Mace Griffin Logo
The two sides of Mace Griffin

Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter claims to be the first game to blend the First Person Shooter and Space Combat Flight Sim genres. The execution is far from perfect, but it's an amazingly fun game to play despite its many flaws.

Many of the problems with this game are in the system interface. There is no save on demand (which would really help this game) nor are there save points. Rather, Mace Griffin uses a series of checkpoints which are scattered inconsistently through the game. Some missions have them logically and consistently placed, some have too many, and some have way too few. In addition, some of them save automatically, some of require you to "Quit and Save" (there's no option to save without quitting), and some don't save at all! Loading your saved games requires you to scroll through a series of bird icons until you find the one you created your game on. It does not automatically default to your saved game, nor is there a "resume" feature. Finally, the in-game option menu doesn't allow you to adjust controller or sound settings (which are both pretty bad in their defaults). It's annoying to have to quit, tweak a setting, reload to test setting, quit, tweak, etc. HOWEVER, all these problems are forgivable - you do eventually get things the way you want them and get used to the interface.

What is less forgivable are the gameplay flaws. Mace Griffin has the worst jump system I've ever played. His jumps are wimpy, and response to the jump button is sluggish. What's worse is early in the game there are a few jumping puzzles, which amount to raw frustration. Black Label seems to have recognized this problem, though, and dropped the jumping puzzles later in the game. Also, the space sequences default ot the same control layout as the FPS portions of the game, which is nonsensical. I disagree with most reviewers that say the space combat is poorly implemented. I think they did a pretty good job with it (with the throttle/afterburner scheme being the major exception), but you have to use an alternate control scheme to make it intuitively playable. One other flaw in the space sequences is the targeting reticle: it's blue, against a blue/black background of space, which makes your targeted enemies hard to see.

HOWEVER, Mace Griffin is still surprisingly fun to play. The story is entertaining, even if a bit derivative, the graphics are high quality with the exception of a few anomalies, the selection of weapons is broad and useful, and switching between them is easy. With the exception of jumping and some especially difficult sections where checkpoints are too few, the FPS portions of the game are very well done and the space sequences are refreshing.

I should probably make one final note about the gore: Mace Griffin is gorier (is that a word?) than most of other FPS's I've played. Rockets and grenades spew blood and dismembered body parts all over the screen, which is rather on the gruesome side, and not for the weak of stomach. However, the fact that each species in the game bleeds a different color is a tad amusing.

Mace is arguably not worth the $50 initial price, but now that it's dropped to $30, I'd say it's a good value.

Mace Griffin Home Page