It's sometime in the distant future, and civilization has become a blood-sport thirsty culture that has taken stadium contests to a violent, technological extreme. In Necrodome, you play the pawn who must take part in these barbaric competitions, using a state-of-the-art human lawn-mower to waste the unfortunate cannon-fodder who have been conscripted for mass entertainment. The Running Man premise may be appealing, but the levels are about as monotonous as a Kansas cornfield and, to be honest, the poor arena dwellers aren't really intimidating enough to be worth slaughtering. This game has shortcomings on the single-player side, but if you're a fervent 3-D gamer, and 3-D graphics and semi-complex controls float your assault tank, at least network play in Necrodome should provide you with a decent time.
You begin the game from a starting platform, and proceed to tread through each flat-land scenario, reaching way-points and activating switches - the ultimate goal being to retrieve a revolving Necrodome brooch (called a "flag"). Once it's retrieved, you have to return this coveted trophy to the starting point. The "Raider," your all-purpose destruction vehicle, is equipped with a standard cannon and a turret weapon (higher power weapons are picked up as levels progress). There are three different combat modes available from thereon. In regular mode, you're in the Raider and are able to steer it and fire its weapons. There is also a turret mode, where the driver climbs into the turret and freely aims laser cross hairs at hard to reach enemies. Finally, a runner mode can be initiated by ejecting out of the vehicle and continuing on foot as a vulnerable target, armed only with a shotgun. If your Raider gets blown to shreds, a new one will appear at the starting point, ready to be commandeered.
Though the single-player levels are kind of lacking, the controls mentioned above provide for some interesting twists during network games. For example, you can play over the network cooperatively with another person, both of you in the same vehicle - one seated in the cockpit and one in the turret. You can also choose to self-destruct your own vehicle, causing the driver to eject upwards while the Raider spreads its shrapnel, daisy-cutter style. If you blow up your own set of wheels and the other guy's truck gets toasted in the blast, then you'll either have to have a stand-off with hand-cannons or run back to the starting point, which spawns new vehicles.
Mindscape and Raven Software have brought us a first-person Windows 95 shooter that could have better employed its unique control abilities in single-player mode, but which has some real potential for network play. In the end, the game really falters with its tedious levels, which force the player to roam around for what seems like centuries in an attempt to locate the right switch or way-point. The 3-D movement is good for a Windows 95 title, but the performance still takes a ride on the choppy seas at times. Also, the animations of stuff blowing up - indispensable elements to your typical shooting-game fan - aren't too spectacular. So, if you're starved for more vehicular shooter action - and don't mind roving around the flat-lands for a while looking for it - then you might want to try this title out. Otherwise, it's not quite tank-tastic.