|Lifeforce Tenka |
Cover art of Lifeforce Tenka
The game is set in a futuristic action environment. The player character engages in battle with a number of various armed flying robots, stationary turrets, and bipedal creatures.
Lifeforce Tenka takes place in a dystopian future where a multinational conglomerate, Trojan Incorporated, is in the process of performing presumably unethical genetic experiments. Joseph D. Tenka, the protagonist, discovers the corporation's nefarious activities and sets about bringing them and their genetically engineered army down.
The weapon design differs from similar games of the time in that instead of the player character acquiring stronger more powerful weapons to add to an accumulated arsenal, weapon modifications are picked up and added to the same weapon (known as the "Self-Generating Polymorphic armoury", or SG-26) and switched between as necessary.
Development on the game began in earnest in January 1995. The graphics in the game were created using Softimage 3D. With Softimage as the construction tool, the programmers additionally wrote a suite of custom Softimage scene extraction utilities. Since the PlayStation cannot perform perspective correct texture mapping, what senior programmer Martin Linklater called "a dynamic multistage clipping and meshing system" was incorporated in Lifeforce Tenka's graphics engine in order to reduce the effect of warping textures.
The development team opted to make the game single-player only. Linklater explained, "The current design for the game does not lend itself to a two-player game. We have chosen to concentrate on a single-player game - which would be the most played version anyway."
Lifeforce Tenka received middling reviews. Critics deemed the graphics technically impressive due to the lighting effects and polygonal enemies, but some found them overly dark, making most of the levels appear the same. Most also stated that the game simply did not offer enough new gameplay elements to make it stand out from previous first person shooters. However, GamePro's Atomic Dawg opined that the unintuitive controls for strafing and looking up and down are the game's weak point, and the familiarity of the gameplay is actually what saves it from mediocrity: "... just when you feel like swearing, some ugly mutant charges you, and the ensuing adrenaline rush reminds you why you play video games. Tenka is trigger-happy fun." In addition, critics universally praised the bizarre and often gruesome enemy designs. Crispin Boyer of Electronic Gaming Monthly stated that "The spider-head bad guys will give you nightmares.", though he and his three co-reviewers said the game overall lacks excitement and variety. A Next Generation critic similarly remarked, "Occasionally intense, Tenka's gameplay is solid but never frantically drives the player forward the way the best first-person shooters do." IGN looked at it more optimistically, concluding, "At its heart, Tenka is a good, solid shooter. It won't knock Doom off its throne, but it is strong enough to contend." Glenn Rubenstein of GameSpot judged that though Lifeforce Tenka was one of the better first-person shooters on the market, its high difficulty level and lack of innovation would make it unappealing to all but fans of the genre.
- Rubenstein, Glenn (July 18, 1997). "Code Name: Tenka Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
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