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Geist (GameCube) Review

There is a general rule set by the legend that is Shigeru Miyamoto – if a bad game is delayed then it will never improve, but a taking time to perfect a good title is always the best option. But when people first played n-Space’s Geist for the GameCube and came away less then allured by it, the first thought was Nintendo had a major loser on its hands. Numerous delays later, though, has it managed to break the Miyamoto rule?

John Raimi is part of a troop of soldiers ready to infiltrate a high security scientific laboratory, by the name of Volks Corporation, in the attempt to uncover their dastardly experiments and put cease to them. However, upon gathering the relevant information necessary to halt further progress, something goes terribly wrong and Raimi ends up being captured and his spirit torn from his body. Before he knows it he is floating around and being taught how to possess other beings, as well as objects! Can you guide him to safety and expose the group?

Playing early builds of Geist really were not too impressive, leaving players with a feeling that n-Space really could not take advantage of the hardware to present a level of graphical finesse found in the likes of Metroid Prime and Resident Evil 4. In fact, right up until the Post E3 Tour things were not looking too rosy, with the graphics appearing rather blurry, making it hard to read text. Yet playing the final version proves to be quite enlightening, as the visuals are nowhere near as bad as they originally looked like they could have been! Whilst perhaps not the most extravagant in terms of appearance, the character models are more than solid, environments are better than the usual average FPS locations, the video sequences are very nice to watch and the frame-rate is just about acceptable, apart from when TOO much action is happening on-screen. Better than expected, anyway!

The use of speech throughout the game is something that could, unfortunately, not be heard in previous try-outs with Geist. But thankfully the final product boasts some satisfying results, with characters showing the right amount of emotion and avoiding sounding too wooden, which is always a plus point! Music, on the other hand, is rather forgettable, just basically fitting the bill as opposed to causing the gamer to be totally absorbed into the experience like has come to be expected with this particular genre. Luckily, the sound effects for weapon-fire is more than adequate, or else this would have been completely lacking in feeling.

The idea behind Geist is certainly an intriguing one, with some drawing comparisons between this and a certain PC title that will remain nameless. The challenge for n-Space was to turn what could be a contrived concept into something that proves to be unique and a wholly gripping title. The action starts out as a pretty standard First Person Shooter, with you controlling Raimi as you wander around the secret facility, first of all downloading the scientists' data and then attempting to escape with the rest of your team before reinforcements track you down and blast you into a million pieces. Therefore, the usual strafing, crouching, weapons fire and aiming controls are all present and correct.

However, things do take a turn toward the abnormal once you are about to break loose with the data. Raimi's spirit is sucked from his body and you are then transported to a serene locale, complete with pretty flowers, lush grass and large, overhanging trees. You then notice that rather than the normal health bar in the bottom corner, you instead have a heartbeat, which constantly wears down as you float (yes, float, no longer walking) around. A distant voice explains how absorbing plants will boost your energy to ensure death is not as imminent as it could be, which is quickly followed by the introduction of possessing things in order to sustain your life force in a more efficient manner. Queue fluffy rabbit scene and crazy hopping around as said rabbit.

At this point the game just seems too weird for its own good, but perseverance is the key. After hearing the soothing voice turn into a wicked, evil one that menacingly tells you to basically 'kill them all', you are warped back into the facility in which you were supposedly killed earlier. There you meet a young ghost who teaches you how to possess anything around you. In order to do this you must first check the aura of whatever you want to take over and, if necessary, use scare tactics to weaken their resolve. This is especially necessary when it comes to humans, as they are far stronger than say animals or, erm, paint pots! So to wear them down slightly you have to use your brain a little, jumping into things such as telephones, machines and bins. An example from the start of the game involves blowing up a contraption to get the attention of a guard, then quickly jump out and possess the bin next to it, causing flames to spew forth and scaring the be-jebus out of him so you can take over his body!

It is not all as simple as that, though, as for instance you are now in control of a guard, if you run around like a crazy man with your gun flying around you will attract suspicion, particularly in the lab facility as they actually are aware of a spirit on the loose. So all the way through you are not only trying to use the usual FPS skills that are required, but having to try and think how best to make progress and outwit the enemies around you. And hey, should you get bored, you can always have fun taking over various crazy items – like at the start going into paint pots purely to make them explode their innards all over the wall! If it were not for some creaky First Person Shooter controls, with aiming being awkward at times, this would have hit scaling heights.

