Back when I got my first modern PC, (my real first computer was a Trash 80) I noticed that installed on it was a simple game entitled Wolfenstein 3D. Created by a small company called id Software, it ended up taking a lot of my free time, as well as becoming one of the greatest games of all time.
Maybe it was because it involved traversing through a vast labyrinth from a first person view, or maybe it was because I collect material involving World War II (as my DVD collection of Patton and Saving Private Ryan would prove). Whatever it was, Wolf 3-D was the game that got me involved into computer games in the first place.
Over the years, we have seen evolution in the first person genre. From the elevated levels of DOOM, to the full 3D of Quake, all the way up to the graphic splendor of Unreal Tournament, the 3D shooter is looking better than ever.
But still, all this 3D action goes back to the days of Wolf 3D. I always wondered though what it would look like if it ran under a powerful 3D engine such as the type used in Unreal Tournament. Mirage Media took this concept to heart when they started work on Mortyr.
However, the original publisher, Interactive Magic, shunned at the sight of the violence and even its box art – comprised of a Nazi Wermacht helmet drenched in blood – and thus, canceled the product.
Eventually, Interplay would get their hands on it, change the title to Mortyr 2093-1944, and release it to the public. Was all this effort worth it? In a word: no.
If the game was based solely on its storyline, I would have liked it a lot more. Seems what we re dealing with in 2093 is a parallel universe in which the Nazis have won World War II. It is believed that a device called the "Wunderwaffe" was the cause of the final victory. However, the victory has had its share of side effects: storms, environmental anomalies, and unexplainable catastrophes rock the planet. These side effects catch the eye of one Dr. Jurgen Mortyr, who decides to fight back against this Wunderwuffe responsible for the rotting of Earth, and devises a plan to send a soldier back in time to the year 1944 to assassinate its developer while he is asleep.
That soldier who is selected is Jurgen’s own son, Sebastien. However, during the time jump, he is misdirected to outside the castle fortress where the scientist is sleeping, and from here he might fight to achieve his goal.
It would be a great game to play, if (at the risk of sounding like Yogi Berra) it was a great game to play.
First of all, the AI of the soldiers is absolutely laughable. In these days of Half-Life and Unreal Tournament, we’d expect soldiers to hide from gunfire rather than stand there like a sitting duck. Plus it seems as though the player weapons are always off their mark when they fire. Even at a decent range, I had trouble getting a clean hit. And WWII rifles, especially the types used in the game, were highly accurate out to medium range.
Not only is the gameplay bad, so are the graphics a good deal of the time. I’m not sure, but I think this game was supposed to be based on the Unreal engine. And in some places (such as the hallways with the reflective floors) it seems like it, but then again, in some of the dark dungeon like corridors, it doesn’t seem like it.
Also, there are some major clipping problems. If you get to close to a wall, a lot of times you will be able to see through them. I did this once by accident and was able to observe an ambush waiting for me on the other side, which I was able to avoid.
Another pet peeve was the vehicles in the game. Supposedly, the vehicles are all realistic, but they are little more than background scenery. Each time I found a vehicle, say parked in a courtyard, I could not jump high enough to get onto it, could not use any of its onboard weapons, could not get into it and could not even damage it. I piled gasoline containers all around an armored car and then chucked five grenades toward it. There was a huge explosion, yet the car was not even scratched. No wonder the Nazi’s won the war in this universe.
And just as a personal note, I dislike when the bad guys spawn behind me. You clear out a room with no other ways in or out and then when you fallback to it later, it’s filled with guys again that could not have possibly gotten by you in the corridor. This is not a clever was to alert the player to a secret door, it’s just a cheap way to make the game harder at the expense of realism.
And if that’s not bad enough, the sound is weak. Sebastien has almost no emotion at all when he gets healed or hurt, and I haven’t heard much from the Nazi soldiers. If only it could have been like Wolf 3D, whose sound was impressive for 1992. The game’s music is also forgettable, but fortunately it is CD audio, so it can easily be replaced.
What sounded like a very impressive game idea turned out to be a rush job juggled by various publishers and churned out to stores.
Mortyr 2093-1944 is worthy of only 1 1/2 GiN Gems, and I hope that Xatrix will help us out when they release their Wolf 3D remake (which is being co-designed by id Software using the visually impressive Quake 3 engine) and make it worthy of the original.