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    Published on 10/28/00

    From what appeared to be a game offering more of the same third-person action like Ritual Entertainment's Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K. 2 and Surreal Software's Drakan: Order of the Flame, a whole new twist in the story and gameplay is made. Human Head Studios has found a way to show that resurrecting this genre of so-so games is still possible. Rune combines Viking mythology with action/role-playing hybrid elements to produce one fine game. Ragnarok is the hero destined to save the world from an evil Viking warlord sworn to gain the power of the Gods. Based upon the Unreal Tournament engine, Rune's sound, performance, and visual effects are spectacular. However, no game is perfect.

    Rune begins with a slow cinematic revolving around the center of a Viking town. The legend of the Gods' balance of power is represented along with Ragnar's promotion. Rune does not present itself strongly in the first ten minutes - which is the most important period of the game. The gamer briefly controls Ragnarok after a five minute cinematic to fight his master in the longhouse to assure his promotion. Then, another length cinematic showing the beginning of the problem in the game is revealed. Little motivation and inspiration is instilled in the weak beginning to play Rune afterwards.

    The Unreal Tournament is represented extremely well in Rune with its dismal, ancient-looking colors. Ragnar and other characters are very detailed, and environments are realistic. The water looks smooth, trees move when hit, and the fire effects are quite impressive. Character models have free-moving clothing, smooth movement, and the perspective brings them alive. Also the Runepowers, an ability given by one of the Viking gods, are extraordinarily beautiful. All in all, Rune's graphics are top-notch, but gameplay fleshes out this game to its full potential.

    What is most intriguing in Rune is the Viking mythology. Human Head Studios has done their research and documentation about the period Rune occurs in. This strengthens the plot as a result. Ragnar's character, the Gods, and other notable areas seem more realistic, and it shows that the level designers, artists, and programmers have a great sense of what Viking towns, clothing, and character were like. Rune's strongest point is its background - the history is rich and the plot and environments are fleshed out wonderfully.

    Third-person perspective games have the reputation for being tough to control. However, Rune is an exception, because it does not require sensitive control. Ragnar is easy to control with its straightforward control throughout the gameplay. The camera is extremely intelligent knowing where walls are and making Ragnar's body transparent in order to see what is ahead. The control interface is also simplistic showing the health and oxygen gauges with some other features necessary to know. Human Head did a great job making Rune an easy game to learn how to play.

    Author:
    Kevin 'Exodus' Weinberg

    Type:
    Third-Person Action

    Developer:
    Human Head Studios

    Publisher:
    Gathering of Developers

    Requirements:
    To Be Announced

    Expected Release:
    October 2000

    Multiplayer:
    Yes

    Category:

    Keyword(s):

     
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