Blast Annual7th July 2020
Published in Blast Annual 2020 Volume 1
Black Dawn Rebirth
Black Dawn Rebirth is a dungeon crawler game with RPG elements set in a futuristic sci-fi/horror environment. The backstory to the game is that you are on a routine mission to investigate a planetary base currently experiencing a communications blackout. All seems normal at the base on the outside but something doesn't feel right on the inside as you go into the base complex to investigate further.
Black Dawn Rebirth is the seventh episode of the Black Dawn series, with primary coding duties being handled by Shaun Watters, one of the authors involved with the original Black Dawn series.
Rebirth is a large game that features 22 levels spread across seven towers. You have 14 different weapons to locate and use upon 21 different types of enemies. The first thing that impresses is the gorgeous introductory cut scenes showing your character flying down on to the planetary base setting the scene for what lies ahead.
The title music track, by Mike Richmond, doesn't disappoint as you take in the high fidelity of the atmospheric tune, immersing you in the action ahead of you. It's such a pity that similar backing music does not feature during the actual gameplay as, outside of combating enemies, the only thing you will hear is the distant droning sound of machinery.
Your initial time with the game will be spent locating storage lockers whereby you can pick up useful items such as first aid packs, access cards and weapons. As you start to explore the base corridors, it is easy to lose your orientation as there are only a few different wall panel types through each of the levels, so drawing your own map layout to keep track of your progress will be a useful strategy until you locate the electronic map on Level 2.
The enemy characters within the game are large and very well drawn, highlighting the graphical talents of Tenshu, and to some extent are successful in covering up for the lack of animation within the game. Perhaps the lack of animation and variation of corridor levels within each level would be the game's weakest points on what would otherwise be a masterpiece of a game.
The overall pacing of Black Dawn Rebirth is spot on for the casual gamer. At no time are you rushed through the game. If you needed to pause to catch your bearings, you could do so without fearing that something is going to sneak up behind you. The puzzles within the game are logical and at times you will kick yourself when you spend way too much time locating an access card or weapon that was in plain sight from the beginning. It is a testament to the current coding scene that games like Black Dawn Rebirth are still produced.
The overall production on offer is high and you can tell that, for Shaun Watters, this is very much a passion project. If you enjoy dungeon crawler type games then you will have a great time with Black Dawn Rebirth.