Home | News | Reviews | Previews | Hardware
Score: 79%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Crave
Developer: ASCII Entertainment
Media: CD/2
Players: 1
Genre: Survival Horror/ Action/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:
There are two kinds of graphics in Galerians -- the walk-around graphics and the FMV. The walk-around graphics are standard Survival Horror fare -- pre-rendered scenes with polygonal actors, 'creepy' camera angles that instead just end up pissing you off. You know the drill. The backgrounds themselves are a tad too antiseptic, even the ones that aren't supposed to be. Even when someone's exploded skull is pouring blood onto the ground, it's almost as if the blood itself were clean. The full motion video, however, is extremely good, both in the purely artistic sense, and in the method that it carries the storyline along. This is, mind you, a Good Thing.

There isn't much music per se; a better description would be 'ambient sounds plus a little extra,' and even then the sounds are only in certain rooms. The first room you enter after leaving the start location has the exact same engine sound that Nine Inch Nails' 'Terrible Lie' sports, and I thought I was going to be in for quite a treat. Alas, nothing came of it. The voice acting starts off miserable, but gets somewhat better as the game progresses. That could be me just getting used to the almost criminally apathetic Rion's voice, however, so your results may vary.

I really hate to say this, but sometimes you gotta call it how you see it. Galerians is an absolute masterpiece, a triumph of gaming glory, a paragon that all other games should look up to... when it comes to storyline and setting. This is the first survival horror game that actually had me horrified -- not because of ghoulies jumping at me out of windows, a la Resident Evil, but because the concept of a 14-year-old boy who has been subjected to so many drugs that he is now completely dependent on them (and the associated FMVs of him injecting the needed PPECs) is downright scary. This game hits hard, and hits just below the belt. The story starts off cool and gets even better from there, with plot twists you won't see coming, and a setting that just won't quit. You're going to play to the end of this game just to see how the hell it turns out.

Sadly, the game itself is something of a loss. Resident Evil was a bitch to control, and Galerians is no improvement. You still have your characters walking around, a la Night of the Living Dead, only now they're not zombies. You still have the abysmally slow turn-and-spin. Only now, if Rion gets into a fight with more than one person, chances are he'll lose. When he uses an attack (all psychic; no physical attacks for Rion), he has to charge up, and during that time, he's completely vulnerable and can't move. You'll find yourself running like a madman from fights just because you don't want to waste your psychic power.

Oh, and there's this thing called AP. Every time you use a psychic power, your AP meter goes up, and as the game progresses, it goes up automatically (which is a serious pain in the ass). When it fills up and you try to do anything psy-related, you 'short,' and start exploding the heads of people around you. This would be cool, but it drains your health like no tomorrow and you walk around even more like a zombie. Luckily, there is medicine that lowers your AP meter, but you'll spend much of the game searching like crazy for the stuff.

So you've got an amazing story wrapped up in a mediocre game. Usually it's the other way around, and I was pleasantly surprised to see the equivalent of an arthouse flick on the PlayStation.

You'll have more difficulty with the controls and keeping Rion from dying because of his utter lack of battle abilities, than you will with the puzzles or the enemies. Trust me. The game is more your enemy than the bad guys in the story, which is very sad. But once you get the hang of it, you'll manage.

Game Mechanics:
The controls suck in every Resident Evil game ever made, they sucked in Alone in the Dark before that, and they suck in Galerians. There's something in the Codex of Survival Horror that says, 'Thou Shalt Not Make a Solid Control Scheme.' At least, that's what it certainly seems like. The load times are somewhat annoying, but at least you get to hear the ambient sounds of where you're coming from and where you're going to while you load between areas.

Rent this game first. If you can put up with the controls, buy it. The storyline is absolutely fantastic, and you may want to have it just for that. If you find the controls get in the way of your enjoyment, however, don't waste your money. Galerians is an amazing experience; you've just got to wade through the sewers to get to it, and some of us aren't up for that sort of thing.

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

This site best viewed in Internet Explorer 6 or higher or Firefox.