The first-person-shooter genre has grown by intermittent leaps since the days of Wolfenstein 3D. Since then, games like Doom, Quake, Half-Life, and Unreal Tournament, among others, have added several technical enhancements to the visceral thrill of playing a video game through a gun-toting character's eyes. Huge advances in 3-D graphics, sound, and processor speed, as well as the addition of network multiplayer gameplay, have favored the genre, and now Red Faction's Geo Mod technology promises to take the first-person shooter to new heights.
Geo Mod, short for geometry modification, allows formerly permanent elements of a game's background to change in real time. For example, if a player were to shoot a rocket at a stone wall, the wall could crumble or have a hole blown clean through. The best that previous games could do is change the texture of the wall and leave it looking charred.
While most gamers would applaud any advance in realistic graphics, Geo Mod also looks to influence the way first-person shooters are played. If the world of the first-person shooter can be altered, the game makers point out, then the world itself becomes a weapon at your disposal. More than just shooting opponents through walls, players should be able to cause a ceiling to collapse on an opponent. With the right tools, players will be able to destroy bunkers, block escape routes, and otherwise flush players out of their well-defended positions.
Obviously, it's Geo Mod that has gamers so excited, so other game components might be easy to overlook in the excitement. Red Faction's story is set on a Martian mining colony, where workers, buffeted by abusive guards and a deadly plague, revolt. In the single-player game, you'll commandeer fully armed land, sea, and air vehicles--not to mention up to 15 devastating weapons--to make your way through the game's 20 levels. The PlayStation2 version also features two-player split-screen deathmatch and Geo Mod-specific modes. --Porter B. Hall