Survivor 115


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Rating: 4.1/5 (63 votes)
| Comments (25) | Views (15)

PsychotronicSurvivor 115Survivor 115 is a challenging mouse avoider with a handsome, spare presentation from German developer Felix Reidl. You may remember him as the author of the mysterious and controversial Absolute Awesome Ball Game, winner of 2nd place in Casual Game Design Competition #4 (CGDC4). The attraction in AABG's case was the seemingly limitless layers of complexity hidden behind the simple guise of a pinball-oriented board game; and true to form, that is what makes Survivor 115 more than a mere Plain Jane game about collecting treasure and dodging bullets. It is, rather, a relatively deep and textured game about collecting treasure and getting constantly blown up.

Let's start from the beginning. There is a whisper of a plot line—some Shadowrun-esque malarkey about "dives" and "wetware"—but all you need to know is that you are controlling a little triangle with your mouse. You have two minutes to collect as many yellow squares ("data") as possible, while various gun turrets ("proactive intruder detection") try to mow you down. Whenever you start to feel overwhelmed, you should hit [Space], which instantly ends your game and adds up your score. If you don't hit the space bar in time—and this is important—you don't get any points. You have only one life, and if you die, your score is zero.

The interesting part is the way you can adjust the game's intensity on the fly. On top of the regular data squares, you can collect large circles marked with exclamation points. These will net you a significant score bonus, but they also act as booby traps, upgrading the firepower of the turret underneath for a while. A shotgun might fire a spray of four bullets rather than three, for example, or a missile launcher might switch from single missiles to clusters. If you really want to make your life difficult, try grabbing the prize that appears on the main central turret some time.

The other interesting part is that this 2-minute challenge is entirely scripted. The data squares always appear in the same patterns and sequence, and the gun turrets always turn on and off at the same time. So theoretically, you could memorize every twist and turn on the ride and come out okay in the end. If you want to compete for a higher score, however, you'll have to hit some trip-wires, which can totally scramble your game plan.

Survivor 115Analysis: If you're planning on playing this with a laptop touch-pad, don't. It's a bad plan. As plans go, it's up there with putting a toddler on a treadmill so it can work off some of that baby fat. You see that screenshot of your ship exploding? If you insist on playing with a touch-pad, that's your whole game right there. No, you're going to need a mouse, preferably one made of titanium, so it can survive when you chuck it through a wall. Because if you're the kind of score-hound who is willing to put serious effort into this game, you're going to spend half your time in a white hot rage.

The reasons for this are threefold. First of all: GAME REAL HARD. I am not kidding. This sonovagun is hard like the hammer of Thor. It is hard like a frozen rhinoceros wearing a vest made of bricks. Playing Survivor 115 right after any normal, reasonably pitched action game is the equivalent of having a house dropped on you in the midst of a hailstorm. You go from gritting your teeth to missing them.

Second of all, every death comes with the knowledge that you could have saved yourself, if you weren't such a greedy, grasping magpie. The space bar is an instant escape hatch, but if you're anything like me, you won't use it. Ever. You'll continue to believe you can dodge three giant lasers, a shotgun blast, and five guided missiles right up to the point when your ship scatters into a million pieces. Only then, as the remnants of your fragile, beautiful triangle avatar fade away, will you jam on the space bar like some cross-eyed, arthritic panther. Regret will fill your soul, joined shortly afterward by the irrational conviction that you can Do Better Next Time; that you can predict your own death; that your space bar hand will be quicker, smarter, stronger, prettier! Well, good luck, delusional human. This game was made for some artificial brand of future people, with photon matrix brains and cybernetic reflexes.

Third of all is a problem, one that creeps like a plague rat into too many mouse-controlled flash games. When you move the pointer outside the frame, your ship freezes in place until you restore focus. In a game like this, where a momentary lapse of control comes with an instant side order of death, that's a serious flaw. I don't know how to solve this problem exactly, but something must be done, because I nearly headbutted my monitor the 9th time it happened. If you don't see any more reviews from me, it's because I finally surrendered my impulse control and stuffed my logic board down the garbage disposal.

In most other respects, Survivor 115 is nothing but quality, an excellent example of how to tattoo fine details onto a simple play structure. It's worth playing at least once just to hear the cool soundtrack and see how everything fits together. But I write this review knowing that some most all many of you will quit after the third time you die within 20 seconds of clicking "Start". C'est la vie. This is a unique, skillfully-mixed shot of adrenaline cocktail that just so happens to require superhuman hand-eye co-ordination. There are worse things in life.

Play Survivor 115

25 Comments

Wow... played about 3 15 second games and I'm done.

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I got $7200 on my second try. ^_^

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$94800 on my first go.
Can't say I enjoyed it much though... probably benefited from a rather slow graphics card.

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I am nominating this for one of the most entertaining reviews. Ever.

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$2315 and I lasted all of 31 seconds... ~blinks~

and that was my _long_ game. (-_-)

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I get the simplicity, but I think this game would be improved either by a level-progression or an rpg-like leveling up. Because, as it stands, if you're not interested in high-score charts (and how many people really are, when there will always be people more dedicated to game perfection than you?), there's really no reward for hitting the space bar and racking up your points.

