Sunday, January 20, 2008

Blood Car! 2000!

Technically, I should love Blood Car! 2000! For one thing, the title is great. For another, it has the best plot I've read in quite a while. Here it is on the loading screen:

"The year is the future." I love it. No, seriously, I fucking love it. You see, I first started gaming at a time when titles didn't need long, complicated back stories. The plot could usually be summed up in two sentences ("Ninjas have kidnapped the President! Go get 'em!") The graphics, by today's standards, were shit. But no one cared about that because as long as the game played well, it didn't matter that your intergalactic battle tank was really just two squares and a rectangle. Blood Car! 2000! provides a great nostalgia trip with its eight bit graphics and non-existant storyline, but it fails in the most important department - that of gameplay.

There are two modes of play - the first is a race against the clock to kill 28 hapless citizens placed around a small town. The second is a time trial through three different race courses, trying to cover the distance in the fastest time possible. The first mode obviously offers the best chance for total bloody mayhem, as you smash through anyone and anything in your path of destruction. There are some great touches here, such as your black car quickly turning red as you plough through another victim. No area is off limits, it seems, allowing you to carve through a pleasant park area, for instance.

I wasn't sure what those blue and white boxes were the first time I played the game. It was only on the second or third level that I realised they were portaloos. Yes, you can crash into them, and yes, you will send shit flying everywhere.

But my personal favourite is the graveyard:

It's about time someone grew the balls to make a game where you mow down mourners in a cemetery. I give Cryptic Sea serious kudos for that. But I have one gripe with them, and it's about the controls - they fucking suck.

Check out the rectangular man in the green jacket. Despite being surrounded by several badly mushed corpses, and despite the blood covered car revving its engine nearby, he senses no danger, and just stands there. This dumbass deserves to get run over.

Or maybe he knows that the car is a bitch to control and will slide right around him in a wide arc.

In the end, I had to line the car up just right and hope that he didn't move out of the way before I ground him into the asphalt. The car turns like it's floating in the air, and sharp turns take a lot of practice. It reminded me of the first time I played Wipeout. There's a great game in here, but first you have to master these extra-sensitive controls that will test your patience like nothing else. It's a good thing you can pretty much ram through everything short of buildings and trees, because Blood Car! 2000! would be hell on earth otherwise.

Blood. Explosion. Sweet.

This is what I want to stress - I really, really wanted to enjoy Blood Car! 2000! The only things that constantly got on my nerves were the bad controls. I played this game on Thursday and instantly thought, "I'm reviewing this on Sunday." But I went back to it on Friday and I actually started to get into it. I was getting the hang of things and I dug the sophomoric humour. I began to have a little hope.

But every time I missed someone by a millimetre, I felt that tiny piece of rage build up inside me. And then, when I wasn't slipping and sliding everywhere, I would get stuck between walls or trees and it would take me ten seconds to slowly ease my way out.

I don't want to have to ease my way out of that shit. I want to blast through it and take out an old lady in the process. I'm in the motherfucking Blood Car! 2000! for Christ's sake!!

So, I may sound petty, but I just couldn't get over these things. It's not like they made the game impossible, they just made it irritating. I don't play games to be irritated. Challenged, yes, but irritated? Hell no.

I should say something about the race mode. Calling it a "race mode" is wrong because you're not racing anything except the clock. If you can get round the course within a certain amount of time you'll be awarded a gold, silver or bronze trophy. You can still run people over, but there's really not much point, and in truth this mode doesn't really add anything to the overall game. The option to have police cars chase you as you kill innocent pedestrians would have been nice, but instead we get a half-hearted time trial.

The race courses can be fun the first couple of times you play, and you can also use shortcuts to improve your time, but once you've scored the gold interest starts to wane. Checking out their website, it seems Cryptic Sea have made some fine games, and the emphasis is more on downloadable desktop games than online flash titles. If they were to expand on Blood Car! 2000!, perhaps by adding different lcoations and more options, I'd certainly be tempted to buy it. But first they're going to have to fix those busted physics and give us a little more control over the vehicle. Blood Car! 2000! is not a bad game, but its flaws leave a sour taste in the mouth.

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