Friday, October 5, 2012

Demo Friday: the worst cameo ever

My initial worry about playing XBLA demos every Thursday night was that I was going to stumble across more games that I needed to buy. That almost happen last week with Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit. The opposite possibility had never occurred to me: that I would run into three demos so bad that I would not be able to play them for the requisite five minutes required to come to an ill informed opinion. I went 0 for 3 last night with one game that wasn't for me, one game that was for me when I was in middle school and one game that isn't for anyone, ever.

Isn't this a level from the first Crash Bandicoot?
Joe Danger 2: The Movie is an exercise in reaction time and memorization. But Chamberlain, the voices in my head say, all game are exercises in reaction time and memorization. You just started Tekken again and you suck because you have forgotten how to play and your old man reflexes are no longer up to the task! Hush now, have another beer, I say to the voices, that may be true, but that is all Joe Danger 2 is. Honestly, it is visually busy and annoying as well, so yay?

Clearly I am not the intended audience for this game. If I wanted to play a game about scripted sequences and trial and error solutions I would dig up Stuntman: Ignition again. That game worked because it looked cool and you were driving a car. In Joe Danger you are controlling Joe wearing a jet pack or on a bike and it looks decidedly not cool. It is simple to the point of boring and I could not be bothered to play through the entire demo. This game was better when it was called Happy Wheels and it was free to play on the internet. Filling it with hilarious ways to die certainly doesn't hurt.

I could totally go for a sno-cone. Do you think he has any?
The high school I went to had a mall directly across the street. Inside that mall was an arcade of reasonable size. Now you know where I went after school every day and where all of my lunch money went. In that arcade was an original Double Dragon machine that was, for some reason or another, set on free play. Anyone could walk up, hit start as many times as they wanted, and brute force their way through to the end of the game. No one every played it through more than once. The challenge was gone, so the fun was gone, and we were all tired of Double Dragon.

Flash forward an indeterminate number of years and Double Dragon is back. Here's the good news: it is Double Dragon with better graphics, a few new moves and the same punishing difficulty. Here's the bad news: it is Double Dragon with better graphics, a few new moves, the same punishing difficulty and no free play option. Times have changed, I have have less time and would like very much to see all of any game I purchase. Usually this means playing it on medium. Sometimes it means playing it on easy when I tire of the game and just want to see the credits roll. Most games are nice enough to give me this option and I could not find that in the demo of Double Dragon Neon. So I died. In the demo that is supposed to sell me on the game I ran out of lives.

I have never been a fan of difficulty for its own sake. Nostalgia doesn't help, ether, because my only memories of Double Dragon are being bored with it. Neon is the second pass of the night.

More of my man face is all that awaits you.
When was the last time anyone enjoyed a point and click adventure game? Hold on, I need to put one qualifier on the: when was the last time that anyone enjoyed a point and click adventure game by anyone other than Tell Tale? No one? That's what I thought. Just being a point and click adventure game on a console is one huge strike against Red Johnson Chronicles, but I have to be honest, I never even got to the pointing and clicking part. I shut off the game before the exposition was over.

Red Johnson is a private detective in some alternate reality city. OK, I am with you so far. He just shot a guy in the head for saying that he would rather die than go back to prison. Questionable, but we're building character here, so I accept. Now he is in a bar and the waitress sounds like Tracer Tong's goons from Deus Ex and, wait a minute, what the hell is huggy bear doing here?

There may have been a good game hiding under the bad voice acting, bad writing and below average graphics, but after all of that, should I care? This game is a sequel. This blows my mind. Someone played this, paid for it with cash money, and enjoyed it so much that they asked for another one. I try to give every game a fair shot. Red Johnson doesn't deserve it.

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