The Cynic Loosed
Disclaimer: The following mini-reviews represent what could widely be considered an affront to the established conventions of game reviewing in several significant ways. First, they are of a length best suited to describing a game in the manner readers are probably interested, instead of the rambling, self-involved mind-numbing missives which I do so enjoy. Second, they represent a single perspective and are not universal statements on comparative gameplay, and make no apologies for personal bias. Third, they do not assume youÃ‚'re an idiot. Fourth, and finally, they revel in their absolute subjectivity, and any expression of disappointment that my opinions do not coincide with your own will be scoffed at as an intense experiment in vocal futility. It should also be noted that all the following games (with only one exception) were purchased with my own precious money and were not contributed, a practice which leads some paranoid schizophrenics to the conclusion that my response as a reviewer might be influenced by the developers or publishers of the game. I speak entirely as a consumer.
Part of me hates to revisit the issue of Doom III, but my ego driven psyche seems to be possessed of the mad delusion that I have a useful thought to add, though my conscious centers for reasoning and rational thought would be quick to argue against the point. However, the following thoughts beg to be burst forth in much the way that a festering boil begs to be lanced. I would not expect my thoughts to be any more pleasing that the oozing results of such a lancing.
Doom III was a disappointment. It was a quick slide from intense survival horror style shooter to a mindless and dim, grudging, slogging chore as you peregrinate through hour after hour of repetitive gameplay. I absolutely loved Doom III for exactly the first two of those hours. I spent four more hours feeling ok about Doom III, and eventually I just wished I was eating a sandwich or bouncing a tennis ball against a wall instead. It was, of course, a beautiful game on the rare occasions when there was illumination enough to enjoy the experience. In fact, itÃ‚'s probably the most IÃ‚'ve ever spent on a benchmarking tool.
I know the conventional point of complaint is the issue regarding the future, the flashlight, and duct tape. However, if the breaking point in your suspension of disbelief is that there is no plausible way to attach a light to your weapon while marauding hell demons populate a martian base, then you should consider checking your medical insurance for coverage of mental illness. It's a gameplay decision, and among the many flaws of Doom III a relatively minor one.
You love Doom III, you say? Hey! ThatÃ‚'s fantastic. IÃ‚'m not going to sit here and tell you why youÃ‚'re wrong -- you should be able to figure it out on your own -- but it didnÃ‚'t come close to doing it for me. It probably has something to do with why some people thought The Day After Tomorrow was a good movie, while IÃ‚'d rather watch a late sixties informational video on toe fungus. I need a narrative these days, and one that shows up more occasionally than once per every three or four hours. And, if youÃ‚'re not going to give that to me, at least give me interesting things to look at, a steady flow of new experiences. The more I realized that I wasnÃ‚'t going to be going anywhere particularly interesting most of the time, just tripping through one gory claustrophobic corridor to the next, the more I couldnÃ‚'t have cared less. Doom III makes Halo look like a kaleidoscopic journey through great varieties of environments, by comparison. Hey, itÃ‚'s a dark room with blood on the walls, I bet something jumps out at me from behind a vending machine, bank of computers, or ATM looking piece of equipment. Next!
Tony Hawk Underground 2
Hello, Mr. or Mrs. Consumer, IÃ‚'m calling on behalf of THUG 2 so we might tell you about our fantastic deals. If you order right now, you can have clichÃƒÂ© posturing by the digitized avatars of low-level pseudo-celebrities on your television set in less than forty eight hours, including but not limited to MTV buffoons rendered faithfully to their accurate levels of idiot pandering, skate boarding sellouts phoning in yet another game thatÃ‚'s exactly like the one before, and staple genre characters exhibiting Xtreme gameplay! Not only that, but we are adding, not one, not two, but literally thousands of annoying stereotypes including drinking Oktoberfest Germans, trailer trash rednecks, flannel wearing malcontents seeking pointless architectural vandalism, and many many more. Further, youÃ‚'ll feel right at home in a game thatÃ‚'s virtually indistinguishable from its predecessor(s), devised of exaggerated combined acrobatics with silly names in tightly confined and conveniently laid out locales. Order now and weÃ‚'ll include a cacophony of annoying songs, absolutely free!
Rome: Total War
Hang on; IÃ‚'m on a roll here. DonÃ‚'t worry, I can think of something negative to say about this one too. The box is way too red and not filled with money. Damn them!
Imagine, if you will, a giant ball. Now upon this ball is cast the abstract outlines of imaginary boundaries. Contained within these boundaries are ever spiraling levels of numbers, large numbers defined by substructures of small numbers with those numbers calibrated to coincide with the careful manipulation of a deep superstructure of Ã‚– you guessed it Ã‚– more numbers! Now some of these roiling waves of numbers you can change, and when you do other numbers change in apparently unrelated ways, almost simulating how the fluttering of a butterflyÃ‚'s wing in Paris can dictate whether the clown at McDonalds will interpret my request for no freakinÃ‚' pickles as an order or an anecdote.
I installed. I launched a full scale nuclear assault on the civilized world. Lots of numbers suddenly got very big (though some others got really really small). IÃ‚'d pretty much seen what IÃ‚'d come to see.
Leisure Suit Larry
Here is a game, which IÃ‚'m infinitely grateful to have not actually spent my own money on, and which IÃ‚'d conveniently describe as abysmally wretched to a degree that would redefine both words. You wonÃ‚'t like this game if you like either of the two following gameplay conventions: 1) humor or 2) fun. On the other hand, if youÃ‚'ve always sought to direct a stupidly grinning sperm through an interminable tunnel filled with red barriers, then this may finally be the game for you. Considering my firm position that any word used to describe this game is forever thereafter tainted, I will end this quickly. ItÃ‚'s bad. You knew it was going to be bad, but you had no idea how bad it was going to be. Take the concept of how bad you thought this game was going to be, quantify that value, then multiply by several hundred. Then, and this part is important, take that number, write it on a piece of paper, dip the paper in gasoline, bury that soaked paper in a significant pile of gunpowder, and then ignite (carefully, I suggest) the whole thing. If you go blind or are severely burned in the process, take heart in the fact that your suffering is less than if youÃ‚'d played Leisure Suit Larry.
And with that, I feel cleansed Ã‚"…