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Welcome to the final
installment of our series on games you should play instead of Modern Warfare
3. Some of you may not be old enough to remember it, but long,
long ago, in 1997, development started on the biggest hype train to ever hit
the rails of the video game industry – even more hype than Modern Warfare 3. John
Romero, the genius behind Doom,
was set to revolutionize the first-person shooter genre. Released on May 23, 2000, this title
remains as one of the most overhyped flops to ever grace this planet. Of
course, I’m talking about Daikatana.
The pet project of Romero
and by far the largest venture ever created by developer Ion Storm and
publisher Eidos at the time, Daikatana wowed gamers from the very beginning of its development cycle. It first debuted at E3 and it shocked
audiences with its crisp visuals and technologically superior engine. Despite early positive feedback, the
original deadline of Christmas 1997 was scrapped. Instead, the decision was made to restart from scratch, as
the team felt that the engine they were using wasn’t awesome enough. After scrapping nearly 11 months of
work, the masterminds behind Daikatana soldiered on through adversity.
Come 1999, Ion Storm released a demo of the game at E3 which ran at an
astonishing 12 frames per second.
Eidos Interactive, which
had been funding Ion Storm to the tune of $44 million for the project, was so
impressed that they just had to have the entire development team absorbed into
their own company. An agreement
was reached in June 1999 for Ion Storm to be bought by Eidos. Engorged with hubris from their
incredible success without actually having released the game, co-founders Todd
Porter and Jerry O’Flaherty of Ion Storm left the company.
At that point, the game of
the century was nearly complete.
To boost sales even further, an advertisement, perhaps the greatest in
the history of ads, was released.
The ad shocked gamers across the globe into submission, and Daikatana’s pre-order figures skyrocketed. Romero was praised for his boldness,
and later in an interview stated that it spawned “a
great relationship with the gamer and the game development community.”
In May 2000,
some people were still recovering from the shock of Y2K, and the release of Daikatana renewed all the paranoia and fear that
drove the insanity of that event.
Featuring a magical sword called the Daikatana, players were amazed at
their ability to travel through time to locales such as Ancient Greece,
futuristic Tokyo, medieval Norway, and near-future Los Angeles. This concept of time travel had never
been done before, and to top it all off the game featured 24 (!) levels in 4
episodes. The addition of two
“sidekicks” who helped the player with puzzles and fighting with unbelievably
advanced AI technology for the time garnered enormous praise for Daikatana.
The first-person gameplay was so ahead of its time that some people just
couldn’t handle playing the game for more than 10 minutes at a time.
Now that 11
years have passed and the rest of the industry has finally caught up to the
majesty of Daikatana,
the game has faded into obscurity.
This is a travesty, and it must not be allowed to happen. So instead of pumping round after round
of lead into your opponents in Modern Warfare 3, head over to Amazon.com and pick up Daikatana, the most anticipated shooter of the
last century. It goes for a cool
40 cents. Sure, you’ll have to pay
for shipping, but in the end, it’s just a little extra money to play one of the
most astonishing games you’ll ever experience. Suck it down.