Actually, the simplest solution to this problem would be an entertaining end-screen based on how much money you've accrued. Something like what we saw in the latest Eyemaze game. Curiosity about the different (pretend) rewards was enough to keep me playing that much longer than I'll play this.

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Great feedback, excellent suggestion, nobody. :)

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That was the funniest review I've ever read on the site. More please!

Also: GAME TOO HARD

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omgitsgir August 26, 2008 2:02 AM

I plan on playing this at a time when my reflexes aren't completely non-existent due to it being 2 in the morning, but I have to at least say this:
This review deserves a reward for Officially Being the Most Amazingly Awesomesauce Review in the History of Everything.
The award should totally be called that, and this review should totally get it.

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I played a couple times, how come I can never get more the 6 of those data things, is there a way to make them appear more often?

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Great review...crappy game. Okay, it wasn't crappy, just relatively hard. And sort of pointless. I enjoyed the laid back soundtrack for the 2 1/2 minutes I played.

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6256$ On my 4th dive... Which lasted 38 seconds before I was overwhelmed.

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mysteriousracoon Author Profile Page August 26, 2008 8:42 AM

The link doesn't work for me. It just sends me to a German website with lots of links.

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mysteriousracoon Author Profile Page August 26, 2008 8:49 AM

Oh wait I found a way to make the page English.

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lasted 79 sec on my third try... great game! i find it much easier to play with a wacom :)

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Turbine2k5 Author Profile Page August 26, 2008 9:20 AM

Nice review, Psych. Game too hard! Luckily, I'm using a trackball (for now), so it wasn't completely hard. But everything spawns in the same spots, so the trick is memorization and planning. I like this game.

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ThemePark Author Profile Page August 26, 2008 12:51 PM

"I am nominating this for one of the most entertaining reviews. Ever."

I second that nomination.

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And I third that nomination, Psychotronic has done quite an excellent job with this one.

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likephilshead Author Profile Page August 26, 2008 1:44 PM

I've been looking for a nice arcade for a while now, so this hit the spot. This game is beautiful. I love how the course is the same each time, the whole thing has a rhythm to it. Most fun I've had competing against myself for a while.

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Londonbrig0 Author Profile Page August 26, 2008 5:22 PM

Best review ever

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Ooh, this is actually a fun game :o
So far my highest score is:
$7163 (9 classified files, 55 seconds)

Sneaky classified files, tempting you with points and then punishing you with a spray of bullets :P
I'm glad I bailed once I saw that TWO lasers activated D:

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This game is so annoying. I always get killed by that sniper that comes up at the 60 second mark. It would be heaps better if we can shoot and murder those turrets.

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Full Suvivor 115 weapon guide

Main central turrent (Spread)

This is the main turrent. Fires 4 bullets that travels in four directions. Fires every second except at 65-54 seconds. Usually easy to handle. Will be quite a pain if you get the ! from it.

When classified file is got, it'll deliver a 360 spread of bullets

Basic gun

They are located around the central turrent Reload time is 2 seconds. There are no ! to collect from these turrents. They are easy to handle.

Machine gun

There are two of them. Fires a stream of 4 bullets towards your ship. Reload time is about 5 seconds. Quite easy to handle, but will be troublesome when other turrents are shooting.

When classified file is got, it'll shoot a stream of 6 bullets instead of 4.

Missile launcher

There are four of them, two on each side. Fires missiles that homes to your ship. Reload time is about 7 seconds. They are very hard to handle, and even harder after you get the ! from them.

When classified file is got, it'll start to fire cluster missiles, which moves slowly and burst into multiple misslies when near your ship. (No. of missile depends on how many ! you got from them)

Laser

There are three of them. They are located at the corners. Fires a laser beam that has unlimited range, but requires a long time to charge in order to actually become lethal. Reload time is 4 seconds but time for it to become lethal is 1.5 seconds more. Lethal period is about 3 seconds. There are no ! to collect from these turrents. You can get to the other side of the beam while it is still green. It is lethal when it is nearly white.

Shotgun

There is only one. Fires 3 bullets and two parallel bullets towards your ship. Reload time is about 5 seconds. It doesn't fire often but it can be troublesome sometimes. It usually fire along with the sniper.

When classified file is got, it'll fire 4 bullets instead of 3.

Sniper

There is only one. And is a pain! Fires a fast single bullet towards your ship that is quite difficult to doggle. Reload time is about 2.5 seconds. Usually fires with the lasers. There are no ! to collect from it.

Meteor bolts

There are two of them. They are a real pain! Fires a small bolt that grows as it bounces around the screen and eventually explodes. Due to it's large bullet size, it is very difficult to avoid getting colide with them. Reload time is about 5 seconds. They fire only at the last 5 seconds, unless you get the ! from them....

When classified file is got, it'll be activated at the start.

I hope this will be helpful for getting the high scores

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I love this game:
My score: 21126
My place: 1

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