A little more than a week ago, some old disagreements surfaced between John Romero and Mike Wilson, most known for the 2000 FPS Daikatana, commonly known as one of the biggest failures in gaming history. The argument itself is uninteresting, but there’s usually a few people sticking up and claiming that Daikatana wasn’t that bad a game, it was just late and overhyped. Other than that, it was okay, really. Always a sucker for punishment, I immediately tracked down a used copy of the N64 version on ebay so I could make up my own mind.

I read the over-dramatized biography “Masters of Doom” a while back, as I didn’t follow the FPS scene in the 90’s this book is my premier insight into the mind of John Romero and the company he created. Of course this was way back when but my image of Ion Storm was only reaffirmed by playing Daikatana; it seems most of this game was created by some out-of-control dreamers who just threw a bunch of concepts they liked together hoping that the perceived coolness would rub off.

I don’t agree that this game is “okay”. The level design is basically the same as Doom 1 from start to finish with small graphical differences, the enemies are laughable and the story is even less coherent than the already low standards of the time. While it’s nice to see a big variation in themed weapons, most of them are pointless and just clutter up an already confusing GUI. Sure, it’s pretty old, and I played it on an N64 without memory expansion so even though I want to complain about the presentation it seems a little too unfair. Heck, from what I’ve seen from the PC screenshots the levels look quite different from the N64 version. I don’t think it would be correct to say that the game “had potential” though, since the entire direction the game took seems off to me and you’d have to have a very broad definition of “potential” to say it.

… To be honest, though, finding this out for myself was worth the small effort getting and completing the game cost me.

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Posted on Jan 29/08 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »