Title: Grom ÖTerror In Tibet!
Strap: An exclamation mark in the title? Excremation mark more like.
I donít think Iíve ever seen a review score dive so far, so quickly, from my initial expectations. This didnít seem the usual two-thirds-of-a-page-tucked-at-the-back sort of game. This seemed like something of some interesting quality. But sadly, as can very occasionally be the case, /playing/ the game revealed it to be the mediocre lump of averageness it almost canít be bothered to be. The score tumbled in a blur.
Grom is an Adventure Role playing Strategy. Or as I like to call it, an ARS. You initially control the eponymous Polish hero (with a thick, undisguised, American accent), and his buddy, Petr, and you initially wander around Tibet during the 2nd World War for no discernable reason, until eventually something of a plot emerges involving finding some treasure from somewhere for some reason. I was gripped.
However, if the vagueness (and the inescapable sense that you might be playing a sequel, without having played the original) werenít enough, the story at no point ever appears to have two coherent, consecutive, connecting moments. Grom and Petr are life-long, best buddies, and seem joined at the hip. Until the next conversation when they hate each other, and split up. And the recorded dialogue follows a similar logical path, with vocals suddenly becoming text only mid-conversation, then switching back to spoken at indeterminable points.
You play by wandering around using a sort of RTS/RPG interface (green circles beneath their feet, pauseable to issue combat instructions), but spend most of your time in semi-recorded conversations which almost become perversely enjoyable to try and make sense ofÖ Until you are suddenly in combat and frantically click all over the place to find the AI ignores the aforementioned combat instructions at its whim. The interface attempts to meet both demands, and fails annoyingly at both, never leaving you not fighting with your mouse.
Special mention must go to the "bartering" element of the game. This occurs whenever there is an exchanging of money, and is thankfully optional. It involves picking two barely-explained emotion cards, normally from a choice of two, which you then play against your opponent. Playing a card seems to cause an entirely irrelevant sentence to appear on screen, which when matched with the computerís equally obscure response causes the price to rise or fall, without any pattern or logic.
Add to the mixture ingredients such as unpleasantly racist comments, and
apparent mockery of Hinduism, and youíve got yourself something not worth
putting in the oven. Or on second thoughts.
Verdict: Yet another Tibetan World War II RTS RPG adventure. Grim.