CATECHUMEN

Content +4
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Starring:

Genre: Computer game

Audience: Children and young
adults REVIEWER: Michael
Ballmann By simply looking at
the score this game received,
you would not think it
anything special. However,
Catechumen’s merit lies in
its achievement: that a
Christian inspired game has
managed to achieve
playability. The basic story
revolves around the idea of
the Christian mentor system
during the time of the Roman
Empire. You are a Catechumen,
which is basically an
apprentice preparing to become
a full-fledged Christian, who
learns that your mentor has
been captured by the Romans.
Unwilling to stand by idly,
you decide to journey through
the catacombs of Rome to
rescue him. Aided by the
“Sword of the Spirit,” you
blast your way through the
legionaries, imps and demons.
That being said, an
examination of the pros and
cons can now be
undertaken. First there is the
gameplay. It is fairly well
done. The crowded corridors
make for a rather suspenseful
atmosphere, and the sound of
Roman guards caused me to
glance around using my mouse
far more than once. However,
being accustomed to secular
first-person shooters, when I
first “killed” a Roman
guard with my “Sword of the
Spirit,” it was a comical
moment as the man suddenly
fell to his knees in prayer.
Unexpected, certainly. I was
pleased when the little imps
that I shot actually
disappeared and red mist
flared where I had hit them.
Of course much of the game is
simple “find key, open
door” searches. With a
little variety among the
missions, the game could be
much improved. Another aspect
of gameplay that should be
expanded upon is interaction
with other people. While
searching through the
catacombs for enslaved
Christians is certainly noble,
it does not lend itself to a
populated environment. It
would be nice to see a
Christian RPG (Role-playing
Game) with more emphasis on
story and less emphasis on the
eventually redundant combat
that you experience in
Catechumen. Moving on to the
second point, the A.I. is
lackluster. Roman guards, imps
and demons alike reacted the
exact same fashion to my
movements. First I would rush
into a room. Operating, most
likely, on a coordinate-based
acquisition system, the A.I.
would check to see if I had
reached a certain distance
from the monster(s). If I had,
then the A.I. would simply
move as close to my character
as possible to attack and keep
running at me. With the Roman
guards this was
understandable, as they have
to touch you to do damage;
however, the imps fire
long-range projectiles, so
that did not make much sense.
Also, there is not even the
least attempt by the imps to
use cover of any sort to
protect themselves. Rather
they charge blindly forward,
as does everything else in the
game, to kill or be
killed. The graphics in
Catechumen are a pleasant
surprise. Backgrounds and
environment textures are crisp
and clean, which allows hearty
sessions of play minus the
upset stomach. While human
models are cartoonish and
lacked details, they are still
of superior quality to what
little else I’ve seen in the
Christian computer game
market. However, as a general
rule all creature models in
the game are blocky to a
recognizable point. Though
this could be improved
considerably, it still does
not handicap the game nearly
so much as the A.I. Sounds and
music are well suited to the
environs. Of course, it is not
the quality of most secular
commercial games. In
particular, I enjoyed the
Roman guards and their
dialogue. As a whole, the game
has done its job adequately.
It is undoubtedly the best
Christian computer game I’ve
ever played. It could use a
bigger budget for general
improvements all around, but
the only major complaint I
have is its A.I. If you are
heavily opposed to
non-Christian games, then this
game is a must-buy. Please
address your comments
to: Thomas
DeLong N’Lightning Software
Development Inc. 1050 Crater
Lake Ave. Suite E Medford, OR
97504 Tel: 541-245-9309 Fax:
541-245-4896 www.n-lightning.com

Rating:

Runtime:

Distributor: N'Lightning Software CONTENT:
(CCC, V) Very strong Christian
worldview with mild violence
and many redemptive elements.

Director: PROJECT LEAD: Chris Perkins

Executive Producer:

Producer: PRODUCER: Ralph Bagley

Writer: ARTISTS: Mikaila Hereth, Keith
Cawthorne, Andy Anderson, and
Kristopher Horton

Address Comments To:

Content:

(CCC, V) Very strong Christian worldview with mild violence and many redemptive elements.

