You are Zurkez, a genetically altered child with claws for hands. You have escaped the cloning research facility and now you are on the run from the guards, trying to survive against insurmountable odds, trying to find out who you are and your place in the world. Perished: The Zurkez Project is brought to us by MDI (Modern Day Industries) an Australian indie games development company. A melee only stealth-orientated 3D game, you use your tactics and reflexes to get the better of the enemy and survive long enough to unlock the mystery behind your character.
The story is split into four missions, or chapters: Forest – where you have to simply get to the other side; Underground – find a switch to open a door to get into the facility; Facility – find the plans to help you escape and find out who you really are, and finally the Town – sneak through and locate the dynamite. The sneak aspect is what rules the day here, none of this gung-ho, guns blazing stuff. It’s just you and your claws – and that’s about as good at it gets, unfortunately.
After installing, my first thoughts were: okay story, let’s see what we have here. Second thoughts: urrgg, don’t like the look of the menu system. Third: what the hell? (at the game intro) Fourth: ….? Fifth, sixth and seventh were not worth printing, and the eighth involved looking out of my window and grumbling about the weather. It’s honestly that bad.
The game has been developed using the Torque 3D engine, which, if you’re not familiar, is a third party game creation platform, complete with the necessary tools to allow you to publish a game without a prior knowledge of coding or games development. Perished: The Zurkez Project looks and feels like it has been thrown together, using the Torque default tools and a hand-full of clip-art images, mixed with the basic game scripts that cater for collision detection and movement.
The graphics are basic at best, the likes of which I haven’t seen on the PC since the early nineties. The landscape is a very bland polygon affair, the foliage and other items are crudely drawn. The sound can only be described as random noises – a grunt when you kill someone or machine gun fire! The controls make your first person view fly across the screen so rapidly that after a few minutes you begin to feel sea sick.
You character is odd to say the least; an equally badly drawn child with wolverine/Freddy Krueger/Edward Scissor Hands claws whose only method of attack is to mash away at the mouse button whilst hoping the guards, who are armed with ranged weapons, don’t spot you. There is a multiplayer option available, but when it’s a struggle to even bring yourself to continue beyond the end of the first single player level, it’s hardly an appealing alternative. I’m really am at a loss for words, which is a first for me!
I’m not against the use of a third party game engine, there have always been game creation platforms out there, ever since GAC for the ZX Spectrum, and there’s nothing wrong with them. Many of the best PC games ever have used a third party engine of some sorts – Doom/Quake, Unreal, Gamebryo etc. But there has to be a competent level of programming to start with. This is, in my opinion, where the problems begin with the likes of Zurkez. Use the engine by all means, but learn some high-level programming as well to compensate for what the add-ons can’t accomplish.
I suppose if you unleash a game into the wild then, by doing so, you are going to receive criticism from all corners, but that’s how you learn. Hopefully, MDI have learned a valuable lesson here. I imagine this game would have been better as a 2D scroller, still using the stealth approach – something like Saboteur that came out for the Spectrum perhaps?
All I can say is please do not buy this, it’s only a couple of quid, but buy some sweets instead or something. Zurkez is a hideously diabolical game. The game play is a word I will not use here, suffice to say it is truly terrible in every aspect, especially when you consider that there are much better produced 3D games out there that are not only multi-platform, multiplayer and visually better, but are also free!
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