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Carrier

 

  Carrier is another fairly low-key game for Sega’s beautiful greyish-white box.

  I first saw some previews of the game in one of the first Dreamcast magazines I bought- very early development shots and a snippet of game information.  Just enough to get me interested.  Then nothing. 

  I don’t think I ever saw anything more on it apart from maybe a note to say that it is still on it’s way.  And I’m pretty sure that I never read a review of it.  Then one day, after the Dreamcasts demise, I was browsing amongst the cheap games in my local GAME store when I came across it for £4.99.

  I remember looking at the game box thinking to myself, ‘Carrier, I’ve heard that name somewhere before’. After a short while I came to my senses and remembered.

  For those of you who absolutely no idea as to what Carrier is, it is a ‘Survival-Horror’ game like Resident Evil. 

  In my opinion it was quite a bold move from the companies involved to release a game like this, I originally read in a magazine that Sega were the minds behind the game- but the box says that ‘XICAT’ and ‘JALECO’ made the game with some help from THQ.  Oh well it doesn’t really matter.

Although there are a few games like this, Resident Evil has always dominated the genre, shunning the opposition aside.  This could be seen with Blue Stinger (on the Dreamcast), which, while good fun, didn’t really make much of an impression on the gaming world.

  Though perhaps Sega/Xicat realised that this genre of game was still open, with so few games in this category compared to the rest of the industry, that they could make some sort of impression.  And if the Dreamcast hadn’t died so prematurely they might just have done that.

  For the people who have played the Resident Evil games, you should know what to expect in the way of gameplay, as the control style is basically the same, but with a few extras thrown in.

  A quick summary of the story line is as follows:

  In the 21st Century all the world power has shifted to the countries in the Northern Hemisphere.  All the countries in the south face starvation and power failure and decide to fight back.  The northern powers joined together to form the NTA (Northern hemisphere Treaty Alliance) designed to fight back against the terrorists of the south.

  The NTA built an almighty aircraft carrier, their flagship, the Heimdal, which was able to launch devasting attacks on enemies from air and sea, whilst also having powerful cannons to fight off any air attacks on itself.

  The Heimdal is sent on a mission to an isolated island in the south pacific (enemy territory) to recover an ancient organism before the southern forces find it.

  One of the crew became paranoid showing symptoms of a new virus and was shot resisting arrest.  The organism was thought to be the cause of the virus and was placed under quarantine in the belly of the Heimdal.

  Two days travel from its homeport (in America) a report is sent that there has been an explosion in the engine room.  After that the Heimdal went silent, but remained on a slow steady course to America.

  The NTA sent out a small task force to determine what was happening.  But after landing on the ship, they too became silent.  So a team of two specialists (one of them being you, Jack Ingles) are sent in to find out what happened.

  Sounds kind of familiar doesn’t it?  Resident Evil anybody?

  However the game does differ from the Resident Evil games, in that your   teammates don’t all die from the beginning.  Instead the ship has gone haywire and it seems that transmissions cannot be made out of the ship to mainland America.

  Once on board you find that most of the crew has been transformed into these weird plant/zombie things and it is up to you to work out what happened. 

 

At time, it can be tough to know just who you are shooting.

 

Graphics:

 The graphics in the game are actually quite good- with some decent lighting effects in areas.  Though it may not seem as though they are good in comparison with the Resident Evil games at first- but you must take into account that this game is completely 3D.  Like Resident Evil: Code Veronica (Dreamcast and PS2) –which is the only Resident Evil game to be totally 3D. 

  Now many of you might be saying- ‘But hey Resident Evil was 3D, you run around in 3 dimensions’.  Well that’s not quite true.  The characters and zombies etc… and the moveable objects were 3D.  But the rooms and backgrounds are 2 Dimensional, a twisted 2D effect if you will, that makes it appear to be 3D.  But if you think about it- the cameras are all fixed to one position and do not move at all- which does essentially make the game what it is, but in Carrier and Code Veronica the camera moves, not all the time, but on occasion you’ll find the camera follow you for a bit or as you turn a corner it might turn as well.

  This does make the game a little bit more special it shows that the development team took extra care in creating the game, seeing as the attention to detail is quite high throughout the game. 

