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Zombies, Mummies And Terminators...Oh My
Kingsoft and CIB Net Station’s jump into the MMOFPS zombie/mummy/robot genre consists of Mission Against Terror or better known as M.A.T. It’s exactly like their previous outing, Crazy Shooter Online (aka C.S.O.) and includes only moderate changes to the overall gameplay, including a more military-esque look to the character designs and some baddies that come in the form of mummies and (in an upcoming release) robots. It's another one of those games that takes on a really awesome concept but doesn't quite deliver in-game play that lives up to promising players intense encounters against pop-cultural baddies.
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The Mummy game mode’s premise consists of fighting against mummies that can infect other players and it’s up to the human players to last the duration of the time limit in each round in order to come out victorious. This game mode has already been done to death in other games like TimeSplitters, Perfect Dark and, more recently, the Quarantine mode in Nexon’s Combat Arms. The biggest difference is that in the Quarantine mode gamers can actually kill the zombies if they’re good enough and the stage designs are more affording for defensive gameplay measures. This is not to mention that the Mummy mode is vastly outdone in M.A.T. by ijji Games' Karma: Operation Barbarossa, which allows for a mixture of deathmatch or team deathmatch while facing off against zombie hordes.
It would have been far more unique if the Mummy mode stages had been designed in urban environments or maybe some place where a mountable offensive could have been used by the human players. The problem is that in M.A.T players just have to run around and hope they don’t’ get infected.
Much like C.S.O. the game still features the ability to hide in a corner and dance during deathmatch modes to recover health. It’s an innovative feature but not much good seeing that the game moves so fast and health recovers so slowly that by the time the character initiates the dance an opponent is already pumping the dancing military operative with bullets.
Other than the Mummy mode and dancing there isn’t too much else that this game has going for it, unless you count the free-roaming chat room, where players can walk around and chat...but that's not really a game enhancing feature. There's also the promise of facing off against robots, zombies and other creatures (in future updates) but in its current condition its a game that's still sorely lacking. There’s the standard deathmatch and team deathmatch modes and a bare-minimum selection of weapons to choose from, many of which are rendered useless against the accurate and reliable AK-74 and G36 assault rifles.
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I don’t want to say that I hate the gameplay in M.A.T but it’s identical to C.S.O. and I hated the gameplay in that game. The problem is that the game is just way too fast paced and the stages are far too tiny to get any sort of enjoyment out of fragging.
In the free-for-all deathmatch mode the player respawn is so closely-knit in the stages that even if you manage to get a kill you’ll be killed within milliseconds by another player. Staying alive isn’t much of an option and during team deathmatch, team tactics gets thrown entirely out the window.
Even if the game was going to run at blazing arcade speeds it would have been redeemable for the gameplay if the maps weren’t wide-open frag-pits. Primarily, in the deathmatch modes players just run out and hope they live long enough to land the reticule on an opponent and hope there’s enough time to press the mouse button and land a kill. Most of the time players would run out and die before I even had time to tell them that maybe we should devise a plan…which is yet another problem with the game.
The game moves so fast there’s hardly any time to spot and prime a grenade; if you stop to reload you’re dead; if you stop to switch weapons, you’re dead; if you stop to look behind you, you’re dead; if you try to look both ways before getting fragged, you’re dead. The game’s constant kill and be killed maxim is a tiring and effortlessly mindless gameplay concept that renders M.A.T. an utterly pointless game to experience, especially in comparison to some of the better MMOFPS games out there, namely Operation 7 and Mercenary Wars.
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Graphics And Sound
The weapon designs aren’t all that bad but they aren’t quite as good as other games in the genre. The character designs show massive improvements over the ones used in Crazy Shooter Online, and actually look more impressive than characters in Soldier Front or Mercenary Wars. The animations aren’t bad either, given that they have light rag-doll physics.
The sound for the weapons, characters and ambiance is the typical arcade-ish effects one might expect from Time Crisis or Virtua Cop. The real highlight of the sound comes in the form of the complete rip-off of a soundtrack from other movies and games. During deathmatch gamers might notice some of the tunes sound very familiar, such as a rehash of Harry Gregson William’s Metal Gear Solid theme song or a Hans Zimmer sound-alike of the Pirates of the Caribbean theme. I can’t knock them for trying to at least keep the music sounding intense, but it does come off as being kind of cheesy with the obvious and blatant theme songs used from other games and movies.
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Mission Against Terror could be a good concept if it wasn’t what it was. Getting the developers behind A.V.A or Operation 7 to design a game where players took on pop-culture villains like Terminators, mummies, zombies or aliens would be an extremely fun game given the core mechanics already set in place by the aforementioned titles. However, with M.A.T., the core design resides in a game that was already outdated and wasn’t very fun to begin with (i.e., Crazy Shooter Online). This leaves the final product a game that desperately wants to be more than what it is and ultimately, gamers are left with a game that aims for quantity but lacks quality.