Chaser (video game)
|This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (September 2011)|
|Release date(s)||August 30, 2003|
Chaser is a first-person shooter action video game developed by Cauldron. The game is built on the CloakNT 3D engine. Unlike many contemporary science fiction first-person shooters like Halo: Combat Evolved, Pariah, WarPath, and Unreal Tournament 2004, Chaser's weapons fire modern-day projectiles.
The game takes place in a fictional future, when man has inhabited Mars. A coalition of 36 top industrial corporations establish the MARSCORP consortium in 2036 with the goal of terraforming the planet. However, in 2042, Samuel Longwood becomes the director of MARSCORP with the blessing of the UN. Longwood turns MARSCORP into the de facto autocratic government of Mars, with himself becoming its ruthless dictator who has zero tolerance of opposition. As a result, a stealthy rebel movement headed by Graham Castor is formed, whose ultimate goal is to liberate Mars. The rebel organization proves too elusive for Longwood and the United Nations Intelligence Agency (UNIA).
The game protagonist wakes up in the medical bay of the space station U.S.S. Majestic, having lost his memory. The station is under attack by a group of armed men wearing the red Martian soldier's uniform, who refer to him as Chaser. They kill everyone on board but killing Chaser seems to be their primary objective. Having recovered a gun, Chaser fights his way to an escape pod and flees towards Earth, moments before the station explodes.
Chaser's escape pod crashlands into the fictional city of Montack somewhere in the United States. Having arrived on Earth, however, he finds that his news has preceded him. According to the television, he is John Chaser, an aggressive Martian rebel and is now held responsible for the destruction of the Majestic. Shortly afterwards, he is forcibly recruited into the Vallero mafia family as an enforcer. The family is on the verge of a gang war with the local Yakuza.
The family implants a small remote-controlled bomb into each of its member to ensure their loyalty. To get rid of the bomb, Chaser visits a Japanese hacker in the Yakuza-controlled part of the city. Having extracted the bomb, Chaser joins the Vallero forces who are about to attack Hotel Nippon and kill two of Yakuza leaders. While receiving weapons and ammo, Chaser hides the bomb inside Vallero's Limo's trunk. After the deployment, Vallero learns of Chaser's unauthorized visit to the Yakuza-controlled area and decides to detonate Chaser's bomb. He dies in the consequent explosion. In the hotel, Chaser kills both of Vallero's attack teams, the Yakuza leaders and scores of Yakuza henchmen.
By this time, Chaser has had recovered a few vague fragments of his memory: On Mars, a vehicle full of armed men, including UNIA's fearsome soldier Scott Stone, attack the building in which Chaser was, gunning him down and taking away his body.
After the attack on the hotel, Chaser meets Kabir, a smuggler who promises a ticket to Mars if Chaser escorts Kabir's contraband. As such, Chaser sees to it that Kabir safely transports his contraband from the U.S. to a train station in Siberia. There, Kabir betrays Chaser and shoots him several times. Later, Chaser comes to, finding himself in the cabin of an old man who had nursed him to health. According to the man, just as Kabir was about to finish him, a armed man in black scares him and his men away and injects him a medicine. Chaser agrees to attack the local labour camp and rescue the man's son, who can lead him to Kabir. When this is done, Chaser infiltrates Kabir's base of operation, an old spaceport, and kills him. He then boards one of Kabir's spacecrafts and departs to Mars.
Upon arriving on Mars, Chaser is forced to fight the spaceport security, who eventually arrest him. In prison, he meets one of his old teammates who puts a plan of escape in action. Unbeknownst to them, however, everything is seen and heard by Longwood himself. Once they escape the prison, they make contact with one of the rebels who informs them that Longwood has been rerouting terraforming money into his own projects, including illegal human cloning and copying consciousness from one person into another. They orchestrate a plan of assassination in which they blow up a train carrying Longwood.
