Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The sound of The Police

Well, Alone in the Dark 4 is truly terrible. Wait...is it? Yes, on second thoughts it definitely is. How the mighty have fallen. AitD 1-3 were never the best of games, but for their time they were very good and very enjoyable. AitD 4 is neither of those things. Resident Evil picked up where AitD left off and built a new game genre from its survival horror beginnings. AitD 4 tries to best RE at its own game and reclaim the throne, but it fails miserably. The puzzles are so boring - 90% are of the Find Key to Open Door variety, and the remaining 10% are just a case of finding the right numbers for a combination lock. Some of those might even have presented a smidgen of difficulty, except for the fact that the game highlights any important passages in bright red lettering just in case you might have missed them. I've just finished the Edward Carnby section, which in the game's defense is supposed to be the more combat heavy and puzzle light section, so maybe the Aline puzzles will prove more of a challenge. Mind you, saying that, the combat in Carnby's section was predictably awful, using the RE-familiar tank controls to blunder around and then just point and shoot. Enemies frequently pop out of nowhere, often when you've just crossed the boundary from one room to the next, giving you no chance to bat them off. If it wasn't for that, though, it would be a walk in the park - weapons are powerful enough to take out most enemies in a couple of shots, and you're constantly being given new (but rather uninteresting) weapons and ammo. The final bad guy (there's only one 'boss', and he's the last thing you fight in the game ) is a joke, too. You run around him unloading every weapon you have until he falls over (literally, not euphemistically), then you jog past him to pick up a spear, and in a cut-scene Carnby turns into an Indian warrior, stabs and kills mr. BadGuy and then turns back into boring old Carnby, all without you doing anything. Whu?? The end game is similarly hands off. You essentially pick up a key after 'killing' mr. BadGuy, then use that key to open a door and...that's the end of the game. Someone else then comes along, says you've done your bit, and he destroys the island. That's it...after all your running around, you don't get to kill the bad guy or destroy the island...heck, you don't even get an annoying cinematic escape from the exploding temple sequence. Everything is taken away from you. Terrible.

And the story? AitD 1-3 were completely insane story-wise, so I wasn't expecting much more here, but nothing really makes any sense. You don't really know which bad guy you're supposed to be chasing until he turns up at the end...there's an evil family, but apparently some of them are good (I think)...I'm not really sure which of them were alive and which were dead. There was an old granny stuck in a bed in a tower, but I've no idea what happened to her. One second there was a shocking reveal that the bad guy was Aline's father, but then the next second it turns out that actually he wasn't... No explanation is given for anything. It's just...terrible. I'll be playing through Aline's segment next, so maybe more will be revealed there, but somehow I doubt it. I thought I'd do it while the layout of the game was still fresh in my mind. Hopefully it won't take too long.

What was the most surprising thing of all? The awful metal theme song that plays at the end of the game was written and performed by Stewart Copeland...yes, that Stewart 'I'm the drummer from The Police' Copeland. Terrifying. There's bound to be a youtube video of it somewhere. I urge you to find it, and then immediately turn it off again.

Not much progress to report in THUG2. I'm about half way through Boston, the first map, and not really enjoying it that much. Yay.

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