Play it & Hate it

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to apologize, not to Justin Bieber fans, but to the rest of the Mountaineer newspaper reading population: a whopping 10 readers! After reading my first ever video game column, I realized that it’s a piece of crap. There were tons of mistakes on behalf on which the editors as well as I can take equal blame. Duke Nukem Forever is really not that bad of a game, mediocre at best, and seriously, I know games that are much worse. I would also like to add that I personally believe that Michael Jackson and Macaulay Culkin were not in a sexual relationship. It was just a crappy attempt at a crappy joke, which was done, well, crappy; therefore, I apologize for that one as well. I would add that Michael Jackson became “white” due to fright. The name Sorrowfully Horrible Interactive Tragedies (S.H.I.T) was supposed to be an acronym but nobody got it (I do understand, the human population does have an average IQ of 100, me included, being the Mt. SAC range). In other words, don’t hate on Sarah Palin, because an average Joe like you would probably do the same thing if you walked in her heels; on the other hand, you did the smart thing by knowing you can’t get into politics. Back to topic; the original name wound up being just about as long as Ron Jeremy’s penis and it really didn’t have that much of an impact (see ladies? Size doesn’t matter … much). So I decided to make the name short and sweet: Play it and Hate it is officially the new title. It took me a month of goofing around to finally figure that one out, so cherish it you fucking assholes!!! The next game I’m going to talk about is one of the titles my gram gram gave to me (she makes a killer pot roast; you should try it sometime, all 10 of you). The game is titled Dark Angel Vampire Apocalypse for PlayStation 2. When first looking at it, the box art looked pretty cool, showing off a bony-ass bitch with a sword killing vampires. She was almost as creepily skinny as an Ethiopian child; that’s the part of Africa you should focus on, Ethiopia. KONY 2012 seems like a joke; I mean, come on, Jason Russell was arrested promoting his new Invisible Children fashion line, Invisible Clothing. Okay, back on topic, when opening up the case, the back of the CD gave me a sense of awe when staring into the blue reflection, reminiscent of older PS2 titles. Yes, this was 2001, the era that marked the beginning of the end of the classic golden age of gaming, marked by the death of the Sega Dreamcast. Dark Angel was amongst the older titles around the same time as the PS2’s launch lineup, featuring solid games like Tekken Tag Tournament and SSX and crappy titles like Eternal Ring, a hilariously bad first person hack and slash RPG (Eternal Ring’s slogan: “who said Fantasies had to be Final?” My comment: “this one certainly was because it sucks ass.") I forgot to mention Unreal Tournament, which is pretty amazing on PC (with the fun mods and online support) but on PS2, it’s just eh. Dark Angel, however, is living proof that the early PS2 wouldn’t be anything without DVD functionality. The game is an old fashioned “hack and slash” RPG; it focuses on Anna, a vampire hunter. Your mission is to kill an army of vampires over a course of 3 months (or some shit like that, I don’t care). However, when you start the game, you’re randomly thrown into a battle where you hack and slash monsters and other “scary” things, but there’s one problem, THIS GAME GIVES NO FLIPPING PROLOGUE! I tried to talk to other townspeople about what’s going on (I mean, it is an RPG after all, right?) but townspeople give remarks that aren’t very helpful and instead happily provide players with half-assed responses (the same ones I give hipsters). That doesn’t mean a lack of direct storytelling is bad. The Legend Of Zelda (1985, NES) was cryptic as hell. Even though all the bushes look exactly the same, the candle would only burn certain ones. The game had virtually around five or so townspeople, (if you could even call them “towns”) but they were still able to give esoteric hints towards your next destination. Overworld and dungeon map designs were very primitive but still had creative patterns. Level 3, for instance, was in the shape of a swastika. I did Nazi that coming; what a country! Despite being difficult to pick up on, it was very enjoyable and made you wanting more to the point of getting a Nintendo Power subscription (hey mom, better fork out the cash or the guilt train comes a wreckin’). This title was not technologically advanced but it had pretty much all the needed elements of a satisfyingly nice hack and slash (and sadly, this was 1980 fucking six!) I wanted to talk about the Legend of Zelda as a way to avoiding Dark Angel; however, it is time to get dirty. This was the PS2, the system that used the same CGI engine that was utilized during the production of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and this is what I get? Playing Dark Angel made me feel sick to my stomach when going through the first dungeon, the maps were very long and complex which is cool; but it felt like you were going nowhere and in reality, you certainly were. While fighting off monsters, the game used sounds that always ended in a cheesy echo, churning the slop in my stomach and giving me nausea. All of the spells do the same thing, so having strategy is pointless. And worst of all, the controls felt as sticky as crusted-on maple syrup sticking in your armpits, pulling your hair. I played this piece of shit for 5 hours straight back when I was a high school senior, hoping that something would pick up. For the sake of this article, I resorted towards using YouTube videos to watch gameplay footage because I really didn’t want to play this piece of shit ever again. I gave this game to my best friend Joshua, resigned to a fate of being swallowed by a monster of miscellaneous toys and forgotten VHS tapes, such as Ghost Dad (I should “pudding pop” it in the VHS one of these days; maybe I’ll write about it… not). Now here’s a good PS2 hack and slash series that I would recommend: Baldur’s Gate Dark Alliance. This game does offer a decent story that goes many places through towns, bogs, sewers, canyons and a gate that takes you into different worlds. You can play as various classes like a fighting dwarf, an elven arcane archer, and a sorceress. The graphics are simple yet well polished. The RPG mechanics are pretty simple and solid, yet flexible. A nice thing about this title is that it offers reasonable replay value by offering a “new game plus,” allowing you to start the game again with the same powerful character. You fight crazy creatures like a giant eye, lizard men, an ice dragon, and giant knights that beautifully shatter to pieces in defeat. The second one is similar as the first one but with more classes, elemental realms to traverse, and even more weapons. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the game actually has a prologue as well as competent characterization and storytelling. Come to think of it, I’ll play it again. I got this game from a German drunk, a good friend of my mom’s (das good); see, terrible stories like this do have a happy ending after all. Now stop playing with yourself and pick up a controller. - Alex Kchouri Staff Writer