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The Ward Review
developer: Fragile Bits
P133, 16MB RAM, 200MB HDD
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Jan 22, 01
|» All About The Ward on ActionTrip|
Wow, there goes another one! It seems as though we're in for an adventure landslide! Well, we waited for this one long enough (and the developers even more) as the Croatian based Fragile Bits started developing The Ward some three years ago. This small group of six adventurers decided to stick to some old adventure game standards... starting with the Blade Runner-like world and atmosphere. Except, that the world of the Ward may be even worse... for humanity ...
You are David Walker, one of the astronauts on the Apollo 16 space station. One perfectly ordinary day, just when you were about to test the Moon's seismic activity, SOMETHING happened. You have no idea what it might have been, you didn't see a thing, but it sure wasn't harmless as it killed everyone in your crew, except you, of course. Why, what and how? A lot of questions with no answers... Well, at least you have no answers... So, you embark on a quest you must not loose, for if you do the Earth and whole humanity would be destroyed (fancy that)!
This less than innovative story introduces a game that will let you remember all the wonderful 2D adventures from the old days. Can you reach back to the time when computer games strived to use all the benefits of the advanced VGA technology with all those digitized characters being used for sprites? Well The Ward looks exactly like one of those games. Just imagine you fell asleep while playing Martian Memorandum, and woke up in 2001. There is no difference. As I am, in a way fond of this period in the gaming industry, I found it quite interesting to see the same thing once more, in a slightly higher resolution. Most players will, on the other hand, soon realize that not all is as perfect as it seems...
As soon as you get to move your hero, you'll notice that the job has not been done too well, and you'll see the same bugs that bothered the old games a couple of years ago. You'll notice that Walker moves in a funny way, that he cannot rotate freely, and that he has those ridiculous 'Michael Jackson' moonwalking moves, and that his motion altogether looks pathetic, and that he casts no shadow. When he comes closer to the screen you'll se that his textures also look awful, which makes his face look blurred and ugly.
Still, when you see how the rest of the characters move, you'll figure out, that he had been given most attention... The rest of the mobile objects and characters have a ridiculously small number of frames and details. It seemed as though the graphics artists simply didn't feel like doing the entire thing, so they just scribbled something to get the job done as soon as possible. Most of the characters don't move in a conventional way at all (probably because that might require too many frames of animation), they teleport around. I mean it looks a bit stupid having a bunch of folks just standing around and then when anyone wants to move a small portal arrears in front of him and BZZZZZZZ, he disintegrates, and the portal closes...
A classical Blade-Runner-like adventure, music;