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G-NOME 
Software Review by Russell Albach

G-Nome Box PhotoI have been thinking about buying this game since I saw it demonstrated by Les Reaves at the May Alamo PC meeting. When it became available for review, I grabbed it.

 Jeff Zubricki questioned me about my computer's ability to run DirectX, as this game requires it, and even many brand new systems are reportedly having some difficulties with it. DirectX was created by Microsoft to increase realism in game video. Quoting from the G-NOME manual: 

DirectX allows your video card to take advantage of special Windows 95 programming for displaying 3D objects. Because Windows 95 did not ship with some of the drivers used to create G-NOME, you may need to contact your hardware manufacturer for updated drivers that take advantage of DirectX. For more information about DirectX, check out www.microsoft.com. " DirectX was not a particular concern for me, but my cpu was. I have read reports of some games that query the cpu during installation, and if the cpu is not an Intel, the game either does not install, or installs and does not run! If you check out some of the game and cpu websites, you will find patches to remedy this exact situation. 

 Since my processor is a Cyrix, there was some question whether this would affect G-NOME. NO PROBLEM! The game runs perfectly, and is a blast (no pun intended). I did check out both websites for Cyrix and 7th Level, and Cyrix and AMD are both listed as compatible. 

Installation is from a CD, and if you have autorun enabled, starts as soon as the CD-ROM door closes. You are given two basic install choices, with the only real difference being space on your hard drive, and game speed. If you have restricted space on your hard drive, you can choose to leave most of the game on the CD and play off of it. The other option places most of the game on your hard drive, but really speeds up the game. 

 Curiously, both options require you to have the CD in the CD-ROM drive. (some form of copy protection?) One advantage of having a fairly fast computer is fast installation. As with Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time (another 7th Level Product), installation was uneventful, and I was ready to PLAY! 

 G-NOME can be a single player, multi-player, modem, network, or internet game session. I used a keyboard, and the game is really for that, but I would like to try it with a joystick. 

 The basic premise is a coalition has developed a combination humanoid-animal like fighting machine,the G-NOME, somewhat like the 'gem haddar' on the television series "Star Trek-Deep Space Nine". Several groups are fighting over resources on star system Phygos. The mission you undertake is to covertly stop the G-NOME project. There are several people that you are joined with to make up a team, and together you try to accomplish the mission. 

Before you play the game, I suggest you take a tutorial of sorts. You can activate a training mission, with three parts. Part one familiarizes you with your HAWC - Heavy Armor Weapons Chassis, allowing you to move around, maneuver, fire weapons, and try out the many different mechanisms available. You are assigned to destroy an abandoned fortified building and this requires you to navigate the HAWC over some distance, and then use various weapons to destroy the building. During this session, you do not encounter any opposition. 

Part two steps up the training, as you are assigned to attack and destroy a fortified and defended target (it fights back). You are critique'd on your actions!. Each part increases the use of the many systems, and believe me, you really can't know too much (if you want a fighting chance to survive beyond the first encounter of the full game). 

Part three deals with tactics. Each of these training sessions will help you learn the game much better than reading about it, or simply jumping off into the deep end. 

You not only need to learn many control features to operate the machines, but to recognize all the various creatures, machines, and buildings. For the humans, there are 6 vehicles, 11 structures, and 9 weapons. For the Scorps, it's 6 vehicles, 14 structures, and 8 weapons. The Darken have 5 vehicles, 13 structures, and 7 weapons. Mercs use 7 vehicles, 15 structures, and 7 weapons. I mention all this because there are many details, and they are important to playing the game. You need to know something about each to accomplish your mission. 

There are some tricks involved, but as the manual says, "Some things cannot be taught; some things must come from the heart of you, grasshopper ". The manual is approximately 60 pages, and that is mostly for describing equipment, so USE the training missions. 

 This game is supposed to resemble another game called "Mech Warrior". I haven't seen that game, so I have no frame of reference. Generally, a game more to my liking would be "Titanic - A Ship Out of Time". After G-NOME, maybe I need to broaden my horizons. This game is fast in both audio and visual, and the graphics are superb. This is why the resource requirements are fairly high. If you have one of the new processors with MMX (MultiMedia eXtensions) included, such as Intel MMX, or the new AMD K6, or the upcoming Cyrix M2, you can run the game at it's fastest designed capabilities. If you don't, it will actually have little effect. 

 Since the system requirements are already so high, the game runs just fine. G-NOME has been optimized for both graphics, and audio, which leads to my sole criticism. My speakers. Until now, I have been satisfied with my speakers, as they were part of a SoundBlaster multimedia kit, and worked fine for what I used them for. Now, I am looking at a pair of 80 watt multi speaker units from SurplusDirect to take advantage of the great sound. It simply overpowers my current setup. 

As I mentioned, the system requirements are fairly stiff: 

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS! 
  • Pentium 90 class cpu - Cyrix and AMD also 
  • 16 MB RAM 
  • Windows 95 
  • 30 MB hard drive space 
  • Quad-speed CD-ROM 
  • 256 color display at 640x480 
  • MPC-compatible sound card and amplified speakers 
  • And don't forget the above mentioned DirectX (included)
I reviewed G-NOME on a Cyrix 686L PR200+ with a Cyberdrive 12x CD-ROM, S3 86C325 video card with 4MB memory, and a new Quantum Fireball hard drive with 9.5ms access time. 

 G-NOME is readily available locally for around $40.00, or can be ordered direct from 7th Level for $34.99 @ www.7thlevel.com/store/

 If you need Technical Support, you pay for the call. I am one of those individuals who feel there should be some degree of help included in the purchase price. Even though the actual support is free, I still have to pay long distance charges. However, since 7th Level charges relatively modest prices for what I feel are very good products, I won't complain too loudly. 
 
 

7th Level, Inc. 
P.O. Box 832190 
Richardson, Texas 75083-9922 

 http://www.7thlevel.com