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September 15, 1997

Entertainment

CLAW

Computer Game Review: 'Claw'

  by Rick Brewster
   It would be easy to put off Claw as just another 2D side scroller game, one that has been released way past the prime of the genre. Instead, Claw breaks the stereotypes and gives us an entertaining look back at the 8 and 16-bit console days of yesteryear.
  
   As far as PCs go, Claw is the best looking and smoothest running 2D game yet. Running in high resolution, or 640x480, it manages a smooth framerate usually reserved for games running on a system with a 3D accelerator and 200MHz CPU.
  
   Once past the gawking stage, you'll find that Claw is, in fact, a fun game with some real meat on it. There's a story, and yes, it actually pertains to the game. You, Captain Claw, are a feared and respected ... cat. Just recently your ship was taken over by the Spanish (which happen to be cocker spaniard dogs).
  
   Every two levels or so you meet up with the very overused BOSS character. These interesting characters aren't the kind that take up half the screen and shoot predictable patterns of flaming death gas at you. Instead they are (usually) characters you'll see in the cutscenes between levels, and as such give you the satisfaction that he (or she) will never make fun of Captain Claw again and that the world is safe from tyranny once again ... or something.
  
   One thing that may attract a lot of people to this game is the fact that it supports up to 64 players simultaneously via the Internet. Yes, 64. Unfortunately, you have to pay $1.95 per hour through Engage to be able to do that, which means most multiplayer encounters will be the usual two player battles with your friend using your modem.
  
   Also, while Claw may be the cream of the crop and is a very good game, it still inherits one of the biggest annoyances with side scroller games: It's extremely frustrating. Half of the times you die it's because of something stupid, such as you fell into a pile of goop after timing a jump wrong.
  
   If you can stand an occasional frustration, this game is a lot of fun and well worth the investment. Even owners of slower Pentium systems will
  
Created by: Monolith Studios (www.lith.com)
Publisher: Monolith Studios
Category: 2D Side-scroller, Action
Price: $40
System Requirements: Pentium 75, 16MB RAM, 6MB Hard drive space, Win95
What you really need: Pentium 100, 125MB Hard drive space
Highs: smooth framerate; excellent animation and cutscenes
Lows: expensive Internet play; can get VERY frustrating
Content Rating: PG for violence
Star Rating:
4 out of 5 stars
Next week's review: Dungeon Keeper

Special Note: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter now has a Direct3D patch available, which will enable it to take advantage of any kind of expensive 3D Accelerator hardware you may have (*cough* 3Dfx *cough*). It is a free 1.5MB download available at http://www.lucasarts.com.