Saturday, July 22, 2006

I know good games. I'm a friend of good games. You, sir, are not a good game.

Say, you remember Operation: Galactic Storm? You know, when the Avengers interfered in the war between the Kree and the Shi'ar and there was a big bomb and like nine-tenths of the Kree empire got blown up? Well, if you didn't, that's as good as summary as any.

(Well, later, thanks to the crazy continuity machinations of Kurt Busiek, it turned out that Immortus was screwing with Iron Man's head and that's why he was such a dick for the duration of the story, but that's neither here nor there.)

Anyway, it turns out that Data East, the guys that made the fairly awesome Captain America and the Avengers arcade game, were so inspired by the story of interstellar war and giant green betentacled heads in jars that they made a game based on it.

A game that no one on earth remembers. Because it's terrible.

Since my incredibly bad luck means I can't manage to stealdownload working copies of good games, I end up with the cream of the crap. Strider 2? Won't work in a million years. Probably acts as some kind of virus, who knows? But The Avengers in Operation Galactic Storm? Works perfectly.

The game itself is a 2D fighter with 3D pretensions. You know the type: typical Street Fighter perspective, crappy-looking characters made not of attractive sprites but a polygon count so low a three year old could give you an accurate assessment as to their number by holding up one hand and yelling "this many!" Apparently, it was released to something like four arcades in the entire world, making it like a holy grail of crap. The wrong Cup of Christ; the one that didn't make you live forever but turned your ass to dust instead. And then a very old knight mockingly points out that you have chosen poorly.

There's a damned good reason it didn't get a wide release: beyond the fact that they game controls like a three-legged cow with a Yugoslavian drive train, it also presupposes a tremendous working knowledge of an Avengers story that sort of blew. It explains nothing. You'll cut from a fight with some Q-list Kree villain (Doctor Minerva? In a video game? Seriously?) to a still frame of the Shi'ar ordering... something to fire. Seriously, I just gave you the exact same amount of context for that shot as the game did.

To get down to brass tacks, in the single-player game, there are a shocking four playable characters. Keeping in mind that the crossover this is based on featured, seriously, every Goddamn late-eighties/early-nineties Avenger you can think of, take a shot at guessing which four they are.

Come on, guess.Yeah, nobody guessed Crystal. Don't lie. She didn't even cross your mind. You were all "Iron Man, Vision, Cap and maybe Black Knight." If you thought "but they need a girl just to keep things balanced," you probably went with, Hell, I don't know, Sersi or Scarlet Witch. Or She-Hulk. Or Spider-Woman. I mean, Jesus, Crystal?

The worst part? Data East had character models for Iron Man, Vision, Giant Man and Thor handy, but only used them as crappy run-in buddies. So you're stuck with Captain America, Black Knight, Thunderstrike and freakin' Crystal. Actually, wait, I misspoke: the worst part is that the Black Knight is, without question, your best possible pick.

How can you be told to make an Avengers game and think "well, Black Knight's going to cakewalk over everybody because I'm going to give him E Honda's Hundred Hand Slap -- EXCEPT WITH A LIGHTSABER!"? Honestly, if you want to kick this game's ass, there's maybe one guy that isn't a huge sucker for getting stabbed a million times. The bad guys can all call in friends to jump you mid-fight, which is profoundly annoying the hundredth time Minerva drops Captain Goddamn Atlas on your head or that weird-looking She-Ra villain above has Ronan the Accuser fall out of the sky on top of you (while yelling "RONAN!"). Other than that, it's a straight-ahead fighter that manages to suck beyond reason.That's your reward for finishing, by the way. That screen followed by a still shot of the four playable Avengers awkwardly standing atop a building, gazing longingly at the universe they just saved (by murdering the Supreme Intelligence and allowing the Shi'ar to blow up the Kree empire, but still). And then the game taunts you one last time:No. I am not ready. I am insufficiently prepared on an emotional level. I do not want to play your versus mode, you son of a bitch.


Joseph Greene said...

Where can I find the download. I need the misery.

Jon said...

This should work. I'm going to look the other way when you click it, though, because I am a law-abiding citizen. Most of the time.