Reviewed: 04/25/04

"The CHAOS has ended!"

Baron Fortesque's lust for power and knowledge drove him to create the ''CHAOS ENGINE''. The Chaos Engine would let Fortesque achieve his dream of transmuting matter. But the Baron was over-stricken with greed and unbeknownst to him the Chaos Engine had developed a mind of its own. The Chaos Engine imprisoned Fortesque and transformed him into a hideous beast.
As one (actually 2) of six mercenaries, it is your objective to find and destroy the Chaos Engine.

At first glance SoF looks like your average 3/4 overhead commando shooter, but after playing a few times you'll see that it's not, and will require a small amount of strategy and keen decision making to complete. SoF is full of hidden bonus areas, some are simple to find while some of the later ones are well hidden and extremely challenging to find. Like in Data East's game Heavy Barrel, scattered throughout the levels are Key's which you'll need for opening pathways, bonus areas, exits, etc... Something unique to SoF is when you start a single player game you're actually playing a 2 player game in that a CPU controlled player (which you select after choosing your character) will fight along side you. This is rather annoying in that the CPU player will start picking up everything in sight like health, power-ups etc... which 9/10 times you'll need more than him. On the positive side, you have the ability to use any one of the CPU's special abilities. Absent in SoF is the ability to Strafe (shoot in a locked direction while moving) which is found in the majority of games in this genre. The enemies become smarter as you progress and finding the exit becomes more complex then in the previous round. SoF also has a password feature.

Aside from getting familiarized with each of the six characters and their special abilities, the control and collision detection are pinpoint accurate.

The Bitmap Brothers attention to detail in this game is incredible. Everything from the cracks in brick & stone walls, to the shading, to the actual characters themselves, is intensively high resolution. The cool/muddy colors in SoF set a gloomy/mysterious mood for the game. The characters and enemies animate smoothly, and little details like bubbling mud, pulsating nodes and steam (from the bio-tanks) enhance SoF's presentation. The levels are strategically well designed, and each of the 4 levels have their own individual enemies in them.

SoF has 6 mercenaries to choose from; Navvie, Mercenary, Gentleman, Thug, Scientist and Brigand. The characters are unique from one another in that each has certain individual skills (special abilities) they can use.

The music is great, and leans toward a Techno, 'Mission Impossible' theme?. The narrators 'elderish-static-crackly' voice sounds awesome. The weapons in SoF must have silencers on them, for their absent of any noise or sound, otherwise the sound effects are quite good. The chirping birds on the first world add a sense of depth to SoF.

Simply put, this is the best game in this category for the Genesis. SoF is a Rare game even on ebay. SoF is a well put together package with only one small flaw, it's a little on the short side. If you're a fan of this genre and find a COMPLETE & MINT (decent at least) copy somewhere, buy it, you won't be disappointed....

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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