finished the second level, I proceeded to destroy the flagship and win the game. This after maybe five or six games, tops. A feeling of victory is great and all, and replaying the first level is still nominally interesting, but a $50 disc shouldn't be beaten so quickly. Ultimately, the best thing about Chaos Control may be that it could open designers' eyes to new kinds of games using the digital video cartridge. Instead of tacking video interruptions onto an otherwise boring game (e.g., Mutant Rampage), Chaos uses the fast-moving video to overcome the difficulty the CD-i would otherwise have animating so many objects and backgrounds. Aside from the obvious use in shooting and flying games, you have to wonder if there are camera crews shooting first-person perspectives for CD-i racing games, adventures, and other kinds of titles. Chaos is a good enough game in its own right, but it could be the start of something even better. (7/10)

[Thanks to Chris Adamson, Devin, Black Moon]

2 reacties:

Trev August 6, 2011 at 3:41 AM  

This was one of the games that made me want to buy a CD-i player back in the mid 90's. I regret selling my copy :(

666dkg June 20, 2016 at 9:51 AM  

I crushed these levels together with my mother she was a good gamer

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Games 0-F

3rd Degree - PF Magic
7th Guest, The - Philips Freeland Studios
Accelerator - SPC/Vision
Adventure of the Space Ship Beagle, The - Denshi Media Services
Affaire Morlov, L' - Titus
Alfapet - Adatek
Alice in Wonderland - Spinnaker
Alien Gate - SPC Vision
Alien Odyssee - Argonaut
Aliens Interactive CD-i - Dark Vision Interactive
Ange et le Demon, L' - Smart Move
Apprentice, The - SPC Vision
Apprentice 2, The - Marvin's Revenge - SPC Vision
Arcade Classics - Philips ADS / Namco
Asterix - Caesar’s Challenge - Infogrames
Atlantis - The Last Resort - PRL Redhill (Philips ADS)
Axis and Allies - CapDisc
Backgammon - CapDisc
Battle Chess - Accent Media (for Interplay)
Battleship - CapDisc
Big Bang Show - Infogrames
BMP Puzzle - Circle (for ZYX)
Brain Dead 13 - Readysoft
Burn:Cycle - Trip Media
Caesar's World of Boxing - Philips POV
Caesar's World of Gambling - CD-I Systems
Cartoon Academy - Bits Corporation
CD-i mit der Maus - SPC Vision
CD Shoot - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Change Angels Kick-off - HMO
Chaos Control - Infogrames
Christmas Country - Creative Media
Christmas Country - The Lost Levels - Creative Media
Christmas Crisis - DIMA
Clue - 3T Productions
Clue 2 - The mysteries continue - 3T Productions
Connect Four - CapDisc
Creature Shock - Argonaut (for Virgin)
Crime Patrol - CapDisc
Crow, The - Philips POV
Cyber Soldier Sharaku - Japan Interactive media
Dame was Loaded, The - Beam Software
Dark Castle - Philips POV
Dead End - Cryo
Defender of the Crown - Philips POV
Deja Vu - Icom Simulations
Deja Vu 2: Lost in Las Vegas - Icom Simulations
Demolition Man - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Demon Driver - Haiku Studios
Discworld - Teeny Weeny Games
Dimo's Quest - SPC Vision
Domino - Wigant Interactive Media
Down in the Dumps - Haiku Studios
Dragon's Lair - Superclub / INTL CDI
Dragon's Lair 2- Time Warp - Superclub / INTL CDI
Drug wars - Crime Patrol II - CapDisc
Dungeons & Dragons - PF Magic
Earth Command - Visionary Media
Effacer - CapDisc
Escape from Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Evidence - Microids
Falco & Donjon & The Sword of Inoxybur - BMi / Zephyr Studio
Family Games I - DIMA
Family Games II - Junk Food Jive - DIMA
Felix the Cat - Philips Sidewalk Studio
Flashback - Delphine/Tiertex (for US Gold)
Flinstones Wacky Inventions - Philips Funhouse
Fort Boyard: The Challenge - Microids
Frog Feast - Rastersoft

