Developer – Exortus Software
Publisher – Take-Two Interactive
Graphic Director – Alexei Danikine
Producer – Lee Brown
ELSPA – 11+
Tunguska: Legend of Faith was a game released in 1998, and ported to both the PC and the original PlayStation. I tried to research it further for the purpose of the review, but it seems to have been lost from the entire industry. There’s no Wikipedia article about it, people would be hard-pressed to find a review of it (which is hopefully where I come in), and although it was indeed published by Take-Two Interactive, it doesn’t even appear on their Wikipedia list of games they’ve published. However, this can all only be a good thing, as it is an awful, wretched game; even for the time was it so undeniably bad in every single way. In the development company’s lifespan, Germany-based company, Exortus Software, only managed to get two games out to retail; a game called WorldSpiral: Liath, and this monstrosity. The way I see it, it’s no wonder they folded if they were putting out games like this.
Graphics – 5/10
Whilst the visual quality is fairly average for the time, and all things considered, has not aged well compared to other early PlayStation games, it’s also conceptually weak. All the corridors throughout the castle in the game look the same as one another. There is no one standout feature other than maybe some of the traps strewn across the place, and even they aren’t anything special to look at. The opening cutscene at the beginning of the game was fairly well done, but from there, it only gets far, far worse.
Gameplay – 1/10
The game is anything but enjoyable to play. All it involves is basically walking around a castle fighting a few people along the way and trying to run past traps; occasionally solving the odd boorish puzzle. The combat system is extremely ridiculous and the game also gets unreasonably hard as the player progresses. The fighting is repetitive, there are absolutely no side quests to do in between playing through the main story, and by this token has no replay value whatsoever. It is for the good of the industry that this game is left as obscure as it is.
Controls – 1/10
Tunguska more than gave testament to the initial wanting quality of the PlayStation’s control scheme; it took it to a greater degree of inadequacy. With a control scheme similar to Resident Evil, only with hand-to-hand fighting sequences, the fighting system is confusing at best. There are often times when the camera pans too far away from the in-game character, and it’s difficult to see exactly what’s going on. The command registration system is also very inaccurate, as what player wants the character to do when they press certain buttons doesn’t always happen, and the character can be killed very easily as a result. Also, the mechanic of having to enter another room by clicking on a door on a separate screen to get it open is extremely unnecessary. Why did they not just have a system whereby the player presses a certain button once they reach the door, and then it opens? Why does a separate screen have to pop up? It’s absolutely ridiculous.
Lifespan – 1/10
On average, this game will take less than 2 hours to complete. But I’m very confident that most players will lose interest before then if they ever choose to play this game. Video games that fall under the genre need to last much longer than that, and it doesn’t even feel as if the developers tried at all to prolong the lifespan of the game.
Storyline – 0/10
Now, this is the aspect in which this game falls apart faster than an opinion about football expressed by Adrian Chiles. The ridiculous narrative centers on a condemned criminal named Jack Riley, who is falsely imprisoned for the murder of his wife. As he gets the electric chair, he is transported to another dimension, where he must traverse through a castle, and uncover its secrets. By doing so, he comes back to life and he is miraculously cleared of his crimes. That’s all that happens. It’s uninteresting at best. I have just spoiled the entire story by revealing what happens in the end, but to be honest, I would not consider this a major loss.
Originality – 0/10
Tunguska is original in all the wrong ways. I.e., it’s original in the sense of how bad it is. Not many games can boast such a profound and blatant level of inadequacy. I feel as if the budget used to develop this game could’ve been put to much better use.
To put it simply, stay away from Tunguska, folks…stay away.