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Bandits: Phoenix Rising

Score: 95%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Trisynergy
Developer: Pan Vision, Grin
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 20
Genre: Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:

High detail and crisp graphics, heavy metal music, main characters that will leave you laughing and a desire to blow up anything that moves... that is Bandits: Phoenix Rising in a nut shell.

The large landscapes and mountainous terrain are the perfect settings for the vehicular battles that make up Bandits, and the rich graphics are matched only by the quality of the music and sound effects.

As you race along the valleys and snowfields of the not-so-distant-future, a sarcastic sidekick and music that perfectly fits the game accompany you.


In Bandits: Phoenix Rising you and your gunner, Rewdalf, are members of the Wolfpack gang in a post-apocalyptic world where fuel, water and ammo are necessary to live. In every level of the game, you will find yourself in Twisted Metal or Mad Max like situations where it is you against everybody else, and all you have is your Badger vehicle (a small, fast and lightweight car that has several different types of weapons for hunting down enemy gangs) and Rewdalf.

As you move through each mission, your drive is accompanied by various comments from Rewdalf. He often comments on your driving abilities or your targeting skills, or more often than not, the lack thereof. Rewdalf also gives you in-mission objectives and updates so that you are not left guessing about what to do.

One of the aspects of the game that caught my attention was not even during the missions themselves. While the level is loading, Bandits treats you with a bit of general advice in everything from the best way to take out large groups of enemies, what to do if you can't figure out the next step in the missions, or how to survive being chased by a larger and more heavily armed enemy.


There are three difficulty settings in Bandits: Phoenix Rising: Easy, Medium and Hard. I found that in Medium, the mode which I played more times than not, it took me a couple of tries in each mission to get through by more than just the skin of my teeth. In Easy, I was generally able to get in and out with the mission completed and the baddies gone, and as far as the Hard setting, well lets just say that I spent a good bit of time avoiding enemies where it was feasible. Unfortunately, seeing as the game focuses on destroying as many members of the other gangs as possible, this was rarely a choice.

Game Mechanics:

The vehicular controls of Bandits: Phoenix Rising takes a little getting use to. You control the basic movement of the car through the arrow keys on your keyboard, while at the same time, you pivot the turret gun with the mouse. What takes getting used to, you ask? Bandits uses a 'you-go-where-you-look' system. Basically your vehicle wants to line up with the turret, which it does by turning the car as you drive. This means it is impossible to move forward while shooting behind you with the turret. If you wish to do this, then you should learn to drive backwards, and learn fast, or you can just turn the option off with the Tab key.

With this control scheme (as in controlling the turret with your mouse), there are a few limitations. For one, I would not recommend playing Bandits with a touch pad. This can be devastating when in a battle... trust me I know. In fact, it seems that the best set up is with a trackball, because you will never find yourself running out of pad space (be it mouse or touch pad).

Unfortunately, there is not a reward system in Bandits that will make you want to re-do missions to get past them in shorter time or with less damage. It is pretty much, finish a level and forget it. So because of this, there is not a lot of replay value, but it is still a fun game to go through and kick ass. To solve this problem though, there is a multiplayer system that allows you to host or join a game over a LAN or Internet connection with up to 20 people in either Deathmatch or Team battles.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98/2000/ME/XP, Pentium III 700 Mhz, 128 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM, Direct 3D compatible 3D accelerator card with T&L support, Geforce3 or equal, mouse and keyboard and DirectX 8.1

Test System:

Windows XP Professional Ed., AMD Athlon 600 Mhz, 384 MB RAM, 24X CD-ROM, Geforce3 Ti200, DirectX 9.0, keyboard, mouse, trackball.

Toshiba Satellite series laptop, Windows XP Home Ed., 2.0 Ghz Celeron, 512 MB RAM, 24X DVD/CD ROM, 32 MB 3D accelerator, keyboard, touch pad.

Windows Toontown Online Windows Blade and Sword

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated