When it starts installing I see it installs maps as ".unr" files - meaning that it's Unreal engine based. This gets me excited - the Unreal games, while never my favorite, kick ass. Once it's done installing I fire it up and it prompts me to select my rendering preference. Huh? Software and Direct3D only? Wither OpenGL or Glide? I mean, these are APIs already built into Unreal, why would you strip them out? Better question - why is Software Rendering selected by default, when it says it was detecting my preferences? I pick "Direct3D" and move on. When I finally get into the game (there's an expository story mode you can't skip) I notice that none of the walls have textures. I fire it up in Software mode and the walls have textures - but of course it all looks like shit. I forgot how bad Software games looked. I read the little readme file and it lists the supported renderers - Voodoo3 isn't listed, but Voodoo5 is.
My best guess is that EA woke up one morning and said "We need a PC version of Harry Potter", so they got on the horn with Epic Games and bought themselves a license for the latest Unreal engine and just code-froze it right there, making the game on top of that version. Why they didn't go with the Quake 3 engine, since they have several titles (including the PS2 port of Quake 3) using it already, is curious at best. Perhaps they enlisted a team that felt better about the Unreal engine. I just think it's ironic and bizzarre that a children's game requires a fairly top of the line system whereas more mainstream fare merely requires what I've got.
In any event perhaps my wife will like the game.
I'm going to start to write a comprehensive article/summation of Bleem but for now check the one I (finally) finished and published:
The Nintendo 64: A Postmortem.
Oh, and I got Civilization III. I may never come up for air again.