Developer: Metropolis Software House/Topware Interactive
Localization: Interactive (1C)/Snowball Interactive
System Requirements: P166 (3d accelerator recommended), 32 MB RAM, 4x CD-ROM, 16 bit sound
card, 250 Mb HDD.
In autumn, 1999, 1C company and Snowball Interactive studios have jointly released in Eastern Europe a localized game - Gorky-17: Forbidden Zone. Many players liked the game right away. However it is not so simple matter. There were people who have not understood the game or just disliked it. Nevertheless, it worth the attention of Freelancer, because the tactical element in the game is developed (though in original way) and worth some praises. So...
Gorky-17, October 18, 2008
In May, 2006, Great Britain, Scandinavia, Germany and France merged into the United Europe. Russia got the part of Poland, and Poland got the part of Russian territory, including the sector PB311, also known as Gorky-17. This sector is placed in strict quarantine up to 2098. Polish militaries are informed this sector is former Soviet laboratory Gorky-17. In May, 2008, Poland sent reconnaissance group here. Two months passed, no reports from group... Poles sent new group, now with rescue mission. One more month passed - no news from the group. In August Poles are forced to ask NATO for help, and NATO agreed to send a new group to Gorky. This group shared the destiny of predecessors.
In three days since the end of group return term the Poland officially asked Russia for help. The group started the preparation for raiding the town. On October 18 you have arrived to destination point.
Three Men in a Town, Not Counting the Others
Your initial team is consist of three Emergency Ministry representatives. The team leader is Nickolay Selivanov, experienced ecology engineer and geneticist. Taras Kovriga is experienced soldier and linguist, born in Ukraine. Jukko Haahty is most young team member, investigator from Estonia. Each character has own personality; Nickolay is calm, deciding team member, Taras is hot-tempered but cheerful. Jukko is always worrying and arguing with Taras. Besides these three soldiers, you can recruit Gracheva, girl from NATO team, mutated museum guard Medusae, "New Pole" Slavsky and polish newspaper reporter girl - she was invited here by some inhabitant. It is possible after you saved the character from monsters or reached certain part of plot. You'll meet a lot of NPC, usually aggressive.
Squalor or New Style?
The game is supported by three whales - RPG, Tactics, Quest. But this support is fragile. Each genre is cut a lot, so the life of game is short - playing it once or twice is enough (or not?). But this form is quite unusual.
RPG: each character has a set of parameters: Level - soldier experience indicator, i.e. corresponding experience amount accumulated produces character level growth. He also has 5 skillpoints to distribute among some skills. Experience points are gained when enemy is hit/killed. More experience you gained means faster Level growth. Health (HP) is health indicator, has nothing
special, can be improved by skillpoints. Movement per turn is the number of squares character can cross in one turn (APs equivalent). Luck defines the chance to produce additional damage to enemy. Accuracy standardly defines the chances to hit the target. Counterattack is probability to strike back in responce to enemy's attack. Morale is soldier's self-control level. For example, when loosing high amount of HPs, he can go berserk (reduced accuracy but higher damage). The number of parameters is too low for RPG but each one is representing its content by 100% and do not affect other parameters anyhow.
Tactics - used for combats only. It is leading genre because the battles take 80% of game time. But this genre is unusual here too. Battles are generally commence like this: You are doing something (inserting a card, opening the door, reaching some point on map) and the battle starts in a few moments (mostly vs mutants). The combat itself resembles Heroes of Might and
Magic battles, it is placed over some background splitted into squares (net), and it is turn-based. The camera position is different each time, and it is good. In combat mode, you can
move your soldiers by some squares (highlighted by green color), use your weapon, cure the soldier, pass the items to others.
Nobody of your team cannot die during the battle, or the game is lost. The battlefield has some covers (boxes, pillars, etc.) adding some nuances to tactics. Some maps contain gas barrels (exploding when hit). Explosion takes HPs from characters nearby. Each weapon shoots differently: handgun fires in four directions only (up, down, left, right), the rifle fires in 6 directions,
shotgun can fire anywhere. Of course, it is not complete list of weapons but it explains the main principle of fire. The game has special weapons - shocker, freezer, stunner. It "stuns" the enemy for several turns. But some enemies are immune to such weapon. They have a protection from one or some weapon types. Let us also put a special note on firethrowers (napalm, Molotov cocktails) and
poison grenades. The enemy affected by such weapon (if he has no protection from it) looses the initial amount of health, and then continue to loose it turn by turn. 15 initially, then 10, then 5. By this time the firethrower is armed again ;)
Quest component is cut too. Nobody will give you no tasks. The whole game progress consist os completion of some actions. Generally it is not too hard, but sometimes may be complex.
It is another game demerit - it is strictly linear, with minor exceptions. You can skip some battles, and use different characters.
Guns are ours, ammo is yours
The game arsenal is quite various. But there only few ammo types, and the amount of ammo available in the game is not so great. The weapon is both cold steel and firearms. The time of game is 2008, so you can play with "toys" like ion rifle, blaster, etc. Almost every weapon may be upgraded. For example level 1 axe deals much less damage than level 7 axe. The maximum level is 10. Practically each weapon has its area of use.
Sound, Video and Text
Let us review the most pleasant game aspect - multimedia. The graphics is good. All characters are built as 3d models, the rest is rendered backgrounds. Monsters are 3d too. The one thing I cannot understand is how they happened to gain such forms? :) It seems, Gorky labs were engaged in people, animals and heavy weapon interbreeding, not simple cloning. Monsters are lookink differently: funny or scary, the middle position is rare. The game has a lot of video cuts refreshing the gameplay. The sound is represented by great music not annoying your ears (you'll have no urge to turn it off). The game texts and speech are localized competently. The general level of performance allows to list this project among the best localizations at present moment. The plot adapted for "our" gamers is just excellent.
The game happened to be very pleasant, with a lot of good features. For example, main menu mode: cursor is beam of light, so moving it, you are lighting menu. Of course, the game has demerits - no difficulty levels, no multiplayer, the game is short and not so original. But it worth playing - at least to enjoy "our" plot. To have maximum satisfaction from game, play it in darkness with
loud sound - the game pretends to be a horror :). In general, I can guarantee you several pleasant evenings :)