Dear Rare: Please give me the nine hours and thirty-three minutes I spent on your awful game back. KTNX, love deKay xxx
I have very little good to say about this game. But I’ll try. Well, the number of things going on at once is pretty good, but that only adds to the atmosphere, and doesn’t change the gameplay. Dull, linear, tedious, surprise-free, awkward gameplay.
Lord Drok (is that his name? Big metal bloke with mallet) was easy, but took aaaaages to kill as he was so awkward. After that, there was an airship level (why do so many end of game baddies have airships?), which was pretty crap. Then, finally, a fight with Thorn. He took ages to kill too, as his energy bar went down reeeeeaaaaaalllllyy sloooooooooooowly. Until I thought I’d actually use some of the fruit I’d been collecting and fed them to Thermite to upgrade his powers. And then Thorn was stupidly easy and died so fast I didn’t even get all the cut scenes with Kalus summoning stuff.
And the end was a bit abrupt. It seems to imply a sequel (Jesus, no), as there are loose ends, namely Mystic who just disappeared. Seems to me like instead of finishing the game properly, they just cut it a level short and made it look like they plan a follow up. If they do, it’ll no doubt be 2014 before we see it…
As an aside, my Gamescore now stands at 11101. I need to find an achievement to get for 10 points!
I can’t believe how mediocre this game is. Yeah, Rare have pulled some real stinkers out of the hat before (Grabbed by the Ghoulies anyone?) but this was so hyped, and so long in the making (it was originally a N64 title!) that it’s amazing that it was released in this, clearly unfinished, state.
Earlier today, I posted this at rllmuk:
I’m five hours in, and have just done the catapult bit. Having no proper way of rolling the ammo for them was a pain. As was rolling the egg bombs before it. But that’s just the most recent set of niggles I’ve had…
CONTROLS! Especially aiming controls. Why is it, that Flex/Chilla/Ash/Deep Blue all have different aiming controls? Some use the left stick, some the right. Some you have to hold the trigger to keep aiming, some it’s a toggle. Some you have up-is-down, others up-is-up. Gah! In fact, using the triggers for attacks at all is bollocks and makes no sense at all for any character other than Pummel Weed, and even then it wasn’t necessary. And Deep Blue in the water is just totally uncontrollable anyway. And pressing LT+RT at the same time to do Kameo’s kickflip only works 20% of the time as you jump or hover accidently. The reverse is true for Pummel Weed, as you “box” with LT and RT alternating, and trigger the LT+RT move inadvertantly. Stupid.
GRAPHICS! It’s all in slime-o-vision. Everything looks too shiny, or like it’s made of hot wax. There’s no continuity with the quality of textures – 99% of the Badlands looks like it hasn’t been drawn properly. The “fungus-grass” in caves looks like a 2D sprite, as you can rotate around it and it seems to stay facing you, a-la-Doom corpses. It’s impossible to tell the difference between warriors on your side, and trolls, until you’re actually punching them. And there’s slowdown when you smash crates and stuff sometimes too.
SOUND! The regional accents are funny for five seconds. Why does the music get all dramatic as you approach the entrance to the Snow Top Mountain area, and then nothing dramatic actually happen? Also, Ortho got in a speech repeat-loop just before I entered the Water Temple. He did his speech about now I had Deep Blue I could enter, then some bystander said something, then Ortho repeated his bit, then he repeated it again, and again, and again, until I actually entered the hole under the waterfall.
TARGETING! Specifically, Pummel Weed. Can *I* choose who I want to fight, please? The troll right next to me is more important than the troll behind a rock who is fighting an elf.
REPETITON! How many times do I need to use Pummel Weed to duck under vines? Or Major Ruin to spin up a ramp? Or Ash to light three torches to unlock a door? Or Rubble to chuck rocks in things’ mouths?
SURPRISE-FREE! Every room you walk into, you know what’s going to happen. Look! A big round area with lava fountains! I wonder if those fire demons I have to hose down will… oh look! There they are! Oh! I’ve opened another bit in the Water Temple, and I have to swim round the water area again. I wonder if… yes! There’s another boat to destroy! And all the Shadow Trolls are exactly the same! Oh, there’s a bomb-egg dragon flying round, I wonder if I’ll… Joy! A rock blocking my way! And I’d guessed three seconds after meeting her that the witch lizard woman with the crystal eye would be a baddie, am I right? Don’t tell me!
STUPID PLOT DIALOGUE! Ortho says “Hmm, I’ll bet we need to find an Elemental Spirit to help us negotiate this mountain!”. How do you know? I’ve only just got here for the first time ever! “I’ve just remembered! These plants are called Lickathingies, I’ll bet Flex can grab their tongues!”. “You’ll need to get up there and see if you can find some catapults of our own, and look around for something you can use as ammo!”. Wow – what a coincidence – catapults *and* ammo, just standing there! “Horses are scared of villages and castles” – WHAT?
The whole thing seems rushed. Clearly, they’ve not had much time to spend developing it. Although wasn’t it supposed to be an Atari 7800 launch title at some point? I’m not that pleased I paid £7, to be honest. I’d be gutted to have paid £50 at launch.
Blimey, this game is dull. I killed the tree man (saving Uncle ForgotHisName), and then made it back to The Badlands, where I had to kill two tanks using one half of the technique used to kill the tree. Then it was off to Waterfall Place, where I found another Shadow Thing, which I had to kill using the exact same method as the previous two I’d found. I’ve now got Major Ruin back, in addition to Ash the dragon given to me by Kameo’s uncle.
I’m now en-route to the next Shadow Thing, having to light loads of torches on the way. No skill involved, just lots of torches to light. Joy.
“What is this?” I hear you cry, “He’s bought Kameo? Even though he has publicly slated it on many occasions, and absolutely hated the demos?”. Yes, gentle reader, this is correct.
In my defence, it was only £6.95 and I can’t resist a bargain, no matter how crap the item is (see Lady Cruncher). And I thought, it’s only fair to actually play the full game if I’m so hard on it.
And oh, was I so right.
OK. It isn’t crap. It’s just not the flagship launch title Microsoft said it would be. It’s reasonably pretty (although you can’t help feeling everything is covered with slime, and the distance haze is hiding some technical limitations), but isn’t what I’d call “next-gen”. Most importantly, however, the controls are broken.
Pressing the trigger buttons to pull off attacks just feels wrong. And as for pressing both together to make Kameo kickflip – no. Just, no. 90% of the time it doesn’t work and you end up jumping or hovering instead. And the camera! It just swings around and goes into fixed mode for no reason than to try and show off the scenery, causing you to die. And the targeting! I’d like to choose which baddies I want to punch please, not you, Mr CPU. And the repetition! Yes, working out that you have to use Pummel Weed’s duck under things to, uh, duck under vines was great. Having to work it out (or rather, not) for the 357632nd time is not great. Ditto working out about throwing rocks in statue’s mouths. Ditto working out how to dispatch baddies hiding under shells. And so on.
Anyway. I’ve reached the tree boss holding some bloke (my cousin? Uncle?). And guess what? Rocks in the gob! Amazing.