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Rune Review

publisher: Gathering
developer: Human Head Studios
genre: Action Adventure

PII or AMD K6-2, 64MB RAM, 8MB video card
ESRB rating: M

release date: Oct 29, 00
» All About Rune on ActionTrip

Boy, reviews on Rune have been popping up faster than those annoying pop up windows on your favorite porn site, and judging from some of the stuff that has been written, the game has got rather a mixed response from the online press. I have just finished playing the game, and my head is still buzzing from all the carnage and shiny surfaces. I have finished the entire game in two days flat, but don't let that fool you. There is plenty of gameplay in Rune to go around. And finishing the game in two days is a good thing; it means I got sucked in and wouldn't let go, which is a great thing, especially if you're one of the authors over at Human Head Studios, who have been obviously working their asses off on Rune. Hats off to ya, fellas! The game has its fair share of bugs, but I account that problem to the fact that publishers usually more resemble slavers than jolly gaming enthusiasts. It draws its basic gameplay concept from Tomb Raider, but it offers much more gameplay value, along with one of the prettiest graphics I have seen in a long time. FAKK2 -- I did a review of that one as well; hmm... all I can honestly say is: Get back Julie (the same goes for the Quake 3 engine)! Talk about gorgeous open environments, grandiose scenes, and pretty models!

The Rune's got it all covered! It's pretty hard to describe vividly some of the maps, but I think this is by far the best modification of the Unreal engine I have ever seen. Anybody who claims different is plain stripped of any artistic or aesthetic touch, and considers bell-bottoms and Afros 'cool fashion accessories.' The sense of grandeur, the quintessential adventure setting consisting of diverse and dynamic environments just tops anything I have seen in any action adventure game to date. The water and lava textures are still the best I've seen. It might sound like a superficial praise from a doped-out game editor, but it's not. I guess the only way to find out if there's any truth to what I'm saying is to play the game. And I assure you, you'll find the environments just as spectacular as I did.

You know, there's two ways of doing this review. I can act like a 'nitpicking professional,' and start ripping the game apart poly by poly -- finding flaws in the AI, complaining about bugs, telling you that certain parts of the game are a bit off with the dynamics, but I won't do that! By God, I am a professional, I do this shit for living, but I'm also a freaking enthusiast! And guess what -- I'd buy this game and play it even with the bugs and even if I didn't have to write a review on it! With this in mind, I'll try not to poke at Rune's entrails too much, and kinda write a review I'd like to read if I were a casual gamer. (BTW Rune patch is now out, which fixes most of the scripting problems, AI glitches, and sound bugs I've encountered in the game. Some game design bugs are still present though, even after the patch.)

Generally speaking, Rune can be considered a classic epic/action adventure set in the world of the mythic Norse Legends. The game features a archetypal epic plot - take a mythic hero, make him a champion of the good God, and make him go up against the bad guy who's under control of the evil God. Much like Hercules (Zeus' half-son), Ragnar is to battle the bloodthirsty subject of Loki, Conrack, and his armies with the Devine help of the good God, Odin. Our hero arises from the depths of hell and travels across the snowy hills of Midgard to seek revenge for the death of his father, and save the world from Ragnarok by keeping away Loki from the ancient stones, or Runes. Ragnar belongs to the era of the Vikings -- their mythic stories tell tales of good Gods and evil Gods, of heroes and villains. Pagan beliefs represent the world as a perpetual struggle between good and evil, and they know of many Gods none of which are all forgiving like the Christian God. Pagans used to believe in the spirits of trees, and objects they would find in nature, and they used to represent Gods with human weaknesses. Gods are stupid and vain, and even the good Gods carry out acts of petty vengeance. Our hero, Ragnar is a tool in the hands of Odin fighting against Loki's attempt to swarm all nine worlds with his armies of the dead (Ragnarok). He also seeks revenge for the death of his father who died by the hands of evil Conrack.

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8.9   Very Good

Welcome to Midgard, Viking!

Needed more play testing.


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