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Head 2 Head Review: Rune

The Match-Up:

Name: Tristinian (a.k.a. Commodus) e-mail me

Favorite Genres: RTS, RPG, Adventure, Action/FPS, Sims

Favorite Games: Baldur's Gate, Half-Life, Unreal Tournament, Red Alert, Jedi Knight.



Name: Kristopher H. (a.k.a. Topher) e-mail me

Favorite Genres: RTS, RPG, Sims, Action/FPS

Favorite Games: Starcraft, Red Alert and Duke Nukem

Topher: Hey ev-ery-abody, prepare yourself for a pretty wicked 3Rd person, action/adventure/fantasy game from Human Head. In my humble opinion a pretty sweet game thats been needed in the market lately.

Tristinian: Yep, and as we've seen so far since its release, a few very major sites have given this game some completely opposite reviews! But...we're here today to give our 2 cents! So-let's go....Now, using an enhanced version of the Unreal engine, i think the first thing Rune does to a player is take their breath away with the graphics presented. It looks a bit like Ultima 9 to begin with, but man, it is pretty damn nice looking...

"The textures are amazing...even on your own character-details like blood on your arms, clothes and weaponry"

Topher: Breathless is one of a million words you could use. The textures are amazing and seemlessly integrated with objects and characters. Even on your own character-details like blood on your arms, clothes and weaponry...mmm-Its awesome. The environments you go through are equally impressive, colours, effects, details you name it.

Tristinian: Yes, they have scored BIG time with this game, and in terms of character modeling, with Julie from FAKK 2 being the best example of female modeling in a game we've seen so far in terms of animation and movement, Ragnar in Rune is the best i have seen for a male character in any game to date. But, now that we name him, perhaps we should tell the tale of Ragnar and the story behind Rune...Toph?

Topher: For sure, but just to go back to the character modeling - the unreal engine has been modified a bit with enhanced skeletal structuring and it works pretty awesome-for example-when you're up close on an individuals face, you can see some movement there not just up and down of the mouth. But yes the story. Rune is based on norse mythology. You know, vikings......Odin, Thor, Loki etc.....the main character Ragnar becomes a full fledged warrior (and defender of the town runestone-hence, RUNE) of the village at the beginning of the game - almost a tutorial you could say. Then the story really comes into effect with another village being plundered-Ragnar and gang go off to save the day only to meet up with an untimely fate. A former friend, now arch-enemy, Conrack wishes to have ultimate power with the aid of Loki.

Tristinian: But we can let him have ultimate power-right? So enter the heroic Ragnar, who can chop off heads, limbs, pick them up, throw them, throw weapons, taunt with weapons etc. With all these frills though, how does the game perform? Well, on the P500, Voodoo 5500 system, it ran smooth as a charm in glide at 1024x768 with 2XFSAA turned on. Not bad for one of the best looking games i've ever seen on the PC.

Topher: hell no we cant let him have the power!!! and ya pretty damn smooth i must say on a p3 800, ati 64mb radeon, 2xfsaa as well. And i may add you can setup the detail controls just like any other action game. Turn on and off what you like, althought turning everything on is always the better choice...tee hee. Control wise just as in other action type games, most of the controls are the same, with the option to set it up as you like. You definitely need a throwing key though because you can pull some far out moves by throwing your weapons at goblins and zombies!

"...ran at 1024 x 768 with 2X FSAA-not bad for one of the best looking games i've ever seen on the PC"

Tristinian: Oh yeah...you ever wanted to have the feeling of charging into a room with 2 vikings, dispatching the first one to approach you by quickly slicing off his head, then, spotting another one coming at you from the left, whipping out your Roman sword and throwing it directly into this chest, sending him flying to the ground? Not to mention, walking over to him afterward and forcefully retrieving your sword from your dead enemy's torso? Hell, picking up the other enemy's gushing head and throwing it into the local fireplace too?...Play Rune...hehe

Topher: Add a nice good CRUNCH sound in there and sweet candy. By the way the sounds are pretty good except for the EAX-i found it kinda annoying - you turn a particular way and the sound of water is loud as hell - u turn around and you can barly hear it. Didnt like that too much. But when you're walking around you hear the jingles of armor and weapons and foot steps. the slicing and dicing sounds are i would probably say average sounding like any action type. What do u think Trist? Theres not a whole lot i can say bad about this game. Maybe the repetitiveness in it, although its still fun, and the lack of different bad dudes to fight.

Tristinian: Yes, there are some bad things about Rune. The lame EAX, i can ignore-there are so many games with which it never tends to work properly. But, despite looking good, and being fun as hell to play, it has its downsides. The variety of enemies as you said are low, the game is repetitive-although anyone playing a typical 3rd or 1st person shooter should be used to that by now. And a large chunk of the game (especially the beginning) is spent in caves, dark and generally boring. Stupid enemies too for a while. And though it was worth it once those parts were gotten through..ehh..it still sucked. ALSO, beware of the sh*tty cutscenes. (in particular, the one near the beginning with the boat sinking).

"...It CAN be repetitive-particularly near the game's beginning..."

Topher: Ya, i admit i'm a fan of the cut scenes but they could have been a little bit better in some areas. And yes the dark caves go on for too long at the beginning - the underwater scenes are well done i thought though. Especially that big fish that will come after ya - didnt he remind you of the big fish from star wars?!??

Tristinian: OH yeah...that one. yes, true. It did. But, let's sum up. Rune. It's gorgeous to behold. If you are already playing FPSs or MDK2 or FAKK 2 you MUST be getting this game. Hell, it even has a makeshift 1st person mode for those who whine about 3rd person perspectives being too hard to deal with. (you know who you are! ;P). It's even got some gladiator style multiplaying. But, it CAN be a little repetitive-particularly near the game's beginning. Still, it's up for 3rdPS of the year in my book. 86%

Topher: I would have to agree with you on all of the above. With all its faults its just a fun game once you get into it. I think the viking theme has the most influence on my liking this game. Finally something different from aliens and guns of varying levels of cornyness i suppose... hehe that and the use of mini-runes which give each weapon a different ability and look and way of well hacking and slashing!!

Tristinian: Well, there ya go...the game is not for everyone-it is NOT an RPG, despite it's theme, but for you action/adventure fans, this one's for you.


Tristinian's Mark
Tristinian's Final Words
Topher's Final Words
Topher's Mark
I'd say if you're a fan of MDK2 and FAKK 2, you HAVE to get this one too.
The viking theme is cool-finally something different from aliens etc.

Rune in action

This shot is a little bleached out, but what we're trying to show is the fact that you can throw weapons into wooden surfaces, and they actually stay! You can pull them out when you need them too. They fade away after a while though sometimes.


Oh baby, this reflective floor room is something you've probably already seen a screenshot of before or will at least see again after you've read this. So to make ours different from other shots, we had Ragnar toss his Goblin axe effortlessly in the air and catch it again. Now we're better than those 'other' screenshots-right? err...right??


Howling at the moon...or so it looks like. Really, this is just one of Ragnar's many 'taunt' poses in the game.