With Longwood officially announced dead, the rebels return to their base to celebrate, only to be attacked by Longwood's forces. After an extended gunfight, the base is overrun and both Chaser and Castor are captured. Longwood, alive and well, arrives to meet them. He reveals that the game's protagonist is not John Chaser at all but Scott Stone. John Chaser died before he could be interrogated. Aboard Majestic, Stone undergoes plastic surgery to look like Chaser. While receiving Chaser's memory, the attack interrupted the transfer and left him amnesiac. The attack was in fact a work of Castor. Longwood asks the game's protagonist to claim his identity as Stone and help him finish off the rebellion. Meanwhile Castor, who had acknowledged being responsible for the attack on Majestic, vehemently denies all else, insists that the protagonist is John Chaser, points out that there is no proof for any of what Longwood says, and implores him to shoot Longwood.
Chaser eventually shoots Castor dead. Even though the prospects of interrogating him is gone, Longwood is pleased. He has his men shoot Chaser and drag his barely alive body away.
- John Chaser: An aggressive member of Martian rebel who has given MARSCORP and UN a lot of troubles
- Mike Gomez: A member of Vallero mafia family and partner in crime of Chaser, he works for Samuel Longwood. It is he who tells Chaser where to go to extract his implanted bomb and it is he who brings about Chaser's imprisonment on Mars. It can be deduced that it is he who scares away Kabir and injects Chaser with medicine.
- Shimako Sakai: A Japanese hacker who extracts Chaser's bomb and introduces him to Kabir. She is killed shortly thereafter by a gang of Vallero's men.
- Kabir: A cowardly smuggler who promises to help Chaser reach Mars in exchange for his services. Chaser saves him more than once. However, when the number of the bodies that Chaser leaves behind increases, he becomes frightful of the consequential investigation by the Red Army and tries to kill Chaser. He is easily frightened.
- Samuel Longwood: Director of MARSCORP and the de facto dictator of Mars. He has diverted some of the terraforming money into bleak researches such as human cloning, memory transfer, and non-standard interrogation.
- Scott Stone: UNIA's elite officer and a frightening fighter.
The gameplay is reminiscent of the Quake series due to its fast pace. The game still has an active multiplayer scene. However, GameSpy Arcade stopped supporting the game in 2012; no game servers show up under the multiplayer tab of the original game's menu. The multiplayer community (active since the game's release in 2003) created their own multiplayer launcher called the CGP Launcher, which lets players view, join and create their own servers. Despite the game's infamous glitches in the story mode, the game can be easily modded and patched. This has allowed for developers in the community to create a stable experience for the multiplayer.
There are 12 official maps and over 300 community made maps. These maps make up the gameplay over four different game modes:
- ShockTroops (ST) - Two opposing teams have at it, the "Government Forces" vs. the "Law Breakers". Objectives vary from eliminating all opponents and stealing important objects to defusing missiles. Each player can gain rank points to obtain higher ranks in order to earn more money for a wide variety of weapons.
- Deathmatch (DM) - A free for all with an optional time limit and frag limit.
- Team Deathmatch (TDM) - A continuous battle between two teams, players respawn immediately after being killed. A time limit and frag limit are optional.
- Capture the Flag (CTF) - Two opposing teams must try and capture each other's flag and bring it to their own base to score points. Players respawn throughout the battle after being killed.
Chaser received mixed reviews from critics. The game currently holds a 66 out of 100 rating at Metacritic and a 70.04% ranking at GameRankings. Scott Osborne of GameSpot gave the game an 8.0 out of 10 rating, saying that Chaser offers "loads of thrilling, old school shooter action". Chris Hudak of IGN rated the game a 7.5 out of 10 rating for "cinematic presentation" and "artful surprises". The game achieved cult status when the gaming channel 'Inside Gaming' discovered the title, and proceeded to make a 14-part playthrough series.
- Total Recall (1990 film): A film with a similar plot twist in which the protagonists acts differently
- "Chaser for PC - GameRankings". GameRankings. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
- "Chaser for PC Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
- Scott Osborne (August 26, 2003). "Chaser Review, Chaser PC Review - GameSpot.com". GameSpot. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
- Chris Hudak (August 22, 2003). "Chaser Review - PC Review at IGN". IGN. Retrieved September 23, 2011.