Act: Chromadrome [by Alpha 72 Games]
Game Review: Chromadrome
Release: June 23, 2004
Alpha 72 Games
System Requirements: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, DirectX 8+, 32MB OpenGL video
card, mouse, 800Mhz computer, 128 MB RAM, a working brain
Players: 1-2 (Simultaneous)
Looking at the screen shots of Chromadrome I was really excited about giving the
game a try. The screen-shots made the game look to be a paced racer along the
lines of Super Mario cart (or
Super Worms for the old-time Indie fan), especially the split-screen
shot that showed two racers on the same screen. Upon playing the game though I
found my initial screen-shot based perception of the game to be incorrect.
Not to say that I was incorrect in being excited, in fact just the opposite is
true. The exciting action in the game is actually closer to the classic Stun
Runner for those who had a chance to play that game. However, even a description
that compares this game to that one is really quite poor at defining the game.
I think of Chromadrome as a racer/shooter mix. It definitely has a high speed
intense aspect, but the number of enemies that you need to blast out of your way
while completing the race courses lends the game to also feel a bit like an
overhead shooter such as the classic Raiden series of games. At first this may
seem a frightening prospect for gamers as both Racing games and shooters require
very quick reflexes and a strong memory in order for you to be successful at
them, and while this is still quite true in Chromadrome the ability to set the
game's speed should make it very accessible for all gamers.
what is the game really all about? In Chromadrome we are treated to the second
game revolving around the Chromates. These little creatures from another
dimension are really just round balls that rather resemble chrome balls. In
the first of the Chromate games, the balls were used in a series of puzzles.
However, the Chromates were just testing our ability by allowing us to complete
the Chromentum puzzles. Now with those puzzles completed, our ability to handle
precision at high speeds is also being tested.
Chromadrome provides that test in several different modes of play. Each mode has
at its heart a series of races that you need to complete though the modes are
each quite unique, from the Arcade mode that requires you to pass specific
levels before moving on to the Academy where you can earn bronze, silver or if
you are capable, gold stars on races that vary each time you play them in basic
layout. The races themselves reminded me of a luge in that they only have very
minor turns in them. Chromadrome race tracks are not at all like Grand
Prix car-racing tracks, and that really isn't a bad thing. In addition, due to a
seemingly endless line o speedups that you encounter, the longer the race is,
the faster that your Chromate hurdles itself down the track making the game pick
up more and more intensity every second that you play.
Of course the tracks aren't free of obstacles. There are a series of items that
you must transverse in order to get to the finish line in one piece. The first
is the track itself. While the track is straight, it doesn't provide much in the
way of safety bumpers to keep you from hurdling yourself off the track and into
outer space. There are also holes all through track that must be avoided.
In addition to the less than safe road that you are taking, there are obstacles
on the road as well. Silver and gold colored chromates seem to be scattered all
about. The silver chromates will slow you down if you run into them. For this
reason it is important to try and clear your path of them by firing down the
road with your laser to knock them off of the track. On the opposite spectrum
from the silver chromates are the gold chromates. It is typically helpful for
you to run into them as they are scattered in chains on the track. Hitting the
chain will change you to the last chromate in the chain, accelerating you while
As difficult as it can be to navigate the chromates, it is compounded by some of
the track's dynamics. Loops and jumps are fairly common and require practice to
overcome. They are augmented by corkscrew spirals and spiral jumps that will
spin the screen before your very eyes. Again while there is quite a bit of
difference between the two games, those who have played stun runner extensively
should feel right at home and be loving every minute of the high-speed
There are other obstacles you'll meet along the way such as giant chromates,
fire and springs, but I'll leave that to you to discover. Chromadrome provides
an exciting game that I feel most gamers should give a serious try as there are
so many features and modes of play that it is hard to properly describe them
all. One thing I can state clearly is that it is one of the more fun racing
games I've played, and certainly puts a twist all its own on the tired racing
genre that make it more than worthy of your time and an absolute STEAL at
The graphics in the game are really spectacular. There are multiple lighting
effects that help to give the chromates their very metallic look to go along
with backgrounds that are so active that I believe many people will have to turn
off some of the graphic effects so as to not become overwhelmed by them.
Probably the only area of the game that could really use an improvement is the
sound. The developer has made it possible for you to load your own music
and that is a suggested step for those looking for a rocking soundtrack.
The sound effects work fairly well though, as the Chromates let you know when
you've crashed through fire again.
Chromadrome is really easy to pick up and play. Players will find using the
mouse to control their chromate to be nearly second nature. Though there is
definitely a sense of the chromate falling off a bit too easily when it comes
near the edge, it is something that is easily mastered after playing a few
games. Perhaps most interesting was the two player mode where each player is
able to control their own chromate by plugging in two mice to the computer. This
is an interesting move to make as I assume that not everyone has two mice.
Had it just been a typical racing game it wouldn't get these points, but
honestly this is a very different take on the racing genre that actually more
squarely puts this game in what I would call the 'action' category.
Definitely a bit different than other games, which makes it a little harder to
peg as either an action or a sports/racing game.
At $14.95 you will definitely get MUCH more than your money out of this one.
A really interesting and cool feature in the game is the statistics page that
shows you the value you get for your money! This page will show you how
much you've paid per play and how much you've paid per hour in addition to how
much you've played and statistics from each of the modes of play. I really
liked this little addition as a numbers oriented guy and think it would be cool
to see such a feature in other games.
This is one of those games that other people will want a chance to play if they
watch you play as the stunts you seemingly pull off while playing are nearly as
exciting to see as they are to do. Chromadrome is full of adrenaline
rushing excitement that will keep you glued to your screen. If you have
someone to play with then another challenge is awaiting as you both race through
tracks, each using your own mouse as the game lets you use two USB mice!
A nearly perfect game that all players should check out. There really
isn't much more you could hope for in such a game. Chromadrome stands out
clearly as one of the best indie titles this year and I pity the fool who
doesn't pick up their own mind-numbing copy!
Added: August 14th 2004
Reviewer: Russell Carroll
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