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Author Topic: Game Review: Cortex Command  (Read 24769 times)

Shook

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Game Review: Cortex Command
« on: October 29, 2008, 04:11:52 PM »
Introduction

Now this time, some of you may know what Cortex Command is, due to the extremely
generous act by Scancode a few weeks ago. But i take it that not everyone knows
what it is, or that you may just want a rating before you try it.

See, Cortex Command is a retro-style platformer-like shooter game, which is still under
development. Right now there's only a minimal part of the campaign available, but Data,
the creator, has said that there will be a full and extensive campaign once it's done.
Although it's a WIP game, Data has been charging for licenses since Test Build 19.
The current price is 18 US dollars, but should be expected to rise as the game nears
completion. The current test build is 21.

In game, everything is based on the pixels you see. There are basically three types
of pixels: Active pixels, which are moving and have physics applied to them, passive
pixels, which are frozen and act like terrain, and background pixels, which can't be
affected by the player at all, and are generally behind everything.
This might be misleading though, as one might get the sense that you just control
a pixel or something, which is entirely wrong. Your (standard) avatar would basically
be a brain in a jug, sort of. This brain can control clones, robots, rockets and so on,
and you can freely switch between all your units.

But there are two things that really makes Cortex Command shine: The physics, which
applies to anything that is active, and even to terrain to a certain degree, and the
near-absolute modding freedom. Everything except the very core of the game can
be modified, and you can also create your own content. Even the core is starting
to get exposed with the new Lua compatibility! These mods can be anything from
a simple pistol to a hypercharged giant walker with a cannon that can blast half
the level away and so on.
Though modding may be hard at first, you'll get the hang of it pretty quickly, especially
if you have previous experience with coding, which I'm fairly sure many of you here have. ;)
Coding isn't the only thing though, because if you want to make your own stuff, you need
to make the graphics too, in the form of sprites. Cortex Command uses an optimized 8 bit
palette, but there are still limited options. If you aren't keen on making sprites yourself,
you can always ask some of the better sprite makers in the forum.

The physics deserve a second mentioning though, because as said earlier, pretty much
everything is affected by physics, in one way or another. If you make a gun that fires
a huge, extremely heavy projectile at high speeds, you're going for a trip through the
level too, because of the recoil. If you hit someone with that projectile, depending of
the sharpness/impulse of it, they may either just be wounded, pierced entirely, sent
flying or splattered all over the place, in the most literal sense. More things can happen
of course, depending on what kind of projectile you're firing.
You may also find yourself victim to one of the dreaded Drop Ship doors, which are the
hatch doors attached to a standard drop ship, and that can happen in various ways,
but the most common is being smashed to a mist of blood and gore. Or robotic parts,
if you're using a robot.

It's also an extremely violent game, as you may have figured. While it is mostly cartoony
in appearance, it is very common to see someone having his head shot to pieces by
a machine gun. Dismemberment almost always happens on every actor (Soldier, robot etc.)
in the game, one way or another. It could be a drop ship door, it could be an SMG, and
it could be a vicious body slam from your co-player. That's right, you can play with other
players too. Only on the same computer though. You can be 4 players in total, scattered
over two teams in whatever way you wish.

OK, now I've written perhaps the longest introduction in my life, so maybe i should get
on with the important parts of the review.

Pros

- Almost nothing is predefined. Emergent gameplay get!
- Lots and lots of physics.
- Almost absolute modding freedom.
- Fantastic graphics made by Arne Niklas Janson, AKA Prometheus.
- Tons of user-made content.
- Gameplay that's like a mixture of Worms, Soldat and Liero.

Cons

- Somewhat pricey for a WIP game. (I say it's worth it though)
- Can be seriously taxing on your CPU at times.
- Unfinished.
- Physics engine could do with optimizations.
- Collisions between moving objects can be dodgy.
- Community can be hostile/aggressive at times.

