Friday, May 13, 2005

Nerd Corner

A round-up of recent computer games

I've never been attracted to first-person-shooters, but Bloomsbury Soft's recently released Virginia Woolfenstein 3D may well convert me. The player is cast as William "Face Cutter" Ford, a young social realist writer, whose progress through the 1920s London literary scene is hampered by a constant stream of "Georgian" writers and critics, whom he must dispatch using a range of weaponry, including barbed put-downs and bazookas. So far I have been unable to get past the third level boss - a giant E.M. Forster with laser beam eyes and chainsaw arms - but I hear that the final showdown with Woolf in the middle of a river is a brilliant piece of game design.

Unfortunately, the latest Sim City game, Sim City: 12000 BC, is something of a letdown. Once you've managed to erect a few makeshift tents, fashion some crude stone tools and got everybody rugged up in animal skins, there's little left to do but watch the cavemen mate. Rumour has it, however, that an extension pack enabling the invention of the wheel will be released around Christmas, which should provide some extra value.

Another disappointment is Final Fantasy LXXXVIII: Uh, Where Were We?, released last week to almost universal derision. While the graphics and sound are of a fairly high standard, gameplay is dull and aimless. The central quest involves searching a giant, sparsely-populated world for the lost plot threads of the previous fifty-seven Final Fantasy games, for what purpose we are never really told, although one suspects it is merely to enable programmers to begin work on installment fifty-nine.

One game that has really got me hooked is Vetris, the latest update of the classic Tetris formula. In Vetris, various organs descend from the top of the screen which the player must manipulate in order to fit them back into the animal waiting anaesthetized on the table at the bottom of the screen. As with the original, Vetris' simplicity belies its addictiveness - trying to cram all four stomachs into the cow on level six is a challenge to rank with any in gaming history!

Forthcoming releases:

Tom Clancy's Babysitter's Club
Resident Evil: Neighbourhood Watch Meeting of Doom
Grand Theft Auto Box Hill
Turok IX: Dinosaur Skeleton Reassembler

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Golden. Deadset golden.

If only there really was a Woolfenstein 3D - your love interest is a pre-Frankenstein Mary Shelley who is an advocate of free love and many illicit substances....

GTA: Box Hill - love it. Incidentally I was born in Box Hill. Perhaps I could take the lead role...