Fast, seamless gameplay

By Peter Eley

O.D.T.

Psygnosis

PC $99.95

15+

OK, it's short for escape or die trying. But what does the title matter, anyway?

O.D.T. is a curious hybrid - a fast-paced 3D role-playing shoot-em-up, more like MDK (the crassly named Murder, Destroy, Kill) than Quake or Unreal, with some similarities with Diablo, too.

The plot is: you've crash-landed in the Forbidden Zone where you have to shoot lots of monsters in order to escape.

But as well as firearms, you have a selection of spells, courtesy of Solaar the
Magi, who just happened to be on the ship when it crashed.

As in Diablo, you can play as one of several characters - Solaar, Corporal Ike Hawkins, Lara Croft lookalike Julia Chase, or engineer Maxx Havok.

A bob each way all round really, but O.D.T. is saved by fast, seamless intuitive gameplay with high-level graphics on the right machine. It didn't support my accelerator card, but ran reasonably well in soft-ware mode.

You really have to suspend belief to get the most out of it, but once you do that it's fun enough and quite challenging with eight levels each with seven sectors.

There are several platform game elements in there, too - you get three lives, and have to do plenty of running and jumping across trap-ridden spaces to find weapons and power-ups.

As well as enhancing firepower, the power-ups also build up your character attributes - just like in Diablo - and you need to be strong enough to tackle the boss bad guy at the end of each level.

You can save only at defined points - where there's a green line on the floor or a sort of floating hole you climb into. When you lose a life, you restart from the last save point visited.

This can be annoying if you hit a tough part of the game as you can't save as soon as you've cracked it. If you lose a life a bit further down the track, you're forced to go through it all again.

Psygnosis have built a track record with PlayStation, and this influence comes through strongly in O.D.T. It has already received mediocre reviews on a console and is only a touch above average on the PC.

Required: Minimum P120 with 16mb ram, but p200 with a 3D card and 24mb ram recommended.

* Send your comments e-mail peter_eley@herald.co.nz

Pictured: Julia Chase.

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