As stated already, a lot of thought will have to go into playing this, rather than just barging into rooms willy-nilly throwing gun-fire at anything that moves. The enemy AI is not stupid by any means and if something out of the ordinary is detected then you really are in for it, with torrents of bullets your way a-cometh. But the one-player experience is not the only side to keep gamers happy as there is a rudimentary multiplayer aspect that can prove to be quite time consuming with three other friends joining you in the fray. You can even throw in four computer bots to battle against with your friends, or simply go it against eight AI-bots for the ultimate challenge! Not spectacularly long, but more than enough value for money for those that dip their toes in as you can open up new multiplayer maps, characters and items for use in multiplayer whilst playing through the one-player game.

Gameplay

Possessing various objects and people via the use of cleverly thought-out puzzles is sheer brilliance. However, the inclusion of FPS controls lowers the quality as n-Space lack some of Retro Studio's finesse.

Graphics

Great locations and character models are slightly let down by the fact that too much action on-screen causes frame-rate trouble.

Sound

The use of music throughout is pleasant, but not as atmospheric as perhaps it could have been. However, the great implementation of voice work and sound effects counters this positively.

Value

Geist can prove to be damn hard at times, be it from the brain-teasing puzzles or awkward FPS sections, but with the multiplayer content thrown in as well, it should last a fair while.

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

About this score
Rated 8 out of 10

Some will look around the Internet and see middling-to-bad reviews of Geist and immediately be put off from making the purchase (as has been the case in the US). However, I say give it a try as what you have here is far better than earlier builds and whilst it may not have the radiant glow of Metroid Prime or TimeSplitters, it does have its own faint shine that will bring a twisted smile to many a face.

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28.09.2005

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Developer

n-Space

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (5 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Better score than I expected, it's nice to see a good score. I wasn't considering it, but now I might pick it up at some point and give it a blast.

I think it goes without saying that it was another enjoyable review.

I was really interested in this title a while ago. I imagined it to be (at long last) a new FPS exclusive that isnt Metroid on a Ninty console. The reviews have put me off preordering, but i might give it a go.

Nice review Raz. As you said, most sites (and to that mind magazines - EDGE 4/10, NOMUK Less than 80%) have slated this game. The idea sounds great, Scaring people and taking over there form sound like a good piece for a game plot. But maybe it'd be better suited to a stealth related game in the form of Splintercell than an FPS?

Nice review but I trust the savvy Edge reviewers this time. It looks extremely flawed and as such will annoy me, especially because its a nintendo product. I expect great games from nintendo (its the only reason I haven't sold my dusty old cube) and releasing sub-par games is not acceptable. However as you say its not that bad I may pick it up s/h on the cheap.

AAA title a month nintendo? hows about one a year... come to think of it what was the last AAA must have Nintendo (exclusive) game? MP was overrated and that leaves wind waker??? Enough moaning, again nice review!

I was once interested in this, but have since been put off...for GC game prices, a game needs to be top notch before i buy it.

Nintendo should refine this game and make it their flagship FPS.

Metroid is not a FPS, imo.
And I dont like the way its being turned into one :( :(

Please give our little random review show a try;
http://randomreviewshow.com/index.html
We have special effects and umm...stuff...

Incidently, I think you got the rule wrong :p

"A delayed game may be good in the end, but a bad game is bad forever"

is closer.

Please give our little random review show a try;
http://randomreviewshow.com/index.html
We have special effects and umm...stuff...
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Hey, my take on it wasn't too far off :tongue: Smilie Artistic impressions and all that stuff...hehe! Smilie

Thing is, with Edge a score of 4/10 is probably equivalent to most other reviewers 70%! The mag is always overly harsh! :roll:

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Great review.
Depating whether to get this or not, I fear this may be over shadowed at xmas time.

Chrismo21 you sold your GameCube twat

I was sold on this anyway, but great review, can't wait to start some brain twisting puzzles :D

Barry Lewis < nin10do :: General Writer :: Feature Writer :: Fountain of Industry Statistics >
"We're mentalist psychic Scots, which means we can read your mind. If you're lying, your head explodes and we laugh."
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Thanks! I have a feeling this might do better over here than in the US...

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I'll pick it up simply as it is sounds like quite a bit of harmless fun. On the cheap mind.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Or using the wonderful 10 Day Return scheme at various stores? The best way to sample games properly...

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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