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Chromadrome Review

Developer: Alpha 72 Games Publisher: Alpha 72 Games
Release Date: June 23, 2004 Also On: None

It is hard to describe Chromadrome. Often this is a good sign and so it is with this one. There is no other game like Chromadrome. One of the games that come closest to it probably is Excitebike but Chromadrome has a 3D 3rd person view behind the thing you steer like other modern racing games. There is a fundamental difference to standard racing games though: there are no turns. Oh, and you control it with the mouse.

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You can go left and right on the track by moving your mouse left and right, but you cannot turn. The track is straight and has no curves. However, it has loops, holes and other nasty things, and to avoid or master them you go left or right. Another difference from other racing games is that you cannot actively accelerate or brake. It is still good to be fast and you accelerate by driving over arrows making you faster and collect rings.

Just going left and right is challenging enough, but the developers obviously thought it would be too simple so they added shooting. You shoot with your mouse button; collected rings increase your firepower. Of course there has to be something to shoot, too. This is probably the point where I have to tell you about the story and setting of Chromadrome.

The Chroma games are a series of tests developed by aliens to try the abilities of humans. The first game, Chromentum, was a puzzle game challenging the logic thinking abilities of the human being. The second one, which is Chromadrome, is about testing the reflexes. You do not steer a car but a golden ball with eyes, a Chromate. There are other Chromates on the track that make you faster, big Chromates that throw you off the track and silver Chromates that slow you down. These last ones are the ones you can shoot off the track. Shooting is certainly not the most important or challenging part of the gameplay but it is a nice addition.

What do the tracks look like? Well, you never really know before you start them. They are randomly generated by the game on the fly from a selection of pieces like different loops or jumps. It depends on the mode what is in the selection. Depending on the mode you play you can vary speed (1-100%), length or difficulty of the track. The goal can also be different. In most modes you lose instantly if you fall off the track, so the goal is to survive until the finish line, but you might also want to get a good high score or time or achieve special goals.

There are a real lot of different game modes. There are 10 levels of increasing difficulty, each in easy and hard mode, unlocking one after the other. The 10th level even features an end boss. Then there is a mode where you can practice special track segments and collect medals. This is not all; there are endless modes for infinite high score hunting and even three completely different split-screen multiplayer modes. To play these you simply plug a second USB mouse into the computer.

This is really an amazing lot of combinations and it makes Chromadrome well worth its money. The simple concept behind the game is played out to its full potential and the end product is amazingly addictive. You do not notice that this game has been made by some guy in his basement even though the pretty annoying music, the weird cheap graphical background effects and the simple design are alarming signs. Who cares about the presentation if the game is fun and made with love?

You have to check out the Chromadrome demo and even if the game is not your style, show it to your children, your wife/husband or even your grandparents. It is the perfect casual game. You can even turn off the annoying music and background effects if you want to keep your sanity!

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 5
Gameplay: 8.5
Creativity: 9.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 10
Final: 8.5
Written by Ortwin Review Guide