Saturday, February 5, 2011

There ought to be a law

I am trying to remember when screen filling boss fights became a must have for every action game. The more I think about it, it is not a recent fad. Step into the wayback machine with me: R-Type. Every R-Type that I have ever played featured a giant spaceship as the third level. It was usually about three screens long and two high, bristling with turrets and rockets and all sorts of cool looking ways to blow you up. Here is it from the exceptional R-Type Final:

My point here, aside from R-Type final being an amazing game that I probably need to own again, is that we have been fighting bosses that do not fit onto one screen for a long time. It's become old hat, passe even, and when Mysterio (a pretty lame villain when compared to Juggernaut, Carnage, and a retooled Goblin that was absolutely chilling) morphed into a three story torso the effect was probably not what Beenox intended. Instead of 'oh shit, he's really big' they ended up with 'really, that's all you've got? Well, this shouldn't take very long.'  And it did not, but it really didn't detract from what was otherwise a good action game that happened to star Spider-Man as imagined by four different out of work comic book writers.

Speaking of not lasting long, I started and finished Hydrophobia last night. The demo never really got much play, so I am not exactly sure what was fixed in the giant patch that was put out a few weeks after the game's release, but what I saw was really not that bad. The water moved in a way that was much like I would expect it too. Well, water would have to have the same consistency of jello and still be completely transparent, but it was still pretty convincing. Waves pushed the protagonist around right along with explosive barrels and other traditional flotsam, and it all looked good doing so; not good for a downloadable game, actually pretty damn good. There was only one problem: the game had no end. It didn't even have a fucking middle. A problem was presented: a giant ocean liner has been taken over by sadistic eco-terrorists who plan on either sinking the boat or forcibly converting all the passengers to level five vegan-ism (they haven't decided which is worse yet) and you need to survive and save your plucky Scottish friend who has gotten himself captured. It's a good start, and just when it looks like there might some sort of plot development or change in scenery it ends.

There isn't even to be continued message, or any attempt to recap what has happened. It was as if the coffers ran dry and the game shipped out that same day. This does not make me want to play the next game, and if one does come out it will sit there on the 'to be plated eventually list' until it drops down to 400 points and remember that I was interested in it.

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