Loaded (PlayStation) review
"Many years ago, back in 1995, the PlayStation was a newcomer into the age is 32 bit systems. God, that seems like such a long time now, doesn’t it? The PlayStation, unlike every other system in the modern gaming age of Nintendo, did not have a huge flagship title, besides the best version of Mortal Kombat 3, or a few other give-or-take arcade fighters and the like. So, how exactly did the Sony PlayStation become one of the innovators in gaming as we know it? With a little help from their friends..."
Many years ago, back in 1995, the PlayStation was a newcomer into the age is 32 bit systems. God, that seems like such a long time now, doesn’t it? The PlayStation, unlike every other system in the modern gaming age of Nintendo, did not have a huge flagship title, besides the best version of Mortal Kombat 3, or a few other give-or-take arcade fighters and the like. So, how exactly did the Sony PlayStation become one of the innovators in gaming as we know it? With a little help from their friends, including the gory, above average game Loaded.
The overall appeal when Loaded was released was that the game would be the goriest game ever created... for its time. And it was successful for that short while. The story is somewhat lackluster, in that you are inside of a “jailer’s jail,” of sorts, and you must bust out by eliminating the head warden of the facility, F.U.B. (Fat Ugly Boy). And the surroundings that follow are immense-fully delightful.
While this may sound a bit off (okay, a lot off), I honestly believe that games such as Loaded exist to become more of an influential title as a flagship for future developers rather than a player’s delight. If it weren’t for the groundbreaking gore that was presented throughout the title, I do not believe that even games such as Silent Hill would have been considered a step in the right direction, but more of a demonic influence towards chaos.
In Loaded, you can take control of one of six deadly inmates that desires the greed of taking out the head warden, F.U.B. and escaping the prison’s confides. These six anti-heroes include Mama (a grown man in a baby costume), Bounca (an old fool that has a crazy tendency to use a rocket launcher), Cap ‘N Hands (personal favorite, and a mad gun-nut), Butch (a cross-dresser that reminds you of... well, a cross-dressing John Wayne), Vox (the lone female in the game), and Fwank (a mad clown with a killing streak. A light version of Sweet Tooth of Twisted Metal fame).
Each one of the six inmates has a certain personality sketch that is used strictly as a guideline for their weapons arsenal. This includes dual-handed guns, rocket launchers, electricity guns, explosive toys, and much more. The trim of each character’s personality blends in well with the atmospheres which surround you, including a mental ward where several crazed inmates with straightjackets on will attempt to kill you.
As stated before with the Silent Hill comment, if it were not for Loaded, a lot of the dark and disturbing details in most games would have never even been considered in the future. Loaded took a dark, disturbing image of dim-lit areas and atmospheres that took on a character of themselves. The padded cells scattered with mental patient blood is highly unnerving, and the use of blood and guts throughout the game works, rather than making it a cheesy impression of Mortal Kombat in a 3-D Action game.
Which brings us to the ever-so-important topic of the gameplay. Yes, this is a 3-D action title, much like Smash TV. A lot of people will agree in the fact that Smash TV is a much better overall product that does not rely on getting around based on gore and shock factor like Loaded tends to do throughout the game. And this is true; as a 3-D Action title, Smash TV is a more thorough product with better boss fights and the like than Loaded is. But do I find that Smash TV is the better product? The exact opposite.
The controls are very simple. Loaded is the type of game that, if placed on the easiest difficulty in the game, is completely pick-up-and-play material. Simply put, if you have never played a 3-D Action title like Smash TV, then this will likely be a lasting impression to take opposed to the other rival titles, and especially the unimproved, uninspired sequel to this game, Reloaded.
The object of most of the stages/missions in the game revolve around escaping, as well as getting added bonuses for “loading” everything up (in other words, killing every single enemy in the stage/mission before you clear it). You will progress through the stages/missions by collecting colored keys, which will open up locked electric doors of the same color. This makes Loaded one of the first PlayStation games to involve collecting items to succeed. Coincidence? Okay, sure, I’ll let it slide this time.
Certain games can get by on their graphics alone, and this game was certainly one of them. The graphics are a little bit blotchy, especially the character design for both the playable characters, as well as the enemies. The lasting impression is definitely not in the character design, but rather the atmosphere construction. This one was of the first games to “leave a mark” when you killed an enemy. In other words, the blood stains will never go away.
It is sort of hard to figure out where the hell you are going in certain areas, considering they do look alike quite a bit throughout the experience. This is one of the reasons where the whole “blood stain staying” feature is not just eye candy, but rather a way of keeping track of where your destination is by what rooms you have visited. If there is a room in Loaded, it likely has an enemy inside of it.
Sadly, the gameplay can be both highly annoying/repetitive, as well as simple. You can easily find enough ammunition to go into a room filled with goons and begin pumping them full of lead without stopping, eliminate every threat inside of the room, and easily walk out with only around one hundred bullets missing out of your clip. That may seem like a lot, however, in Loaded, it is anything but.
In conclusion, Loaded has a lot of faults. It is an older game that 3 out of 10 gamers today will appreciate, and even slightly higher in number will actually enjoy. It is an average game to many nowadays, but back in the day, it was cutting edge. But just because it is a cult classic does not mean that it is a wonderful item of entertainment. Just look at the movie “Strip Tease” if you don’t believe me. Regardless, it is something that you should experience, if you are a die-hard gamer.
The sound effects in the game are your basic, idea, gun-toting, blowing-stuff-up effects that you would expect from a PlayStation game, circa 1995-1996. The real shining point through the game is the extremely catchy, yet unfitting, techno music that plays while you slaughter hordes of innocent killers in the jail. And I don’t even like techno music!
Extremely outdated by now, but back in the day, this game looked like a zooped up version of a disturbing Sega Genesis title. The character designs still looked awkward back then, as well, which lowers the rating from an 8.0 to a 7.5. However, the true holy grail of the game lies in the environments that you encounter throughout the game, and the bland colors that are used inside of them. Plus, you have GOT to love the padded cells for the mentally ill prisoners. The detailing was awesome for back in the day.
Nothing special here at all, and somewhat disappointing when compared to the rival game, Smash TV. Very easy to break through hordes of prisoners that wish to destroy you with their petty rocket launchers and ninja stars, and highly repetitive with the same system of fighting, over and over again, against the same enemies, over and over again. Regardless, the “blood splattered on the floors” thing was revolutionary, much like the overall appeal of the game itself.
Loaded is the type of game that provides you with a nice outlook of the way video games were being developed at the time of its release: A bit blotchy, but something that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime, if just for the “time capsule” reason alone. I am not saying that you will enjoy this game once you play it, but it is one of those games that should definitely be experienced, at least once.
Overall (not an average): 8.0
As “Free As A Bird” is to the Beatles, Loaded is to the PlayStation. Loaded was an unsung hero to the early days of the Sony PlayStation, along with games like Jumping Flash!, Warhawk, and, of course, WipeOut. While repetitive at times, the game stays in tact as a late 1990s version of Smash TV. The overall gaming experience from this title is both awe-inspiring and revolutionary. Truly one of the lesser known games for the PlayStation that had a huge buzz and solid impact, but faded away softly. For $10 used, you cannot pass this up. Too bad the sequel wasn’t much of a thrill.
Community review by zoop (February 05, 2004)
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