CD-i Games Index G-M

Go - CapDisc
Golden Oldies - SPC Vision
Golden Oldies II - SPC Vision
Golgo 13 - Japan Interactive Media
Great day at the races, A - CD-I Racing, Dove Films, Total Vision
Guignols de l'Info, Les - Canal+ Multimedia / INTL CDI
Heart of Darkness - Amazing Studio (for Virgin)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The - Philips Kaleidoscope
Holland Casino CD-i - HMO
Hotel Mario - Philips Fantasy Factory
Inca - Coktel Vision
Inca 2 - Coktel Vision
International Tennis Open - Infogrames
Jack Sprite vs. The Crimson Ghost - PF Magic
Jeopardy - Accent Media
Jigsaw - Novalogic
Joe Guard - DIMA
John Dark: Psychic Eye - CapDisc
Joker's Wild!, The - Accent Media
Joker's Wild Jr., The - Accent Media
Kether - Infogrames
Kingdom - The far reaches - CapDisc
Kingdom 2 - Shadoan - CapDisc
Labyrinth of Crete - Philips Funhouse
Laser Lords - Spinnaker
Last Bounty Hunter, The - CapDisc
Legend of the Fort - Microids
Lemmings - DMA Design / Psygnosis
Lettergreep - Wigant Interactive Media
Lingo - SPC Vision
Link - The faces of evil - Animation Magic
Lion King, The - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Litil Divil - Gremlin Graphics
Litil Divil 2: Limbo Years - Gremlin Graphics
Lords of the rising sun - Philips POV
Lost Eden - Cryo (for Virgin)
Lost Ride, The - Formula (Lost Boys)
Lucky Luke - The video game - SPC Vision
Mad Dog McCree - CapDisc
Mad Dog McCree II: The lost gold - CapDisc
Magic Eraser - Circle (for ZYX)
Mah-Jong - Japan Interactive Media
Making the Grade - 3T Productions
Man Before Man - Cryo
Marco Polo - Infogrames
Mario Takes America - CIGAM
Master Labyrinth - AVM AG/HQ
Mega Maze - CapDisc
Memory Works, The - Compact Disc Incorporated
Merlin's Apprentice - Philips Funhouse
Microcosm - Philips Freeland Studios
Micro Machines - Codemasters
Monty Python's Invasion from the Planet Skyron - Daedalus CD-i Productions
Mutant Rampage - Body Slam - Animation Magic
Myst - Sunsoft (for Cyan)
Mystic Midway - Rest in pieces - Philips POV
Mystic Midway 2 - Phantom Express - Philips POV

Compact Disc Interactive

Compact Disc Interactive

Games N-Z

Name that tune - Philips Fantasy Factory
New Day - Bits Corporation
NFL Hall of Fame Football - Philips POV
Othello - HMO
Pac Panic - Philips ADS / Namco
Palm Springs Open - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Pool - SPC Vision
Pinball - CapDisc
Plunderball - ISG Productions
Power Hitter - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Power Match - Two's Company
Pursue - BEPL
Pyramid Adventures - Compact Disc Incorporated
RAMRaid - PRL Redhill
Return To Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Riddle of the Maze, The - Fathom Pictures
Riqa - Bits Corporation
Rise of the Robots - Mirage Technologies
Sargon Chess - Spinnaker
Scotland Yard Interactive - AVM AG/HQ
Secret Mission - Microids
Secret Name of Ra, The
Shaolin's Road - Infogrames
Skate Dude - Viridis
Smurfen, De - De Telesmurf - Infogrames
Solar Crusade - Infogrames
Solitaire - BEPL
Space Ace - Superclub / INTL CDI
Space Ranger - Studio Interactive
Special Operations Squadron - SPC Vision
Sport Freaks - SPC Vision
Star Trek - Philips POV
Star Wars: Rebel Assault - LucasArts
Steel Machine - SPC Vision
Striker Pro - Rage
Strip Poker Live - Greenpig Production
Strip Poker Pro - Interactive Pictures
Super Fighter - The Super Fighter Team / C&E
Super Mario's Wacky Worlds - NovaLogic
Surf City - Philips Sidewalk Studios
Tangram - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Taco's Toyroom Troopers - Creative Media
Tankdoodle - Creative Media
Tetris - Philips POV
Tetsuo Gaiden - Creative Media
Text Tiles
Thieves' World - Electronic Arts
Tic-tac-toe - BEPL
Tox Runner - ISG Productions
Treasures of Oz - Philips Kaleidoscope
Ultra CD-i Soccer - Krisalis
Uncover featuring Tatjana - SPC Vision
Uninvited - Icom Simulations
Video Speedway - ISG Productions
Vinnie the Pinguin - Pandemonium Labs
Voyeur - Philips POV
Voyeur 2 - Philips POV
Whack-a-Bubble - Creative Media
What's it worth - Marshall Cavendish Multimedia / Spice
Who shot Johnny Rock? - CapDisc
Wordplay - BEPL
World Cup Golf - US Gold
Zaak Sam, De - Toneelschool NL
Zelda - The wand of Gamelon - Animation Magic
Zelda's Adventure - Viridis
Zenith - Radarsoft
Zombie Dinos From The Planet Zeltoid - Philips POV

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