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Score: 65%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Codemasters
Developer: K-D Labs
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 6 (Online)
Genre: Real-Time Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

With a name like Maelstrom, you should expect a story of near Biblical proportions. You should expect a deep and tumultuous story of constant and compounding issues. If you you look it up in the dictionary, you might even expect a dangerous whirlpool off the coast of Norway. You would be sadly mistaken on all accounts, however.

The graphics are up to par, and the modeling is promising. The animations, especially those of the hero characters, were substandard at best. The camera obstructions were absolutely frustrating in quite a few places. The look of the troop movement and the characters made the game feel very old.

The voiceovers in the game were uninspired and poorly arranged. The sound effects were not bad when they were actually there, but they were not anything special either. Many places where you would expect to hear sound, you got nothing.


Maelstrom is brought to you by the same people who created Perimeter. And, with a pedigree like that it was disappointing to play this title. The game begins slowly in standard tutorialized first missions. Throughout the game, you will play the roles of three different factions: The Remnants, the Ascension and the Hai-Genti. Each faction will have its own set of up to three resources you have to secure. Each faction will also have its heroes. Each hero has a special ability unique to them. Use them wisely to succeed. Who am I kidding - they really don't make much difference in the game. Besides, if they die, your mission is over.

The Remnants are the last of the straggling survivors of humanity, fighting the Ascension for control. The elitist corporation once known as Ascension Incorporated, seeks to gain control in the aftermath known as the Maelstrom. Soon the earth is discovered by an alien race, the Hai-Genti, who seek their own survival out of the chaos, after leaving their dying home world. Both the Ascension and the Hai-Genti have the ability to terraform their landscape, making for some interesting play.

Online play actually features some good maps and interesting play with three factions that play very distinctively different.


You cannot change the difficulty in Maelstrom with a selector or slider. Unfortunately, the difficulty comes from units not following your commands and spending their time running around trying to find a place to stand. You will get killed wasting time trying to find a camera angle that you can stand and be able to see all of your troops. Other than that, you spend your time like any other RTS, collecting resources and manufacturing as many troops as you can support so you can outman your enemies. Other than that, there are the Tourette's-inspired dialogue animations to look forward to. You could try and play in First Person mode the entire time.

Game Mechanics:

Maelstrom has included the "first-person" take-over mode. And, as in many other titles, this is a travesty. Because the buildings are static meshes, you cannot walk through them or over rubble that should be easily traversable. This is made worse by a bad perspective that doesn't show the player enough information to be able to tell where they can and cannot walk. When it comes to A.I. path-finding, I understand why they wouldn't try to walk through debris, but under human control, you should be able to go over a lot more than you are able to. And, back to A.I. path-finding, you will find your units spending most of their time not having a clue where they stand. This causes the swarming bees look of units constantly buzzing around each other.

I expected a lot from this game given the amount of time they have been working on it since we first saw the demo. I also expected a lot from the name as well. This to be said lastly about that. You can't get a home run with every swing. This is one small hiccup in an otherwise good game line-up. Keep up the hard work.

-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

Minimum System Requirements:

Minimum System: Pentium 4 2.0 GHz or Athlon XP 2000+ or equivalent, RAM: 512 MB, Video Memory: 128 MB, Hard Drive Space: 2000 MB

Recommended System: Pentium 4 at 3.0 GHz or Athlon XP 2800+ or equivalent, RAM: 1024 MB, Hard Drive Space: 2000 MB Other: Graphics Card: GeForce 7800 or Radeon X1800


Test System:

Windows XP Pro, 3.2 GHz P4HT CPU, 2 GB Ram, 512 PCIE 16 ATI X1600XT

Microsoft Xbox 360 Dance Dance Revolution Universe Nintendo DS Meteos: Disney Magic

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated