I want to review them, but I don't want to play them.
July 26, 2017

I wanted my main focus to be Dragon Age: Origins over the next few weeks. However, two games that I've been playing lately have been taunting me. Both of them are awful, but I feel that it's my sworn duty to soldier through these abominations and give the readers my $0.02.

Alone in the Dark: Illumination (PC)
This game is basically a version of Left 4 Dead that was developed in an alternate universe where Left 4 Dead was an absolute pile of garbage. Running through 16 stages, you take control of one of four different characters, including Carnby's son and some distant relative of Grace Saunders. From there, you explore a stage packed with monsters that can only be damaged when light is shining on them. Crappy thing: the entire level is dark, and you have to turn on lights or start fires to illuminate the monsters. So basically, you run around, encounter creatures and then double back to a street light or dumpster fire to lure them to a tiny space so you can kill them. Needless to say, the game is quite the slog.

Eventually, you hit point where the level turns into a fetch quest and you need to nab some items to advance while still taking part in the whole "lure enemies back to a small area" type of gameplay.

Let's make things worse, shall we? The game lacks proper sound effects, especially when you're taking punishment. Enemies will strike you and you will lose life, and you won't hear them hitting your or even have a clear indication that it's happening. I died several times because there was a creature behind me slowly whittling down my health because A) its claws produce only a faint noise and B) Carnby doesn't grunt or anything when taking damage.

The game also leans somewhat heavily on RPG elements. If you're having trouble, which you certainly will in the early outs, then your best bet is to rack up some experience. You only accomplish this by completing a stage or dying. In other words, you have to grind by continually getting yourself killed. What the hell kind of backwards nonsense is that?

The servers are dead. so co-op is pretty much out of the question. You won't find a single soul waiting for you online, and convincing your friends to pick up this atrocity so they can join you is next to impossible.


Predator (NES)
I played this one ages ago and reviewed it at GameFAQs. I decided to rent it because I thought it would actually be a quality action title. Rather, it's a clunky platformer that sometimes tries to be a run 'n gun title. I don't even know where to begin on this one, so I'll just bullet it from it:

  • Control response is slippery like a mascot platformer.
  • ...plus tiny platforms plus enemies positioned on those platforms plus lots of falling into pits.
  • Why the hell is Arnold wearing pink? Who embarks on a mission into a jungle wearing fucking pink?
  • You don't start with a gun, and instead have to find one.
  • You can, however, punch your enemies. Unfortunately, you can punch while crouching. Why? That makes no sense!
  • You can only continue after every five levels. If you game over before level five, you start back at level 1 when selecting continue.
  • You occasionally have to take part in horrible scrolling shooter levels, where Arnold is a giant sprite running along generic terrain with a single color background. The creatures you fight consist of stock enemies and a giant Predator head that shoots tinier Predator heads at you.
  • You sometimes fight Predator at the end of levels, and his AI routines are silly. If you possess a firearm, then all you need to do is stand still and spam the attack button, moving only occasionally.
  • You'd think the bestiary would mostly be enemy soldiers and Predator. What you actually fight includes ghosts, cute-faced slimes, scorpions, winged monkeys and butterflies. Is this Predator or StarTropics?

    Seriously, they couldn't have just made a Contra clone? Wouldn't that have made more sense?

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