Screenshots

ScreenDump000.bmp

ScreenDump001.bmp

ScreenDump002.bmp

ScreenDump003.bmp

ScreenDump005.bmp

Rating

Cortex Command is an amazingly fun game, despite it being unfinished,
and it has lasted a lot longer than most of the other games i play.

9/10

If it was finished, I'm pretty sure it would land at a 10/10, even with
a critical rating from me.
I suppose it's the modding that gives it the longevity...

Official Website and Links

http://www.datarealms.com/

You can download the trial and buy the full version in there.

http://www.datarealms.com/forum/

The fan forum, where you can talk, download mods and such.

And now, i will end this frighteningly long review with an illustration, made by Prometheus.
(Don't worry, this image won't just disappear, it's on their main website)


p3lb0x

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2008, 04:18:16 PM »
I think a gif showing the arguably best feature of he game, the gore would be a good addition to the review :D

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd64/p3lb0x/H-weapons/H-80/H-80antiDarkStormslomo.gif
Game Review: Cortex Command


[not vanilla content, it's a gun from the mod pack H-weapons (which I made) and the DarkStorm clones by Darlos9D of the DRL forums]
Stop mousering people so much - Mouser
« Last Edit: October 29, 2008, 04:20:03 PM by p3lb0x »

mouser

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2008, 05:02:00 PM »
Really terrific review  :up: :up:

Deozaan

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2008, 06:00:28 PM »
I'd like more info on how to install or create mods!


lanux128

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2008, 08:32:21 PM »
a fantastic review for a fantastic game! i was a lucky recipient of scancode's generosity as well and have been having tons of fun.

@Deozaan: for more mod info, check out the forums: Mods & Scenes

Deozaan

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2008, 09:34:13 PM »
Thanks lanux.

@p3lb0x: How do you create animations from the game? And where can I find your mods?


Darwin

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2008, 11:08:01 PM »
I was on the receiving end of scancode's generosity as well... Haven't had a chance to play it yet, though (long story)  :o

Anyway, FANTASTIC review - I'm going to have to give this some time ASAP!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

f0dder

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2008, 04:33:44 AM »
Nice little review :)

A few comments:

1) What is "a WIP game"? Is that like a special indie category or just... *slaps head and looks stupid*... work-in-progress?

2) you shouldn't manually do linebreaks in your paragraphs, looks silly if browser window is resized to a small size.

3) don't use external images - even if the image is on their website now, there's no telling when they do a redesign that breaks your post.

Other than that, nice. I've watched p3lb0x play it a few times, and it looks pretty cute (although my impression has been that the current mods (pre-LUA) have been very simplistic and not much more than changing a few properties), never got around to giving it a spin myself though.
- carpe noctem

justice

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2008, 06:42:21 AM »
Are there any videos?

Shook

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2008, 08:37:54 AM »
1) What is "a WIP game"? Is that like a special indie category or just... *slaps head and looks stupid*... work-in-progress?

2) you shouldn't manually do linebreaks in your paragraphs, looks silly if browser window is resized to a small size.

3) don't use external images - even if the image is on their website now, there's no telling when they do a redesign that breaks your post.
1) Yup, work in progress. I suppose i should refrain from the abbreviations >.>

2) Ha ha, sorry, bad habit :P
I've been taught that there shouldn't be any more than 60-70 letters per line though, but it probably doesn't matter that much here, as it's not an essay I'm writing.

3) Okay, got it.

Also worth noting is that modding can be anywhere from as simple as you stated, to a near-total overhaul of the games functionality and content. Most commonly, people make the former, of course. I prefer to make large pack of (In my opinion) relatively good and somewhat innovative stuff, that exploits various aspects of the coding engine. Basically, it's about changing variables, but to make something proper, you'll need to do more than that. ;)

@Deozaan: Making animations is actually really simple, it just requires a program to make .gif images with. You just need to hold down Print Screen when "filming", let go of it when done (I bet ya never figured :0), exit Cortex Command and use your gif making program to make the gif. Personally, i use Ulead GIF Animator 5. Works quite well.

@justice: Plenty.

And for any of you who's interested, the mod packs I've made are this one and this one.

