Loaded (Gremlin) Review | Mean Machines Sega - Everygamegoing

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Loaded
By Interplay
Sega Saturn (EU Version)

 
Published in Mean Machines Sega #45

Loaded

This is the future of prisons as we may well know it. Slopping out, the exercise yard, visiting hours, none of this in the space age mate. You see, this prison holds some of the most vicious criminals in the galaxy. These people don't value any life form whatsoever, and would do the most awful things at the blink of an eye. It was the prison that everyone looked up to. Run with clockwork-like efficiency, no-one had a hope of escaping.

That all changed, however, when F.U.B. aka Fat Ugly Boy (not a joke) because the head warden. How he managed to obtain such a lofty position is unknown, but it's a strange coincidence that his main rivals for the job suddenly died just around "employment" time. Now that F.U.B. is in the position he so badly wanted, it appears that he has hatched some form of master plan (Daaaa dada dum!) to build a machine to open gateways to other dimensions!

In fact, he has been tweaking the fabric of the universe, meaning he can also manipulate terrain, resulting in his idea to hold planets, solar systems and maybe even complete galaxies... to ransom. All this has been made much easier by the fact that the only people who could have stopped him, are in fact already locked up. F.U.B. has bizarrely left all of the keys lying about in the levels in a bid to coax the prisoners into escaping... and hopefully dying in the process.

Origin

Appeared on the Playstation to much critical acclaim at the beginning of this year. The Saturn conversion was a mere formality.

Game Aim

You are a prisoner in the high security penal colony on the planet Raulf. You must escape the prison and kill F.U.B.

If Your Name's Not Down

Loaded features six of the most bizarre characters you're likely to find in any computer game this side of the galaxy. In fact, they are so bizarre that we've decided to let you get to know them. Tonight, Matthew, I'm going to be...

  1. Cap'N Hands
    He is one of the most feared and despised Cirates in the whole galaxy, and the only human part of his body is his head, which is pretty demented anyway. The rest of his body is an old Cyborg design from some 200 years ago, but he likes it so much that he chose not to upgrade when the new models arrived.

    Another reason for this is the various tattoo style arrangements he has adorning the metal shell. Many a night he spent, telling his fellow inmates how he acquired them. The most told story is about the 'Dancing Bare Lady' design, but only his closest friends and those about to suffer a horrible death by his hands get to see it.
  2. Fwank
    There had to be one in the team, and Fwank is it. He is the resident psychotic. He basically doesn't give a toss about any of his fellow humans, seeing them as expendable toys for his amusement. He has the mental age of a six year old, and the body of a steroid-eating wilderbeast who doesn't shower.

    His only source for care is his teddy bear Percy. His true identity remains a mystery, down to the fact he wears a used paper bag over his head. The subject of his true persona is more talked about than the identity of the late Kendo Nagasaki (ask your dad!).
  3. Bounca
    This guy is one of the most travelled people in the galaxy. Some of the things he has experienced would turn even the most die-hard explorers green. But all of these 'wonders' fly completely over his head as the only thing he is remotely concerned about is "Slapping some innocent geeza about a bit".

    You may as well have sent a baboon around the galaxy and then questioned it. It'll probably make more sense and you certainly won't run the risk of having your intestines blown out for asking. To say the bloke was a little thick would be like calling anorexics a bit thin.
  4. Butch
    Butch just happens to be the nuttiest cross dresser still at large in the galaxy. Apparently, he doesn't wear the clothes by choice, he just grabs the first garment that becomes readily available to him. This, by some strange quirk, always happens to be a lady's garment. This perhaps wouldn't be too frownworthy, were it not for the fact that he is actually a bloodthirsty skinhead. So, if anyone feels unable to contain their jibes in his presence... well, let's just say that they won't be laughing for much longer.

    His flame-thrower has been named The Flaming Queen, due to the fact that when it's sparked and burning, it sounds lke it's barking. Allegedly.
  5. Mamma
    Mamma is a prat. Plain and simple. Left abandoned at the busiest space port in the galaxy, he was brought up with no National Curriculum, manners or morals as we might recognise them. So he fumbles his way through his day to day life, with the vocabulary of a deaf and dumb amoeba. In fact, the only word he knows is "Mamma". One thing is known about his parents, however - his mother was good friends ith a large apelike creature.

    The RSPCA have since been notified and are taking their investigation very seriously. One thing's for sure - he's a weird geezer.
  6. Vox
    Vox is a very sleek customer indeed - rumours abound she can kill with a single word (most of which are sadly unprintable here).

    In some elite quarters, she is known as 'The Siren' because of her sumptuous good looks. And he response to this nickname? "Do I look like a flashing blue light?"