  Also the game utilises this new dimension.  Early on in the game you are given these special goggles that help you decipher if a crew member is infected, as it is part of your mission to evacuate all the ‘living’ members of the crew. When you put the goggles on you enter a first person perspective and can look around at the surrounding area and if you look at a human, it will tell you if you are safe or if you should start firing.  Whilst using the goggles you can take the time to actually look around you properly-something that you couldn’t do in the Resident Evil games apart from Code Veronica.

  The initial FMV effects are quite poor I would say- they look solid enough but the attention to detail is pathetic and they look like some cheap computer generated baddies from a kids television show.  Also the lip-sync is terrible- especially considering it is an FMV sequence. I think perhaps that they took the original Japanese version and just put American voices over, not bothering to correct it.

  This is kind of strange as the in game graphics that are used in most of the cut scenes aren’t at all bad, they may not be incredibly detailed- but it looks and feels better than the FMV effects.

  

Gameplay:

  The game control is exactly the same as the Resident Evil games.  You pull the R-Trigger to aim your weapon and press A to fire. Press L to change your target.  Holding down X runs, Y is a map button and B is your Goggles.   To equip/use items press start for the menu.

One thing that I prefer over the Resident Evil games is the aiming.  When you aim a small targeting icon appears on the enemy and by pressing up and down you can change the target area, this makes getting head shots incredibly easy and some people might think that this ruins the challenge of the game, but not all enemies have the same weak points.

  The special goggles that are given to you (I mentioned earlier) give the game that extra something to keep you interested.  When you enter a new corridor and you can hear something, I always put the goggles on to see what’s ahead.  Now some of you might say that this makes the game too easy, but when you put the goggles on they take a few seconds to actually turn on and on many occasions this has given the opportunity for a monster to get close enough to attack, before I realise that they are there. It can be quite scary when you’ve just put the goggles on and the area around you fades slowly into view, only to see an enemy right on top of you.

  It is a nice touch to the game as at one point you run into a room and there are two men fighting, one of them pushes the other over and turns to you screaming “Help that monster’s going to kill me”.  Then the other man will get up and shout “Hey don’t listen to it kid, get it”.  Now you can either shoot both of them and ask questions later, or shoot one of them and find out which one is which that way or you can whip your goggles on and see which one is safe, if any.

  The goggles show everything in reds and greens, so you can’t see perfectly clearly around you and they can see through certain objects, some plants for example.  They can also detect objects in lockers or behind boxes, which can be handy when searching a room for ammunition.  Plus they can be used to look at things that are invisible…

  

You can check to see which people are still safe.

 

Presentation:

   The sounds in the game are pretty good- with the typical eerie background music and sound effects that make wonder what could be behind the corner, is it a large monster? or a flock of seagulls? Only to find out that it’s a broken light ‘fizzing’ as the electricity tries to pump its way through the system.

  Some of the gun sound effects are a bit too toned down.  The pistol doesn’t sound loud enough, more of a pathetic ‘put, put’ sound as you fire.  Not the loud ‘cracking’ sound you might hear in some games, oh I don’t know say {hmm} Resident Evil.  But other than that the sound effects are just as good as the Resident Evil games.  Your footsteps change as you move onto different surfaces and the monsters have the typical, yet good, scary growling sounds

 

Replay Value?

   To be perfectly honest I have not completed this game yet.  I am (I think) quite far into the game and I have to say I’m enjoying it immensely. The story line is pretty obvious as it progresses and though it’s not quite as catching as the Resident Evil games it is entertaining.

  So far the puzzles aren’t quite as obscure as some of the Resident Evil ones and the game overall is slightly easier. So if you haven’t played a Resident Evil game, or find them too hard, you could try giving this game a go first.

  I don’t know if there are any extras after completing the game, so it is hard to say if the replay value is high or not.  But I can definitely see myself playing this game in the future.

 

Wow, this looks quite a bit like another survival horror game.

 

Worth Buying Now?

 If you can find it for as little as I did then yeah.  I would gladly spend £25 on this game maybe a bit more, but possibly not the full price.  And though it is a good game and quite a good competitor to the Resident Evil games, if you don’t own Resident Evil Code Veronica then I would get that first because it is a superior game.

 

Summary:

    Overall a good game, can’t really fault it on much, apart from some of the bad acting and poor scripts- though no way near as bad as the original Resident Evil on the Playstation, Saturn and PC.

 If you like Resident Evil games then give this one a try.

 

Graphics: 8

Gameplay: 9

Presentation: 8

Replay Value: 6

Worth Buying Now? 8

Overall: 8

~G~