GENRE: Computer game

CCC

V

Summary:

Catechumen’s is a playable Christian computer game about a Christian Catechumen at the time of the Roman Empire who journeys through the catacombs of Rome to rescue his mentor aided by the “Sword of the Spirit.” The gameplay is fairly well done although it needs more emphasis on story and less emphasis on redundant combat.

Review:

By simply looking at the score this game received, you would not think it anything special. However, Catechumen’s merit lies in its achievement: that a Christian inspired game has managed to achieve playability. The basic story revolves around the idea of the Christian mentor system during the time of the Roman Empire. You are a Catechumen, which is basically an apprentice preparing to become a full-fledged Christian, who learns that your mentor has been captured by the Romans. Unwilling to stand by idly, you decide to journey through the catacombs of Rome to rescue him. Aided by the “Sword of the Spirit,” you blast your way through the legionaries, imps and demons. That being said, an examination of the pros and cons can now be undertaken.

First there is the gameplay. It is fairly well done. The crowded corridors make for a rather suspenseful atmosphere, and the sound of Roman guards caused me to glance around using my mouse far more than once. However, being accustomed to secular first-person shooters, when I first “killed” a Roman guard with my “Sword of the Spirit,” it was a comical moment as the man suddenly fell to his knees in prayer. Unexpected, certainly. I was pleased when the little imps that I shot actually disappeared and red mist flared where I had hit them. Of course much of the game is simple “find key, open door” searches. With a little variety among the missions, the game could be much improved.

Another aspect of gameplay that should be expanded upon is interaction with other people. While searching through the catacombs for enslaved Christians is certainly noble, it does not lend itself to a populated environment. It would be nice to see a Christian RPG (Role-playing Game) with more emphasis on story and less emphasis on the eventually redundant combat that you experience in Catechumen.

Moving on to the second point, the A.I. is lackluster. Roman guards, imps and demons alike reacted the exact same fashion to my movements. First I would rush into a room. Operating, most likely, on a coordinate-based acquisition system, the A.I. would check to see if I had reached a certain distance from the monster(s). If I had, then the A.I. would simply move as close to my character as possible to attack and keep running at me. With the Roman guards this was understandable, as they have to touch you to do damage; however, the imps fire long-range projectiles, so that did not make much sense. Also, there is not even the least attempt by the imps to use cover of any sort to protect themselves. Rather they charge blindly forward, as does everything else in the game, to kill or be killed.

The graphics in Catechumen are a pleasant surprise. Backgrounds and environment textures are crisp and clean, which allows hearty sessions of play minus the upset stomach. While human models are cartoonish and lacked details, they are still of superior quality to what little else I’ve seen in the Christian computer game market. However, as a general rule all creature models in the game are blocky to a recognizable point. Though this could be improved considerably, it still does not handicap the game nearly so much as the A.I.

Sounds and music are well suited to the environs. Of course, it is not the quality of most secular commercial games. In particular, I enjoyed the Roman guards and their dialogue.

As a whole, the game has done its job adequately. It is undoubtedly the best Christian computer game I’ve ever played. It could use a bigger budget for general improvements all around, but the only major complaint I have is its A.I. If you are heavily opposed to non-Christian games, then this game is a must-buy.

Please address your comments to:

Thomas DeLong

N’Lightning Software Development Inc.

1050 Crater Lake Ave. Suite E

Medford, OR 97504

Tel: 541-245-9309

Fax: 541-245-4896

www.n-lightning.com

SUMMARY: Catechumen’s is a playable Christian computer game about a Christian Catechumen at the time of the Roman Empire who journeys through the catacombs of Rome to rescue his mentor aided by the “Sword of the Spirit.” The gameplay is fairly well done although it needs more emphasis on story and less emphasis on redundant combat.

In Brief: