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Boiling Point: Road To Hell - Please Rate This Review
High: When everything works, Boiling Point is a delightfully addictive game.
Low: Bugs and glitches nearly cripple the experience.
WTF: Seeing a car disappear before your eyes is a common occurrence in Boiling Point.
Broken, yet addictive. Released for the PC in 2005, Boiling Point appeals to my inner masochist, my desire to be annoyed, frustrated, yet strangely drawn back. Rarely has a game done so much wrong and yet still been so easy to devour. A traditional critical analysis would condemn Boiling Point to the realms of the untouchable, for at times it’s a horrible amalgam of bugs, AI glitches and uneven framerates.
The world of Realia is vast and daunting: Daunting in both size and in sheer technical roughness. With bugs that range from random explosions to game-stopping glitches, three years has done little to rectify Boiling Point’s sagging mound of problems. You have an unpredictable gem, then, and it’s the game’s inherent X Factor that prompts your whittling patience to return for more.
You play as Saul Meyers and attempt to search for your daughter in the badlands of a fictional South American hotspot (Realia, as aforementioned). Civil-war rages and factions are out for blood. Akin to, say, Far Cry 2, you work for the different factions, although Boiling Point makes more sense in this respect. You can align yourself with who you wish, and you’ll reap the consequences accordingly. Working with the government, for instance, will prompt the bandits and mafia to view your activities with a steely eye, prompting violence on their part. The game doesn’t force you into any allegiances, although the results are interesting.
For the most part, Boiling Point is a First-Person Shooter with tacked on RPG bits for good measure. Fluctuating skill levels add a degree of longevity to the experience, although their implementation could have been more subtle. Longevity, though, is not a concern of Boiling Point’s for the most part. With a world as vast as Realia, it’s impossible to see everything in one play-through. Whether you’re willing to trawl through the bug-ridden adventure a second time is debatable.
Fascinatingly though, the bugs are possible to overlook. The gun mechanics are far from perfect, but tense gunfights do ensue. You’ll leave a base and walk straight into a rival faction’s midst, whereupon quick thinking and a ready trigger-finger are a must. The scope of the game allows for idle traversing, too. Lazily exploring Boiling Point’s dense forests and wild jungles is oddly pleasing, while the visual representation of a sticky, muggy South America is aptly conveyed. At the time of its release, perhaps most crippling was the behemoth required to run Boiling Point at an acceptable framerate. 2 gigabytes of RAM was, and still is, a must. Given technological advancements, computers should no longer struggle, and with everything ramped up, the game really is rather pretty. Sure, it can’t touch Crysis, but there’s a ruddy appeal to its look, which sits well with the half-baked programming.
Perhaps then it’s my love of sandbox games that prompts me to be so kind to this rough gem. Under normal circumstances, a title with such a litany of flaws would prompt an iron fist review. Alas, Boiling Point escapes my wrath. Perhaps it’s the nature of sandbox games that with such room for error, things never go according to the developer’s plans. But when the game does work -- when you’re driving along a bumpy track and witness rival factions battling for supremacy or when you’re performing a covert operation or dealing with the citizens of Realia -- Boiling Point seems steadfastly brilliant.
It’s a tale of two halves: One, crippled by glitches, the other, a well-made, original addition to the legions of traditional First-Person Shooters. In the end, the title is more appropriate than the developer's could ever have envisaged. It’ll make your blood boil, it’ll send you to the depths of your inner hell, but ultimately, salvation is at hand. Do yourself a favor and sample this gem; it’s an unforgettable (though bumpy) ride.
Disclosures: Boiling Point was played on a PC with a 256MB graphics card, 2 gigabytes of RAM and an AMD Athlon 3500+ processor. It was played for approximately twenty hours.
Parents: Boiling Point comes with a 17 age restriction. And with good reason. Violence is displayed and the game's political and violent unrest is at the forefront of proceedings. While there is no bodily dismemberment, ala Soldier of Fortune 2, this is not a game for the younger crowd.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing The game comes with subtitles, so all you'll really miss out on is some hammy voice-acting and the odd musical tune.
Last edited by AudioSoldier; 11-05-2008 at 02:43 PM.