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Supreme League of Patriots - Issue 3: Ice Cold in Ellis (PC) artwork

Supreme League of Patriots - Issue 3: Ice Cold in Ellis (PC) review

"Supreme Progression"

Early on in Supreme League of Patriots - Issue 3: Ice Cold in Ellis, thereís a throw-away joke made about how The Purple Patriotís costume contains a pair of shoes with bells on as little pixie boots was the only thing he could find to match his ludicrous outfit. For the rest of the game, he makes little ringing noises whenever he walks.

Itís commendable commitment to a joke and, in a lot of ways, sums up not only the third episode, but the series as a whole. Itís not a wholly original premises -- pair up an odd couple with violently opposing political leanings and then poke fun at anything and everything. Patriots isnít above lampooning itself, its cast of characters or the genre that spawns it, providing a shotgun approach to mockery that I canít help but enjoy. Itís also equally fair-handed with how it spreads out its attacks: so many games who slap targets on exaggerated caricatures of strong political views let bias slip in and act more aggressively towards one side than the other. The gameís main character, The Purple Patriot is a heavily republican idiot -- but heís not an idiot because of his world view; heís an idiot because heís a bumbling fool. And heís surrounded by liberals.

This is mostly embodied by his unwilling sidekick, Melvin, who tags along out of obligation and the certainty that his friend would end up killing himself if left alone to his own devices for too long. Itís an interesting dynamic that has time to be fully explored as so much of Supreme League of Patriots wraps the puzzles up in dialogue rather than inventory combinations. Itís not always the case, and relying on random items found around the scene has certainly been on the rise since the first episode, but itís a nice change of pace to watch solutions start coming together through talking to the right person and trying to manipulate your way through the conversation.

Manipulation is a key subject in Issue 3. The first issue was an origins tale, and the main villain fought in the second episode was all the red tape you needed to slice though to become a fully licensed super hero. Ice Cold in Ellis deals with the consequences of some of the shadier short cuts undertaken along the way, dealing with relapsed super-villains and the continual harassment of that flamboyant guy with the pancake make-up and mini-skirt that doesnít fit into The Patriotís world view. Itís about pulling apart chains of command to issue dodgy orders across the entire police force that totally wonít return to bite you in the arse and kinda sorta undoing previous acts of damage by committing more offensive ones. Like curing arson by committing genocide.

Sometimes, though, the game punishes you for thinking ahead. Late game, thereís a puzzle you need to rig up a pulley system to bypass. If you tried to fashion together the pulley with the items in your possession, youíre told itís not going to be achievable without some kind of rope or chain. That was convenient, because just one screen back thereís a massive flag being held aloft by a very sturdy looking chain. However! Return to that screen and try and take it and youíre admonished for daring to lower an American flag so unceremoniously and The Patriot refused to do it. Perhaps youíll be like me and take this as the game telling you that youíre on the wrong track, then wander around for ages trying to click on guard rail rope for what feels like an eternity.

Eventually, I discovered the trigger for taking the chain was to attempt the puzzle without trying to rig up a pulley system first, which anyone could see was never going to work, but it allowed the cast to come to the same conclusion I had reached some half an hour previous. Before I went on a frustrating journey of random clicking at anything that looked remotely rope-like.

Previous potholes also reappear, such as the inability to double-click though local locations meaning that you have to watch The Patriot trudge across the screen and the often scene-harming gaps between conversations that pause slightly while character portraits are loaded. These are little distractions, but the latter does seem harmful in a game so heavily reliant on dialogue exchanges. Ice Cold in Ellis certainly did throw more things at me to impede my enjoyment, but at the same time, seem to hit its stride. The overall puzzles are often more daunting and take a bit more lateral thinking and many more of these instances amused. Thereís a late puzzle where a group of superheroes -- two of which have the power of flight -- bicker and in-fight about the best way to stop someone raising a ladder every time they try to use it. Even upon completion, and upon tackling the end-game conundrum, itís still on their mind and they demand to know how the villain as pulling the ladder up when he was nowhere near it. He has no idea -- he tells them it was doing that when he got there. Itís a purposefully-invented plothole and, I dunno, it makes me smile.

Other instances similarly work well within the fourth-wall-attack aesthetic that Super League of Patriots has cultivated, like bickering with the narrator when trying to cut the issue short so they can sit on the content and charge for a fourth issue. Or acknowledging the click everything with everything desperation of trying to solve a puzzle with items that a sane person would never find helpful in such a situation. Itís a smart game ahead of everything else, aware of the genre itís come from and confident enough in its own strengths to make fun of its foundations. Thereís chance to breathe for the developers now that the first three issues have been simultaneously released and out of the way, a chance to reflect on what they've accomplished and what they can do next. Iíll be picking up Issue 4 when it rolls around, because they've done more than enough to retain my interest.


EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (February 06, 2015)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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