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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Nintendo

 

Developer

n-Space

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

August 15, 2005

 

 

- Great game for gamers just starting with the genre

- "Body jacking" is a good gameplay element

- Some neat ideas

 

 

- A rudimentary shooter at the best of times

- Look is easily a year or so behind the times

 

 

Review: Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GC)

Review: TimeSplitters: Future Perfect (GC)

Review: GoldenEye: Rogue Agent (GC)

 

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Geist

Score: 6.0 / 10

 

Like all good rescue mission performed by highly trained and capable elite soldiers, Geist’s opening “extraction” ends horribly.  The squad is wiped out for the most part and you, as John Raimi, “specialist in Biological and Chemical threats,” has you spiritual essence ripped from your corporeal body.  Essentially turned into a ghost – with a few ridiculous restrictions, like not being able to walk through walls – Raimi sets out to get his body back, uncover what’s going on at the Volks Corporation and get the hell out.

 

geist review          geist review

 

While most of the game is played out in first-person and there’s a lot of gunplay, Geist isn’t much of a shooter.  In fact, it’s a 98-lbs weakling when it comes to the first-person shooter elements – enemies feature little in the way of AI or toughness, the guns feel way over-powered – but Geist isn’t really a shooter.  It’s more about solving puzzles.

 

Because Raimi’s geist can’t go through walls or doors, he has to hijack (i.e. possess) enemy soldiers and even animals to make his way through the Volks Corporation complex.  (Occasionally, Raimi will find cracks in walls that can be “wiggled” through.)  In most cases, it’s not just a matter of jacking into a body and proceeding.  Usually you victims need to be really scared (indicated by a red aura) before Raimi can assume control.  To get a potential target prepped Raimi must perform some spooky maneuvers.  Many objects in the environment can be possessed (also indicated by a red aura) such as trash cans, comm. Panels, janitorial equipment and even exploding crates (that will actually respawn after a short wait).  Hunting down these “red aura items,” as I like to call them, takes up the bulk of the gameplay and it reminds me of adventure games that are all about hunting for the right pixel so a necessary item can be found and the story moved forward.  Basically, the game turns into one big puzzle that follows the general outline: scare a guy, possess, and proceed.

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There are only two ways to die: the body Raimi jacked runs out of health or your spiritual energy runs to zero when in geist form.  Both fates are easy to avoid.  The spiritual energy is replenished every time Raimi possesses something or someone, or by draining plants of their life force.  During possession, anytime Raimi gets caught in the crossfire, he can “exit possession.”  Not to worry though.  The body that gets ripped to shreds will respawn nearby and glowing red.  I suppose this eliminates any 

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frustration with having to restart from the last save point because your borrowed body died but it really yanks the gamer out of the experience (as if respawning exploding crates weren’t enough).

 

The body jacking is pretty cool overall, because the gamer will often get an unexpected perspective on a situation such as behind a monitor or looking down the snout of a dog or rat, but the novelty of it wears off faster than you might think.

 

geist review          geist review

 

Once you’ve thrashed through the single-player game, Geist also has some multiplayer modes available, which all revolve around the body jacking premise.  It adds some variety to the typical deathmatch setups. Up to eight players (human and AI bots combined) can take part and the usual power-ups and conventions apply, such as collecting secrets in the single-player game to unlock more multiplayer levels and options.  The multiplayer suffers the same problems of all split and quad-screen games – small screens and not-so-great framerates.

 

Geist easily looks at least year behind the times, especially when put side-by-side with Retro Studios’s Metroid Prime games or Resident Evil 4 (a high water mark when it comes to graphics on the GameCube).  The design is consistent though and the graphics aren’t horrible by any stretch. Not helping matters is that the game will often stutter during most action sequences.

 

There’s really no way around it; while Geist offers some neat ideas, it’s an entry level shooter with an okay story and few interesting gameplay elements.  And while stellar shooters are thin on the ground for the GameCube there are still better titles in the genre available, like Metroid Prime: Echoes or TimeSplitters 3.

 

- Omni

(August 22, 2005)

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