Stargate won't transport you into action/adventure heaven, but its solid platform action has enough intriguing twists to launch you into orbit (even though it's identical to the Genesis version). This entertaining journey will snare your attention with exceptional graphics and relentless challenge.
Based on last year's hit flick, Stargate sets you up as Colonel Jack O'Neil, the leader of a squad of Marines that's exploring a planet on the other side of the universe. The game unfolds as a series of missions that send you jumping and shooting through various alien landscapes to achieve mission objectives. Eventually, you're embroiled in a complex scheme to save the locals and even Earth itself.
ProTip: In Ra's pyramid, find and shoot switches to open the force-field doors.
The details of the missions, such as locating local leaders and raiding the enemy's armory, draw you deeper into the absorbing story line. RPG- like conversations provide timely tips and plot info, adding depth to an engrossing story that involves you more than the action alone would.
But there's plenty of action to satisfy adrenaline junkies. Armed with a machine gun and a stash of grenades, you'll have a blast blazing through hordes of enemies. Enticing power-ups juice up the combat and the focus on fighting keeps the gameplay riveting. No tediously impossible jumps or obstacles drive you batty before you master them.
With four buttons to command O'Neil's broad range of moves, the responsive controls let you pitch grenades, crouch, run and shoot without a hitch, but the flaky jumps require practice. Even worse, the flaccid controls in the weak glider-flying missions hang you out to dry. Despite these flaws, the controls definitely improve on the finger-snarling setup of the Genesis version.
- When fighting Anubis, use your gun to make him teleport when he surprises you and when you can't reach him with grenades. If you trap him, quickly hit him with two grenades and dash to a different spot.
- Keep an eye out for elements in the background that you can climb; each mission has a new one.
- When flying the glider, wait for the icon that indicates enemies are approaching from behind. Fire a heat-seeking missile as soon as they appear, and you can often take out two with one shot.
- In Nagada, watch for the crescent-shaped patterns of cracks in the catwalks. They'll crumble underneath you.
O'Neil decisively steals the graphical show; wonderfully detailed animations imbue his sprite with striking realism. Well-illustrated backgrounds capture the atmosphere of an alien world, and, though the enemies are nicely animated, a broader array of foes would've energized the action.
Funky Arabian beats suitably accompany each level, but the insipid grunts and running noises do little to intensify the action. Regardless, with three difficulty levels and a seemingly unending lineup of missions and sub-missions, this game will send you happily into combat until your thumbs fall off.
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