    Her melting Hail Flail was developed by her and a sect known as the Gabbist Monks, who undertook the vow of never staying silent for more than a second, and who are the self-proclaimed lords of amplification. The device channels sound to boom mikes strapped to her visor.

Psycho's Back!

What sort of rooms would you expect to find in a prison these days? If recent reports are anything to go by, pool halls, TV lounges and jacuzzi/sauna areas are probably the closest thing you get to cells, but in futuristic land, we'll have none of that. Padded cells are more commonplace, complete with straight-jacket wearing inhabitants. So if being attacked by people without the use of their arms is your idea of a good laugh, then look no further than Loaded for the ultimate in Psycho gaming experiences.

Locksmiths 'R' Us

Beneath all the carnage and destruction is a brief task linked to your exiting the current level. Most of the time this requires locating and collecting the four coloured pass keys that open each of the doors.

It's these keys which allow access to the representative coloured sections. And do you know what the good thing is? The keys are usually located in the darkest depths of each section, so you end up wading through the whole of the levels. Still, at least you get to maim a few more zombie-type blokes.

Did You Spill My Pint?

Each of the six characters is equipped with a special attack that acts as a smart bomb, clearing the screen of all the enemies. Some of these are the standard explosive action you may have seen in similar versions of other shoot-'em-ups, but others are very much unique to this game. Take, for example, Mamma's Ripple Grenade, that makes the whole floor rock, wave style.

NME's

The psychos aren't the only ones whose primary objective is to rid the prison of your good selves. Here are a couple (and only a couple) of the other enemies you're likely to encounter on your travels:

  1. Blue Guards
    They appear early on, and are pretty weak really. Get slightly stronger in some of the later levels.
  2. Dark Zombies
    Another weak opponent, these shouldn't provide any hassles as they can be dispatched quickly.
  3. Light Zombies
    Now these are bloody annoying, and tough to kill. Kind of like the Stars in Their Eyes of zombies.
  4. Rats
    Aaaahhhhh! These are so annoying it's untrue. Hard to shoot due to their speed and agility.
  5. Laser Guards
    They stay still most of the time, but couple that with a powerful weapon. An average enemy.
  6. Army Prisoners
    These fellas also show up early on in the game, but don't provide much of a challenge. Easy to kill.

Steve

A bit of gratuitous violence whisked in with loads of shooting action and a splattering of blood sounds like a recipe for success in my book. And this game delivers in every respect.

The ony problem is that I think I'm turning into some form of bloodthirsty crazed psychopath. *I need more*, heh, heh.

Ahem, excuse me. The game doesn't start at a leisurely stroll - it's more of a hundred metre sprint because you're thrown straight into the deep end. The main argument from people who dislike this is that walking along and shooting a bit is far too repetitive.

But that is what made me play this so much. The fun I had from splattering people all over the tarmac was immense, and just encouraged me to do it some more, and get further and further into the game.

What is also noticeable is that the tunes suit the atmosphere the game aims to create down to a tee. Rock 'ard pumping tracks, etc.

I cannot stress how much I like this game, and I think the only thing that fairly sums it up, is purchase now for the blood party, shooting frenzy of your life. Or something.

Marcus

This is just the sort of mindless, violent, frenzy-inducing video game filth that gives people like us a bad name. And I love it.

Perhaps best described as an overhead version of Doom, Loaded manages to be even gorier, with some very impressive graphics working in perfect, er, harmony with some of the best sound effects I've ever heard in a game.

The lighting effects work in subtle ways that you initially don't register, but which ultimately contribute to a genuinely dank and gloomy atmosphere. Even the substitution of a fine mesh effect for the smoky transparencies works pretty well, and the game is refreshingly free of the slow-down the Playstation version suffered when things got frantic.

Yeah, it's a bit repetitive, yeah there's not much variation in gameplay, but the buzz you get from blasting away in the most politically incorrect game yet far outweighed any doubts I was harbouring. Loaded rocks.

Verdict

Graphics 94%
P. The Saturn pulls off all of the light tricks, whilst the game creates the perfect atmosphere. The smart bombs are superbly done.

Animation 90%
P. The rendered bits on the character select screen look good.
N. But the in-game animation doesn't seem as polished as it could be.

Music 93%
P. Pumping tunes, including two tracks from Pop Will Eat Itself, are the order of the day. Most excellent.

Effects 93%
P. The squelches are awesome. And the other little effects like moving doors and gunfire are good.

Playability 92%
P. So much to shoot. Mass murder ahoy!
N. Maybe too repetitive. No real variation on the levels.

Lastability 93%
P. If you restrain from using the easy settings (They're still hard!), this is mega tough.

Overall 93%
Gremlin come up trumps with an excellent conversion. Shoot, shoot and shoot some more! Blasting fun at its very best.