RUNEReviewed By: Rick Casteel
Long ago, a warrior was pitted against a great evil. A strong and ferocious fighter, he battled many foes on his way to avenge his loved ones, killed by his enemies. He survived many grueling battles to reach his goal, willing to sacrifice himself for his cause. This could be a description of this years academy award winning movie Gladiator, but this isn't the movie review section of the site! No, we are talking about the game “Rune”, the closest one of us will ever come to playing a warrior in a ancient time where there are no guns, laser pistols, nuc's, or flame throwers. Where all battle is hand-to-hand and advanced weapons are larger, sharper swords.
“Rune” takes place in the lands of Norse mythology. You play the role of Ragnar, a young but very large and powerful Viking fresh from his rites of manhood. Seems like you're just in time to join the other warriors from your village to fight off the evil Conrack who has been sacking and destroying all the villages in your area. It seems Conrack is in league with Loki, the god of deception, in a plot to bring about his release from imprisonment and the end of Midguard as you know it. This quest will take you through the bowels of the Earth, and to the highest peaks of snow covered mountains. You will fight goblins, dwarves, the undead, snow beasts and other tough creatures to avenge your village and save your world. And you have to do it all with swords, axes, hammers and other hand held weapons to achieve your goal.
“Rune” sports the latest graphics courtesy of the Unreal engine. It looks great. All the environments are well rendered and conceived. The guys at Human Head seem to know their Norse mythology and have crafted wonderful images of ominous, snow covered castles, dark dungeons, and fiery pits of lava and stone. You might think that the game would be dark and dreary but I never tired of the scenery. There are inconsistencies in the use of sound and music. There was effective use of sound effects for the foreground events that were convincing. Background sounds and music seemed an afterthought however. At times it was used to great effect and others was noticeable absent.
As you might gather the combat system used in “Rune” is all melee based. Interestingly, this game isn't much about battle. In fact, it seems it is thrown in just to keep you interested as you progress from one point to the other rather than being a major emphasis of game play. All conflict being hand-to-hand results in a quick, relatively simplistic battle system. Hack-slash, step back, Hack-slash, strafe, hack-slash, strafe, fights over! What I found I enjoyed tremendously about “Rune” is its sense of progression. Its much more about path finding than it is fighting. The paths are usually logical without being mind numbing, and the events, visuals and short cuts scenes keep you interested and motivated. I always wanted to see the next “thing”.“Rune” has many troublesome elements that Christians need to consider before playing. It is a very violent game, as the description above would suggest. There is the capability to “turn off” the graphic elements of the battles and spare yourself the severed limbs and blood. The game also takes place in a fantasy world that invokes the mention of other gods. This alone can be enough to turn off most devout believers as “thou shalt have no other Gods before me” Exodus 20:3, echos in our minds. The context of the game and its environment is very true to its legend and as such is very clearly fantasy throughout. There is no mention of or blasphemy against Christ throughout the game. Interestingly, it is easy to see the parallel in this tale to the story of Christ. Odin is the “God” figure, sending and guiding a savior figure through numerous trials in an effort to overcome the plans of the evil Loki (Satan). There's a way to witness to a friend who doesn't yet know Christ. Also, the fact that your character is motivated by revenge and encouraged throughout to seek justice through his own hand is terribly un-biblical. Romans 12:19 says "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." As this game suggests a day of reckoning is coming, but the violence will not come from our hands. Keep this in mind as you play through this game and be thankful it is Ragnar who is taking all the punishment and remember why you don't have to.
Year of Release—2000
The game Rune is awesome for those of you who love Middle Ages-type fighting. It has a number of swords & shields & various other items that let you choose how you want to attack. There is, as the reviewer has mentioned, two objectional items about the game. One is the violence, you can severe limbs & use them as weapons & there is considerable amounts of blood (all of this can be turned off). I personally am not influenced to be violent by playing these type of games, for me it's just a question whether it's sinful or not. Others however might be influenced, I suggest you flee from this game then. Another objectional thing is the mention of Norse gods. I do not like the fact that it is a part of the game & story, but it is taken from Norse legends & folklore. I just ignore it. There is a fun multiplayer where you face others over the net. The most fun part of this is 1 on 1, using an honor system (that is where it's one on one & you taunt each other to let each other know you're ready to fight). You might feel bad about playing others & “killing” their internet characters but it is just a game. A second problem is you might be in a game with people spouting off filthy language or profanity. Overall, this is a good game & if you can get past the things mentioned above it is worth getting. My Ratings: [3/4]
—Kyle, age 17
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.