And lastly, thanks for the kind words, everyone! :D

Edit: Now they don't go to the same place any more >.>
« Last Edit: October 30, 2008, 03:51:16 PM by Shook »

f0dder

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2008, 09:34:48 AM »
Shook, wrt. words per line... that's really to be handled by the formatter (like, HTML rendering engine) and not to be done manually. Just split your text into paragraphs as you've already done, and everything will be fine :)
- carpe noctem

Deozaan

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2008, 03:11:17 PM »
And for any of you who's interested, the mod packs I've made are this one and this one.

Both mods links go to the same one.

EDIT: Updated quote to reflect corrected links.

« Last Edit: October 31, 2008, 01:45:37 PM by Deozaan »

Shook

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2008, 07:48:18 AM »
Darn, how come i always do small mistakes like that one? >.>
But now the links are correct...

@f0dder: OK. It also allows me to save a few joules of energy, that would otherwise be wasted on my finger moving all the way over to Enter, and pressing it down. Woop. :)

f0dder

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2008, 02:42:39 AM »
@f0dder: OK. It also allows me to save a few joules of energy, that would otherwise be wasted on my finger moving all the way over to Enter, and pressing it down. Woop. :)
Yup - and it allows the text to 'flow' better in different browsers and resolutions :)
- carpe noctem

mahesh2k

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2008, 07:45:02 AM »
Nice review  :Thmbsup:

p3lb0x

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2008, 12:42:59 PM »
Thanks lanux.

@p3lb0x: How do you create animations from the game? And where can I find your mods?

My mod is right here

And yeah, you can do what Shook does or you could convert a AVI file from some screen recording software.
You install mods by dumping the folder with the .rte suffix in the games folder and it will be loaded when you load the game
Stop mousering people so much - Mouser

scancode

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2008, 01:14:46 PM »
- Can be seriously taxing on your CPU at times.
- Unfinished.
- Physics engine could do with optimizations.
- Collisions between moving objects can be dodgy.

Build 22 is out!
Go review it! :D

Shook

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2008, 03:31:04 PM »
Good idea! Time to see how it handles my incredibly laggy bombs... If they're compatible, that is.

Also, just to underline your statement: Build 22 is out! And surprisingly, the price still lies at 18 US Dollars...
And needless to say, this new build is AWESOME.

Deozaan

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2008, 07:33:26 PM »
Anyone else have problems changing the resolution to 1280x1024?

It also stops responding frequently, or doesn't recognize updates or something. I was playing the new Zombie campaign and briefly started my jet pack to fly a short distance and it kept flying for several seconds after I let go of the keyboard until my mobile brain flew off the screen and died.  :(


p3lb0x

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2008, 06:45:32 AM »
Nope, works fine for me :\
Stop mousering people so much - Mouser

p3lb0x

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2008, 12:45:27 PM »
bump,

For anyone wanting to get the full game but thinks 18 dollars is a bit steep for this indie gem
It's 50 percent off today!

http://www.datarealm...ortex-command-for-9/
Stop mousering people so much - Mouser

Shook

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2008, 04:11:11 PM »
- So if you're ever going to buy it, do it now, as it's extremely unlikely to get any cheaper than this. ;)

Shook

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2008, 03:05:42 PM »
*Nudge*

Cortex Command just recently became compatible with Macs, so if you're a Mac user, and you've been dying to play it, now's the chance! :)

http://www.datarealm...for-mac-osx-is-here/

p3lb0x

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2009, 10:13:26 AM »
I'd also like to say that this game is the ONLY GAME at the moment that has mods that combined feature a russian bear akimbo wielding assault rifles fighting knights. It is hard to express just how AWESOME this is.

http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/5968/tempv.png
Game Review: Cortex Command
Stop mousering people so much - Mouser
« Last Edit: May 07, 2009, 10:17:25 AM by p3lb0x »

Josh

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Re: Game Review: Cortex Command
« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2009, 10:44:48 AM »
Only one thing is more awesome: