Carrier (video game)
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North American Dreamcast cover art
Carrier (キャリアー?) is a survival horror video game for the Dreamcast, notable in part for being fully 3D - then still a rarity for survival horror games, which mostly displayed 3D characters over pre-rendered backgrounds. In Carrier, players assume the separate roles of an investigation team that was split up from a surprise attack.
Despite the basic attributes of the game's controls, there were additional features to the play that made Carrier unique.
- Aiming: Though players aim whilst their character stands in place, players have the ability to focus their fire on targeted areas of their enemies bodies.
Once the player aims at an enemy, a circle of tiny blue triangles indicate vital areas on an enemy that can be amputated such as arms, heads and sometimes even torsos.
- Explosives: During the course of the game, players are faced with certain doors or blocked areas that cannot be accessed unless the player obtains timed explosives.
These explosives, once set on the ground, detonate after five seconds, giving the player some time to evacuate before detonation. The blast radius of these explosives are relatively small, but are still deadly, so it is necessary for the player to run away from the bomb before it explodes. Despite being used as a tool, the explosives can also be used as weapons for slow enemies that work in groups. However, because these explosives cannot be thrown and as only one bomb can be set at a time, the player must strategize before using them as a weapon.
- BEM-T3 Scope: Early on in the game, players receive an infrared scope used for biohazardous warfare to determine if certain individuals are infected with particular infections.
During game play, this device helps players determine if certain characters (NPCs in this case) are infected with the mutagenic strain spread around the ship. On-screen indicators help in determining if crew members are uninfected with a large SAFE symbol, while others display a DANGER symbol on the Scope's internal visor. Various sounds will also indicate a crew member/character's condition that are specific to the condition.
Because it was created for warfare, the BEM-T3 can also determine whether certain caches or compartments contain items, weapons or ammunition. Although the scope does not designate which item is actually a weapon or ammunition clip, the item indication will show up on the sensor, accompanied with a series of light sounds.
Players also have the option of zooming in on their surroundings while using the scope and it is also handy for looking down dark corridors and determining enemy distance.
Carrier also contains at least two notable bugs and glitches. The first notable one is that the game will occasionally enter a wireframe 3D mode for no explicit reason. In other situations, the handgun—called the "11'teen O' Clock" will be called and described as a flamethrower.
The background to Carrier involves some reading into as the current events in the game are influenced by past organizations that are pivotal to the storyline. Following the year 2008, the world faced an economical decline as natural resources and agriculture had reached a new low. A massive political divide ensued as the leaders of advanced nations decided to restrict the transportation of aid and agricultural items to their respective countries: those on the Southern Hemisphere and those on the Northern Hemisphere.
Naturally this caused a massive decrease in trade and employment for both sides that sparked great economic and moral criticism from the G77, a political organization formed by seventy-seven different southern countries. As conditions worsened for the southern countries, terrorist activity arose from the south, so much that the terrorist leaders formed a large group known as the Southern Cross. Southern Cross activity in Colombia caught the concern of the US military, so much that the US took a militaristic stand against terrorist activity and started the US-G77 Crisis, though the G77 claimed to have been uninvolved in the Southern Cross activities. Despite this, the leaders of the northern countries organized an international enforcement known as the NTA (Northern Treaty Alliance) to assist the north's military strength against terrorist activity. The US military added to this by constructing larger bases and vehicles against the Southern Cross, including a base in Mozambique and an enormous and technologically advanced aircraft carrier named Heimdal.
With the Heimdal as the US Navy's largest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier ever constructed and capable of launching a barrage of ballistic missiles, the carrier soon demonstrated its power on a mission called Operation Hurricane. Three Special Forces divisions were placed on the Heimdal to carry out an attack on a Southern Cross base as well as to pick up an ancient organism said to have been located somewhere in the South Pacific. The next day after the transportation of the organism, sabotage struck the engine room, though the Heimdal could still make its course back to American shores. Two days afterward, the Heimdal exhibited a period of radio silence, yet the ship was still heading for shore through the Pacific.
It's here that an NTA investigation team known as SPARC is sent to enter the Heimdal and discover what caused the radio silence. The first team that was originally sent in landed and entered the ship safely, but were quickly silenced; a second team was sent in afterwards, hopefully to assist the previous team. When the team's helicopter starts to land on the Heimdal, the Heimdal's guns automatically lock-on to the chopper and shoot it down, separating the team aboard the Heimdal. It's from here that very odd but dangerous mutants attack the main characters in their search for the truth.
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- SPARC team 2: This consists of the game's protagonist and supporting character, both of which are playable.
Jack Ingles A graduate of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Jack is a Sergeant for the NTA Special Forces originally from Montana. Though still young, Jack has apparently made a name for himself as he has been assigned to many rescue missions in his Navy years. He is a responsible man who is compliant in his actions, yet he will often lose his emotional grip when the chips are down, but he quickly picks himself up afterward. His younger brother was accepted into the 3rd Division special forces and was among many of the soldiers involved in the Hurricane Mission so naturally, Jack was concerned about his brother's safety.
Jessifer Manning A graduate of Harvey Mudd College with a Doctor of Science Degree, Jessifer is a Japanese American woman and native Californian who works for the NTA's Information Department. She is remarkably strong as she completed her Special Forces training with little to no difficulty. She is a very calm and passionate person, but she takes her work seriously and is dedicated to finding what she must.
- SPARC team 1: The original investigation team aboard the Heimdal.
Aaron Burke A graduate of the University of Chicago with a strong history of the study of political science, Burke is a well-respected Colonel of the US Navy who is known for his innumerous and successful missions. Col. Burke is a strong-willed man who is calm and decisive in his actions, though due to his experience he his prone to give orders most of the time. Originally from Puerto Rico, he apparently has had a past experience with Jack beyond being his trainer in the Special Forces.
Nicholas Lang The Captain of the 3rd Division, Lang was an important member of the group as he has experience in espionage and counter-terrorism. Despite the fact that he appears much older than he really is, little of his personal information is disclosed - even his nationality and Alma Mater remains unknown. He often seems self-absorbed (especially due to his trade mark tinted shades), but deep down he's a compliant and hard working individual.
William Noble An Oxford graduate, Noble was a researcher from the International Research Institute originally from Manchester. He dedicated his life to the advancement of medicine and he began to develop new venues in science that revolved mostly around Artificial Intelligence through organic means - namely, organic mechanics. He designed the main computer for the Heimdal ZOE, an organic computer AI used mostly for controlling parts of the ship. He eventually hid from the public for a while for unknown reasons (beyond the importance of his research) until he was called in by the NTA.
Leonard Thompson The chopper pilot for both SPARC teams who has, by chance, transported Jack to many missions, though he's thinking of retiring soon. Despite his good nature, he often treats others with a certain strictness as if he were talking to kids.
- Ship crew and additional passengers (that the player may encounter):
Captain of the Heimdal and a well established English navigator hired specifically by the NTA for delivering a certain charisma to his work.
The ship's doctor and head of the ship's medical staff who hails from Canada. Terry was originally a medical practitioner, but out of his virtue wanted to help those in the military and to broaden his experiences, which landed him in the Navy.
Allen A southerner who works alongside his crew mates on the Heimdal. Has a wry, but friendly personality, but that's all that's known about him.
Victor Roscovich A crew member who was detained after the engine room sabotage. Like Allen, there's not much known about him.
Sandra Kates A fellow worker of Jessifer's with the NTA Information Department who boarded the ship disguised as a plane engineer in order to observe and gather information on the Heimdal. She specializes in mechanics and she's a supportive person.
Mark Stillwell Same affiliation as with Sandra and Jessifer who got on board the Heimdal with Sandra with the same objectives.
- 3rd Division soldiers:
Eddie A Private in the 3rd Division Special Forces team aboard the Heimdal. He has a typical soldier's personality, though due to his age can seem a bit cowardly at times. He's a good friend of the Ingles', particularly Jack's younger brother.
Marcel A Corporal of the 3rd Division, Marcel originally hails from somewhere in France. An average soldier though he's often known for being compassionate.
Robert 'Bob' Ingles Jack's younger brother, Robert (or Bob amongst his friends and family) is a Lieutenant of the 3rd Division who used to be a jet pilot. He tries to retain the constant compliancey of his work, but the end result makes him impetous and even rash at times.
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AllGame gave Carrier a three out of five rating, noting that "there are plenty of aspects to Carrier for die-hard survival horror fans to appreciate, but ultimately, the title suffers from a number of problems and quirks that keep it from being anything more than average". The review noted that the large environments lead to a tedious amount of backtracking and that "when there are a lot of objects on the screen, the game slows to a crawl. This makes boss battles particularly obnoxious, since most bosses are fairly huge, and when you are with them, the game sputters along as if it were in slow motion."