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Druuna: Morbis Gravis

Score: 65%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Microids
Developer: Artematica
Media: CD/6
Players: 1
Genre: Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:

Druuna includes full motion video (FMV) sequences, and for the most part they are very well done. The adventure elements of the game are almost seamlessly integrated with the FMV sequences, and bring a movie-like experience to the game.

It is unfortunate that the main focus of Druuna seems to be her breasts. The game focuses on them at every turn, and many of the FMV sequences serve to accentuate them. The game's box and manual mention the fact that Druuna is a 'sexy heroine', and one gets the idea that the sole purpose of the game is to glorify her body.

The 3D engine serving up the adventure elements of the game looks pretty good, but overall it seems grainy. Smaller objects just don't look very detailed, and since the central character often begins a scene far from the camera's eye, navigating her small body around is difficult to do.

Sound and music are basic, although spoken speech for the FMV sequences is well done.


Gameplay:

Druuna has several different aspects of play, but unfortunately the only enjoyable part of the game is watching the movie sequences! The premise of the story, which is derived from a graphic novel by Paolo Eleuteri Serpieri, is that Druuna is condemned to a permanent comatose state. In order to begin adventuring, you are required to first connect to her cerebral cortex. Once connected to Druuna's cerebral cortex, you use the arrow keys to navigate through her mind. This is a sort of psychedelic journey through the mind, with wild colors and cavernous expanses. Once you've given the initial key press, though, the rest is automatic.

Once you've navigated to an adventure segment of the game, you are usually greeted with a FMV sequence. This introduces the scene, and once completed, allows you to navigate Druuna. The up and down arrow keys move her forwards and backwards, and the left and right arrow keys turn her around. As you come across items of interest, a line of text displays at the bottom of the screen indicating what the item is. You can interact with it, as well as open doors and move the character.

Besides either watching the full motion video sequences, using the arrow keys to navigate her mind, or using the arrow and other keys to navigate Druuna through the adventure, you can check the status of Druuna's mind, save or load games, or attempt to normalize her mind. You can collect objects during the adventure portions of the game, but the game automatically combines or uses them, so there's really not much to that aspect of the game.


Difficulty:

The background information provided by the game manual is minimal, and the user interface doesn't provide any additional help, so figuring out what to do and when can be quite difficult.

The game doesn't offer any difficulty options, nor does it really provide much in the way of hints, so once you begin the journey, you are on your own. In addition, the game adds maddening areas where Druuna can fall off a cliff or otherwise meet her demise, but there really isn't any warning of these disasters, which makes their occurrence frustrating and unwelcome.

Probably the worst aspect of the game is the fact that you really don't care what is happening to Druuna. It is unfortunate that she has taken ill, but it is unclear how navigating her mind will help her, and the difficulty of the game just makes caring that much harder to do.


Game Mechanics:

Installation is simple, but since the game ships on six CDs, performing a full installation is time-consuming. A full install allows you to play the game without the CDs, but requires close to 3GB of disk space. Additionally, you can perform a minimal install, which only takes about 500MB, but requires disk swapping.

The main hub of the game is a series of monitors that allows you to view movies, set game options, load and save games, and delve into the mind of the central character. You can use either a joystick or the keyboard to input directional movements, but the mouse is not supported at all.

I wish I could say something positive about Druuna , but it really is a poorly executed 3D adventure game. The interface is so convoluted, and the game play is so limited in its scope, that is just doesn't offer much of an experience. If you really want to view this woman's breasts, then I recommend you buy this game. But if you want an enjoyable adventure game, you should probably look elsewhere.


-Gordy, GameVortex Communications
AKA Gary Lucero

Minimum System Requirements:



95/98/ME/2000, PII 400, 64MB RAM, 16MB AGP video card, 40X CD-ROM, 500MB hard drive space, SoundBlaster compatible sound card.
 

Test System:



Windows XP Professional, 450Mhz Dual Pentium III, 256MB RAM, GeForce with 32MB RAM, SoundBlaster Live! Value, 32x CD-ROM.

Windows Divine Divinity Windows Dungeon Siege

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated