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Gloriously bad 1990s excess
While sounding promising on paper, The Raven Project is ultimately undone by its own ambition and turns out to be frustrating experience, one that mixes gloriously bad 90s-style FMV cutscenes with the occasional good idea and which turns out to be a major letdown. The game's premise, an alternative take on the Rebel Assault games, is decent enough: players get thrown into a standard sci-fi shooter plot revolving around the usual alien invasion, but which promises four distinct types of gameplay to provide some variety. Included here are several missions which take you from ship-based combat to piloting a mechanised walker, to planetary battles and tail-gunning duties and which should make for plenty of exciting sci-fi action hi-jinx. Unfortunately however, with the the possible exception of the tail-gunning section, everything is so poorly implemented that the game is simply a chore to play. The various styles don't really feel any different to one another, thanks to badly designed controls, while the HUDs are generally useless and make finding your way around a frustrating experience. The graphics fare a little better but things are once again brought down by the dire FMV scenes which are interminable in their length and are plagued by cheesy acting and poor dialogue. They do provide some unintentional entertainment however and might actually be interesting than most of the gameplay, if purely for the cheese factor. The game's only real redeeming feature is the on-rails tail-gunning section which does at least provide some excitement, with excellent visuals and fun gameplay. However, this one aspect is not enough to save the game and there are much better sci-fi shooters out there, from Descent to Forsaken to Panzer Dragoon which do most of what is on display here, only with style and excitement.