There are admittedly very few original ideas left in this world, and the same already holds true for videogames. As such, it's not uncommon for developers to put a new spin on things by simply blending various elements from different genres into a pseudo-unique hybrid. More often than not, this is a fairly successful formula, but it's no where near a guaranteed success. Varnark in a prime example of when it fails. Within minutes of loading up Vanark, I can clearly see where the game draws most of its inspirations. Star Fox, Resident Evil, Wing Commander and Star Wars are just a few of the major themes that Vanark boldly borrows from. Unfortunately, in the process of co-opting all its ideas from other games, Vanark fails to define its own identity and pushes the term "generic" to all highs (or is it lows?).
Aside from the lack of originality, the overall flow of the game is horribly rushed and short. I like how the developers try to stretch the boundaries of the genre by including more story elements, weapons, and characters. I also liked the rather solid game engine, which was able to generate many polygons (large and small) within smooth framerates. It looked good by PlayStation standards.
Yet all the positives are wasted. The stages are too few and short. The extra choices (especially choice of wingmen) don't really have much effect on the gameplay. The worst problem is that because of the brevity of the overall game, the developers are forced to introduced new characters and storylines at a breakneck pace, and just about everything ends up underdeveloped. They should have either decided to play it straight as a traditional rail-shooter without all the extra elements, or invested more time into making a longer and more convincing game. Instead, what we have in Vanark is a game that sounds good on paper, but is horrible in execution.
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