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Mark Marrow
21 Oct, 2006

The Ship Review

PC Review | A hilarious new spin on the first-person genre.
With the success of Steam finally beginning to pick up, many small developers are spending time in making their games readily available for users. While The Ship began as an old quirky Half-Life mod, developers Outerlight have coated the game to make it a more fulfilling experience for Steam users.

The Ship is a unique experience that blends the elements of a few key franchisers such as The Sims, Quake and the classic board game Cluedo, in creating one of the most hilarious experiences to date. The Ship is an interesting new take on the first-person genre, where you’re caught up in the sick and twisted game of Mr. X’s hunt, which requires you to eliminate other passengers in order to get off the murderous ship. The only way to survive is by killing other passengers aboard, as well as maintaining a clean slate and looking after your bodily needs, such as sleeping and eating.

There are several modes in The Ship that all have a similar purpose – eliminate other passengers. In the single player mode (which can be purchased separately) you discover that you’ve been invited to a cruise that is under the control of Mr. X. After realising that the ship is in the middle of nowhere, and no one knows of its location, Mr. X gives all passengers the offer to become apart of his little game called the Hunt. He reveals that each passenger must murder another, so while you are running about trying to find your victim, you must also keep a watchful eye on everyone else. Mr. X rewards people for fulfilling the most obscure murders, such as killing people with baseball bats, letter openers and even golf clubs, with great amounts of cash. To add to the fun of the game, ships are filled with security guards, cameras and witnesses, meaning that you’ll have to kill your victims in concealed areas, or face having to serve time in jail. Once disposing of your first victim, the ship’s regulars begin to ask for your assistance in whacking others out of the game.

Look, it's MC-Hammer!

Look, it's MC-Hammer!
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The story is pretty undesirable to say the least, and the entire mode is fairly straightforward and incredibly easy. However, this paves way for the game’s main attraction – the multiplayer. Gamers can cause havoc in any of the game’s available modes against computer-controlled opponents and other players. The Ship’s main gameplay mode is the Hunt, where you’ll spawn in different areas on the map and given the identity and location of your target, all the while someone else has your location. Playing online is a lot of fun as you constantly run into other players, unaware if they’re trying to hunt you down. Nerves begin to kick-in once the action heats up, as you'll begin to frantically go through drawers and desks to find a small knife to kill your victim that is only in the next room, all the while your hunter is probably thinking the same thing.

There are other modes such as eliminate and deathmatch that also offer quite a lot of fun. In eliminate you must hunt down your victim and be the last one standing to win the match, meanwhile deathmatch is just a constant barrage of murder. The other available modes such as one-on-one duel feel a tad disappointing and really defeat the purpose of the game. If you aren’t into online gaming - although this game is pretty unenjoyable without it - then there’s also an arcade mode where you can play strictly against computer opponents.

In each of these modes the game incorporates a ‘money for kill’ system, which highlights how much money you’ll receive from killing people with certain weapons. Items such as handguns and rifles usually have a low value due to how easy it is to take out other members with them. However, wacky weapons such as pool cues, flare guns and pursebombs usually provide gamers will a nice little turnaround of cash flow.

Besides from determining who’s winning, money can also be used to fulfil your bodily needs, which are also important in The Ship’s gameplay. Much like The Sims, gamers must take into consideration the needs of your character to help them survive. You must eat, shower, go to the toilet, as well as communicate and entertain yourself with others. You can buy food from vending machines, dine out at the ship’s restaurant or have a few drinks at the bar. As you continue to eat and drink your need to go to the toilet will also increase, as well as your hygiene. Running around constantly will eventually tire your character out, meaning you’ll need to sit down or take a nap to subside the effects of fatigue. These bodily effects also work quite well in the mix of the game too, since you must also fulfil a daily lifestyle, whilst also having the intentions of killing others. This adds to the unexpectedness of killing too. You may be getting your groove on at the dance floor to only have someone run past you and murder you, or you could simply be taking a dump and have your head smashed in by a golf club. The money you are rewarded can also go towards buying new outfits to confuse your hunter too.

You can't help but laugh at some of the game's deaths.

You can't help but laugh at some of the game's deaths.
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The only downside to this aspect of the game is that it slows the progress of the game dramatically, since you’ve always got to keep in mind what your character needs. It can usually make playing the game a tad boring, since it's typically a slow moving game and can become tiresome if you're an impatient person. Combat can be a little tricky sometimes too. The only time you can successfully kill someone is if they’re facing the other way or that you’re quick enough to tap the attack button. When people have guns it’s also very difficult to defeat them since one shot usually kills you – and with guns being hard to find, it can make using these weapons a little overpowering.

The Ship is a fairly light-hearted game, which has a graphics engine to accomplish this. The cartoonish style, while not visually perfect, helps make the hilarious deaths more enjoyable. The game tends to look a tad bland and lacks any sort of detail, though. The game has an old 1900s feel to it, as portrayed with the style, as well as having music that helps create this illusion.

While The Ship can be a little dull in areas, it is quite often a very fun experience whilst playing multiplayer. Running around with others users is highly enjoyable, and killing them is even better. But with a very ordinary single player mode, and a gameplay structure that requires a lot of patients, it can quite often test the player’s tolerance.
The Score
If you’re looking for a new multiplayer experience, with a blend of new gameplay elements, and don’t mind its limited scope, then The Ship is worth checking out. Plus, with it being released on Steam at an attractive low price, it only sweetens the deal. 7
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related The Ship Content

The Ship sequel coming
04 Sep, 2007 Outerlight spills the beans.
Free weekend aboard The Ship
02 Nov, 2006 Murderous fun to be had at absolutely no cost.
The Ship Preview
02 Aug, 2006 Welcome to the ship where everyone’s a murderer.
6 Comments
7 years ago
this looks like a very fun game icon_biggrin.gif. i hope to have a copy soon, would be awsome at lan parties.
7 years ago
Hasnt there already been a review of this...

Awesome concept though, could have lots of fun with this.
7 years ago
Echo wrote
Hasnt there already been a review of this...
Nope, was a preview.
7 years ago
It was a preview. Honestly, I don't really understand why we didn't receive review code, since it had been recently released on steam at the time - and now we're given the code a few months after its original release. Publishers, you can never understand them.
7 years ago
Awseome review, the game sounds so original. As soon as I get a 'new' (ie old but new for me) graphics card I think I'll check it out!
7 years ago
This is seriously digging up an old article, but is this game available at retail yet?
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| More
  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  Mindscape
Developer:
  Outerlight
Players:
  1-32

Read more...
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