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E.V.O.: Search For Eden

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Reviewed by J.M. Hornbaker Now here's an interesting game, one that lets you take the earliest creatures on the face of the Earth (in this case, fish) and control their evolution process. If you play your cards right, you may even be able to evolve into a full-blooded caveman! "Search For Eden" is very unique indeed, mixing strategy elements like resource management with the sometimes fast paced fighting/foraging for food stages. And some of these enemies are no pushovers either. Just take any one boss for example, even the first boss (Keruselache if i remember correctly) can kill you in 1 or 2 shots, depending on how you chose to evolve your character. The game is non-linear and linear at the same time in that it lets you control your character's development and that you have to do (most) of the stages in a certain order. A title that stands out among the rest, Search for Eden has just about everything.

Graphics 10 out of 10

Very nice. There is no slowdown i have ever experienced, and the frame rate is very smooth for a Super NES game at this time. There is little or no pixelization. Now, in case some of you don't remember, back before this polygon stuff, we had these things we called "Sprites", and this game has some of the best, well lighted sprites on the system that i can recall. It even outdoes some early Playstation games. Each enemy in a given level has its own unique design, there are no "repeat characters". Like, there are not 2 fish that are the exact same only they are different colors. That is just one example. Great job and kudos to the graphic designers/coordinators who were behind this masterpiece.

Music and Sound 10 out of 10

The music is soft, harmonious, and always fits the mood of the game. Like on the map you hear a flute playing, and for some reason, it just seems to go good with the map. I don't know why, words can't describe it. I write songs and music for a band and I know good music when I hear it. Another example is in the first amphibian stage, (Where you change from a fish to an amphibian) it is what seems to be sunrise, or early in the morning, and there is light bongo music with what sounds like a piccolo. Again, the music and the mood of the stage/screen you're on always blends just right. As far as the sound effects go, from the simple *crunch* of your jaw to the *booooiiiing* when you ram into the wall in frustration, the sound is dead on. Even though a wall doesn't go *boing*, it usually goes *thud* it just adds to the feel of the game.

Game Challenge 8 out of 10

This is a tough one! When you first evolve into a new species, you have practically nothing, you are weak, slow, and couldn't jump if your life depended on it. And as you evolve and become stronger, your enemies do too. But the main reason this game is so hard is the boss battles. Now the first boss (Keruselache) is pretty simple to beat, but the rest are very much a challenge. Take the Queen Bee at the end of the Amphibian stage. It took me at least 25 tries to beat the Queen Bee! I mean, she can fly around, shoot stingers at you, move 3 times faster than you, and all you can do is a tiny jump (no, make that a hop) and bite her. Now if you can even get close enough to bite her, you're lucky if you don't get hit before you hit her. The only thing that kept this from being a 10 was the infinite continues you are given. But every time you continue you lose about half of your evolution points, so dying is not an option!

Game Play-Fun 10 out of 10

This game is extremely fun to play, the main reason being that your creature is like a little virtual pet that you help mature and adapt to his environment as you see fit. This is a feature that no game at the time SEARCH FOR EDEN was released even came close to. Also, as stated above, this game isn't a cakewalk, you'll have plenty of reasons to come back for more.

Frustration

Much frustration is to be had, especially during the boss battles, which are extremely unfair.

Replayability 10 out of 10

The multiple parts for each attribute of your creature that you can choose from make at least a few hundred combinations of things you can try. This alone makes the replay value go sky-high. Also the fact that the bosses never become easy, even after beating them several times, adds to the replay value and frustration.

Game Value 10 out of 10

I don't know what the original price of this game was, but I would give an arm and a leg for this gem!

Overall 9 out of 10

Overall, this is one of the best, most unique games to ever come out for any system. From the virtual pet style of evolving your character, to enemies that actually pose a threat to you, to the smooth graphics, the fundamentals of video games are done to a T. The only thing that this game lacked were more challenging levels, and there was only one ending, which is kind of a bummer, considering how long the game is.

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