The first-person shooter genre is a mixed bag as a whole, especially when these games get released on consoles. Most of these games are ported from the PC and for the most part they play better on a PC with a mouse and keyboard. Not only do many first-person shooters not get the controls right but many of them also suffered from slowdown in multiplayer ... especially when they are games released back in the 1990s. So how does AM2's take on the first-person shooter go? Keep reading to find out!
As part of an international anti-terrorist force, you'll be traveling around the world taking out baddies in the most violent ways. There are four default characters, each specializing in specific weaponry (i.e. laser pulse rifles, sniper guns, etc.) as well as having their varying attributes in speed and jumping ability. There's a pretty decent edit mode where you can even mix and match different weapons of other characters to create your own character. However, characters are limited to three different weapons: a general shooting weapon, an artillery-type explosive weapon, and grenades. While you don't have a huge selection of weapons, throughout each of the several stages in the game, you'll be able to pick up interesting power-ups; these include thermography that allows you to see through walls, a plasma cannon that shoots a ball of energy that bounces off walls, and of course the power-up icon that temporarily increases the damage you inflict. All these items and weapons are extremely useful, especially with the maze-like design the levels have.
Running at a fast 60 frames per second, good looking special effects, and solid visuals, Outtrigger is one of the best looking first-person shooters. Although the levels tend to be a little compact, they are all designed very well to take advantage of specific weaponry. The dark level Oeda level, with its labyrinth-like platforms and long pathways, is a pretty nice place if you've got a sniper's rifle. More compact levels really demonstrate the use of the reflecting plasma cannon that can bounce off walls to hit a target. I really enjoy the levels of the game as they are very well designed to give advantages to every character and playing style. When playing in first person mode (you can switch between first and third person perspectives), there's some great detail in the weapons that you're holding and some of the bosses look pretty damn cool.
Outtrigger looks like a winner, but does it play like one? Well, when playing with the Dreamcast controller, the controls are just acceptable - you have over a dozen different types of control setups to choose from. Still, when it comes to first person shooters, I always prefer using a mouse and keyboard and Outtrigger supports keyboard and mouse configurations as well. One small problem is when using the mouse and keyboard controls, you'll definitely notice the restricted amount of movement you have; you'll have to turn off Control Assist to get the full 3D movement. Otherwise you'll have full 180-degree turning movement, but you can't instantly turn 180 degrees with a quick flick of your wrist. Additionally, you're limited to the vertical viewing angle; you can't look completely straight up at a 90-degree angle, nor can you look directly over a ledge to see if a character is right under you. While you eventually get used to this, it's still sometimes aggravating not having the full freedom of movement with your mouse. In any case, the point of the game is to kill, kill, and kill some more. While you have several different maps (including exclusive maps not found in the arcade version), a great number of missions in the single player mode, and a good number of play modes, I just wish you had a few more weapons to add a bit more variety to the game. Otherwise, the game plays and runs quite well.
Despite a few nagging problems with controls, and a small selection of weapons, Outtrigger is a solid effort by AM2 giving first person shooter fans something refreshingly different than what they've experienced in past Dreamcast shooters. With a good combination of great single player mission modes and decent multiplayer, once you get used to the controls and the levels, it may be hard to stop that itchy/twitchy trigger finger.