Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 6

Sound: 3

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5


T-Mek was originally a great arcade game made even better with it's outstanding ability to be linked with more machines. Coming home on the 32X, it loses the large multi-player aspect, only allowing two players at one time. Losing that feature means losing a lot off the fun factor as well.

tmek_6.jpg (51465 bytes)Players have the ability to pick one of many different ships/tanks, all with a major Star Wars influence (one looks almost exactly like a Snowspeeder from Empire). Of course each one has their specific attributes from shields, speed, and power. You'll enter in a death match arena and take on the rest of the roster in a timed match to see who can rack up the most kills. The enemy AI here is pretty abysmal and occasionally entertaining. Gasp in horror as enemies ram into each other and struggle to figure out how to untangle. It happens often, which does mean a double kill for you, but little challenge. Only on the highest difficulty level do things pick up.

Floating above the arena is a pod. Driving under it into its beam will restore your special weapons. Blasting another ship will reveal other power-ups inside the wreckage. You can adjust the match's length in the options menu. The one-player game will let you move up a tournament ladder to become the best of the best.

One of the worst features in the game are the menus. Not because of the design, but because of the time limit imposed on you. It's entirely understandable in the arcade version, but 15 seconds to select your ship is ridiculous in the home rendition. With the exception of the options menu (of course only in this version), every move you make is timed with a red line on the bottom of the screen.

tmek_4.jpg (45442 bytes)Controlling your T-Mek is a breeze, but the controls are extremely loose. Your ship will continue to move even after you have laid off the D-pad. This is probably a decision to make it feel like you're in the ship, but it only becomes an annoyance. Picking off opponents can be difficult (though not impossible) and that means a lot of missed shots, which is of course crucial in a game like this.

Obviously stripped down from the full size machine, the 32X port looks decent, but there is some extreme pixelation up close. The stages have unusually barren floors with only small details. The stages do a great job of setting the mood with that minimal detailing, which is evident from the opening stage composed of bones and skulls. The sounds are even more barren than the floors featuring a dull moaning over the action with only an occasional bit of music. Much like the ship design, some of the sound effects have been ripped out of Star Wars. Listen to the special weapon shot on a few of the ships for an example.

T-Mek makes for a great arcade game, but the systems of the day simply couldn't replicate the experience. This one is dying to go online with an update but those chances are probably limited. Until then, you can either buy a couple linked arcade machines or deal with this port, the only way the game ever came home.


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Last updated: Tuesday, September 20, 2005 05:11 PM