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Thread: A/X-101

  1. #1
    Blast processor Melf's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    Cabo Rojo, PR
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    Thumbs down A/X-101

    On-rails FMV shooters pop up every now and then, but the only difference between them is usually the quality of the video. As consoles progess in power and features, this particular genre never really seems to go anywhere. Perhaps that's why they're still not a lot of fun to play, even after so many years. Take Absolute Entertainment's A/X-101 for the Sega CD, for instance. Grainy video, dull enemies, and some bland gameplay are everything you'd expect going in, and at least in this regard, the game doesn't disappoint. Too bad that's the only expectation it will ever meet. Read our full review and then go play some Android Assault to make the hurt go away.

  2. #2
    Hero of Algol kool kitty89's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
    San Jose, CA
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    I just discovered this game after taking a look at RDF: Global Conflict, and noticing some of Absolute's other games.

    Honestly, I've got to disagree with a big chunk of the review's comments. The story may be simple, but honestly I don't see a problem with it compared to contemporary games (Soul Star, Novastorm, Star Fox, Stellar Fire, or Silpheed didn't have stellar plots by comparison -maybe better, but not by a huge margin IMO . . . and leaving a lot up to the player in any case -unless you count the Star Fox promo comic ).

    The animation is what it is . . . and IMO probably one of the better cases for early 90s CGI (sci-fi setting without trying to use "realistic" human models either), though the video quality isn't great by Sega CD standards (I'd argue it's better than RDF at least). The voice acting is also decent for the most part . . . actually I'd go as far to say that it's above average for a game with that much speech and character interaction in the cutscenes (and I'm pretty sure some of those actors went on to do bigger and better things since then -they sound familiar). The character interaction seems pretty decent too. (maybe rushed, but not bad for a game like this)
    The character acting is way better than the super lame voice acting in Starblade. (or Absolute's own RDF) It's definitely a shame they got the volume levels wrong for the speech though . . . any time music comes in it drowns things out.

    That said, the music is pretty kick ass in the cutscenes. It's all realtime synth, and quite possibly the best use of MD+MCD (FM/PSG/PCM) music synthesis on the system, and a Western game at that. They manage to have some pretty nice sounding FM instruments and a great complement of PCM for the most part. I assume part of the reason for that was to allow higher quality speech (dedicating streaming PCM to that) along with having cleaner sounding stereo music, too bad they screwed up the music volume. (from the speech that is clearly audible, it does sound pretty decent)

    However, the huge let down for me is once you get in game. The sound design absolutely RUINS this game single-handedly. The decent voices and characters (and so-so plot) along with awesome music of the cutscenes transitions into an annoying, grating, looping sampled engine sound that cuts out for certain other SFX (assuming streaming from program RAM), and NO in-game music or voice acting. It's almost like they tease you at times too, when some cool, punchy combat-appropriate score starts in a cutscene and continues into the game only to cut out a few seconds after the player takes control, like a nasty bait and switch. Seriously, if they'd just omitted that engine sound (the other streaming SFX work OK) and included some in-game music as kick-ass as the cutscenes, then I could certainly see my self getting pumped up enough to play this game.

    Sound design can really make a huge difference for a game's fun factor . . . quite a few relatively mediocre FMV titles could have been more fun if just for better music and/or speech/SFX (I'm thinking of some railshooters especially), but this one just depresses me since they obviously had a really neat realtime music driver already.
    Hell, there's plenty of other games that would be a lot weaker without their awesome soundtracks. (it can be just as important as overall presentation and graphical quality -if not more so at times)

    Aside from that, it's a typical reticle based FMV rail shooter, and I'd say slightly above average in that respect too (though I'd much rather that intro transition into a realtime game engine, especially one remotely close to Soul Star's engine . . . Silpheed managed it very well though, and Nova Storm wasn't bad either). Honestly, I'd probably like the gameplay more than Rebel Assault or Starblade if not for the sound issues. (. . . though I really don't have much interest in playing any of those for extended periods -Rebel Assault is good at times, but just horribly inconsistent and ugly as well -including PC/Mac/3DO)
    The intro story, animation, and voiceovers are decent enough to get me engaged in the game universe, and the music certainly pulls me in (conflict with speech hurts though), but in-game it falls apart mostly due to the sound design.

    6 days older than SEGA Genesis
    Quote Originally Posted by evilevoix View Post
    Dude it’s the bios that marries the 16 bit and the 8 bit that makes it 24 bit. If SNK released their double speed bios revision SNK would have had the world’s first 48 bit machine, IDK how you keep ignoring this.
    Quote Originally Posted by evilevoix View Post
    the PCE, that system has no extra silicone for music, how many resources are used to make music and it has less sprites than the MD on screen at once but a larger sprite area?

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