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If you loved Blood, you'll love..no, no, no, sorry - the developers over at Monolith Productions decided to jump to the "good" side (no pun intended). With the onslaught of real-time strategy games, 3D shooters, and flight sims, along comes a side-scrolling shooter that will warm your hearts and guide you on a journey the entire family can enjoy.
Captain Claw, as you may have guessed, is a swashbuckling pirate and cat. Not your everyday feline, Claw wields his sword with deadly grace and isn't afraid to toss a bit of dynamite at any Cocker Spaniards in his way. The adventure begins with Claw being captured and tossed into prison. After fighting his way out, Claw learns of the Amulet of Nine Lives and realizes that for a cat, this is essential. The quest begins to find the Amulets missing gems and slay a few bad dogs along the way.
Captain Claw's plot is delivered to the player, through over 20 minutes of cinematic-quality animated cut-scenes that would make the Disney crew drool. These scenes are absolutely, 100% pure entertainment and creates a plot worth fighting for. Fighting it is - Claw will punch, kick, shoot, and duel his way along 14 levels. These levels are each richly illustrated and take you through the towns, jungles, and even underwater caverns. There is plenty of action here to keep you busy.
Sound quality is equally amazing and not over-done as many previous side-scrollers. Ambient noises add to each different level and the music is just enough to fill in the moments when Claw himself isn't taunting his opponents. Many of the enemies have their own voices, complete with cute comments.
Unplug your new force feedback flightstick, the game is easily controlled using the keyboard or a simple 4-button game-pad. As you would expect there is an amazing amount of skill required to complete each level. Run, jump, grab the rope, leap to the cliff, duck the enemy bullets, fall three stories, and grab the ladder. You know the drill - but can you complete all these acrobatics with a sword in-hand and dynamite in your pocket? Each level offers various checkpoints to save the game, but fighting to the next goal can challenge the best Mario player.
The fourteen different levels each get progressively more difficult, but while Claw has plenty of weapons to beat the enemy, nothing can prepare you for the jumps. "Timing is everything." In this game, you must be able to jump, duck and grab at just the precise moments, if you are to find all the gems. I felt Captain Claw needed 9 lives to start the game (instead of 3) and have been searching for eternal youth. This game is difficult and while I never recommend cheating, I will make an exception here.
A few other enhancements push Claw over the top - multiplayer action and an upcoming level editor. Captain Claw supports 64-player games through the online gaming service ENGAGE (or Kali), but even some head-to-head modem races with a friend should be quite entertaining. Monolith has said, the level editor will be released on the website (www.captainclaw.com) soon and the custom levels will be everywhere. A visit to the website currently allows players to upload High Scores and compete on the Claw Ladder.
With gorgeous graphics and cutscenes, Captain Claw is a real treat for the whole family or any gamer wanting to play a modern side-scroller. This richly animated side-scrolling shooter is easy to learn, but tough enough to challenge even the best. Great level design, perfect animation, and all the treasure a cat could want.Written by Christopher McDonald
Click here for screenshots
Click here to download the demo
Modem, Serial link (2-players), LAN 64 players, Internet through ENGAGE.
Monolith Productions, Inc.,
P.O. Box 3268,
Kirkland, WA 98083.
Web site: Monolith Productions
Internet support: Monolith Productions Technical Support
Dedicated website: Captain Claw
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