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Review: Chrome Hounds - Xbox 360

by Steven Williamson on 25 July 2006, 09:03

Tags: Shoot 'em up

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Chrome Hounds - Introduction

In the late 1980’s, peace held the world in check with a tenuous grasp.

Two of the world’s superpowers faced off in lock step as mutual fear of nuclear war bonded them in a silent agreement for years.

However, a single devastating calamity brought an end to that uneasy balance. Deeply rooted distrust and ignorance of one another led mankind down the foolish path to a third world war.

Twenty years have passed since that day.

The endless warring and struggles have given birth to an unprecedented weapon of war – the machines known as “HOUNDS” which redefined the rules of battle.

Chrome hounds is a squad based mech combat game designed exclusively for Xbox 360. Three super powers are at war over the continued battle for world domination. Through the use of gigantic metal machines called ‘Hounds’, players need to use strategic planning in order to win and defend territories. In a series of intense battles over varying landscapes, a tactical mind is crucial - you’ll need to choose from a variety of vehicles, all of which have different strengths, and manoeuvre these walking weapons in order to outwit the opposing armies.

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Mech games are an acquired taste and I’ll have to admit I’ve dived into the review of Chrome hounds having never played the likes of Mech Assault or Steel Battalion.

Oh well, onto the action! First off you’ll immediately be aware that the speed of the game is extremely slow. The best way to describe how the mechs move is by comparing them to the Velociraptors in Jurassic Park. Although they don’t have the speed and agility of these dinosaurs, they do display a predatory-style movement that immediately thrusts you into the hunting mind-set. It’s clear that Sega made a deliberate choice in keeping the Hounds moving along at this slow pace. If they were any faster the game would be far less tactical, and in online multiplayer mode, enemies would simply dash across to the opposition’s base and take it out too quickly. The speed of the Hounds ensures that this can’t happen; you’ll need to don your strategy hat in order to breach the enemies defence. There are upgrades to speed up your mechs, including wheels, but they still don’t move with any significant pace.

Click for larger image

The action is far from fast paced but, for those looking for a more intense, deep gameplaying experience the speed of the game won’t be an issue. There are 6 ‘Hound’ role types to choose from, all of which will give you a vehicle that plays to a specific strength. Choosing from the Soldier, the Sniper, the Defender, the Scout, the Heavy Gunner, or the Tactics Commander will depend on whether you enjoy using a certain vehicle or which vehicle is best suited to the job in hand. For example, the ‘soldier’ is billed as the front-line specialist and has a choice of three weapons which you can switch between using the right shoulder button. You’ll often be switching between these weapons due to either running out of ammo, or because the weapon that is currently selected doesn’t do the required job. For example, the short sharp bursts of the gun on the left turret are ideal for taking out ground troops, but switching to the missiles will ensure the swift destruction of mechs, buildings, and base camps.