Wednesday, January 30, 2008


In all honesty, I don't really know how long Bushido has been out, but I really hope it's been quite some time. At least that way it's many poor qualities can be justified, if not forgiven.

At first, one would think Bushido would be another stealth assassin game, and I'm pretty sure that's what it's supposed to be. But the fact that it isn't becomes blatantly obvious from the very first level.

There's your character, hiding behind some bushes. Yes, I know his head is clearly visible, but eyecare must not be included in the castle guards' health plan. So far, so stealthy: if you time it right, you can jump up and stab the guard through the back, you coward. From then on, however, things just get screwy.

Could someone please explain to me how I'm supposed to silently cut this guy's throat if he's standing on the very end of the ledge and doesn't move? Unlike other games of this type, you can't run up the walls, so a quick attack is totally out of the question. Instead, you have to bounce from one wall to the next, grab his attention, then make a hasty retreat before facing him.

Am I the only one who sees a problem with an assassin game that features more swordfights than assassinations? And while I'm on the subject, what's up with bouncing off walls? That might work perfectly well in Fancy Pants Adventure, but it's not exactly the most graceful, ninja-like movement, is it?

It really shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Level Two is almost a carbon copy of Level One. This, for instance, is the first kill:

Drop down, hide behind a bush, wait until the guard passes and stab him. It's the exact same thing you do in the first level. The only difference here is that there are two more guards, rather than one. Oh, joy. I don't know if anyone else has mentioned it, but there's a glitch in the game that can freeze the guards completely, turning them into statues that just float in mid air, incapable of doing anything.

Well that's just great. Also of note is the sheer stupidity of the guards.

I don't expect mind-blowing AI, but if one guard can see me through a wall, I expect the guard standing on top of the wall to do the same.

Twenty kills is impressive if you don't know that there aren't even ten guards in the first mission. Despite being Hilton-esque in their stupidity, the guards are also fast sons of bitches, and they'll cut you down in one strike. On the bright side, you have a seemingly infinite number of lives, which comes in handy when you have to attempt the same level again and again and again.

Mission Two isn't a whole lot different from Mission One, but then all the missions tend to revolve around the one goal of "Kill everybody." By this point, however, I'd done away with any intention of being sneaky and proceeded to hack and slash my way across levels, killing whoever I came across and not giving a toss about anyone I left behind. It just seemed to be the easiest way to save myself an aneurysm, as there is no point in trying to play like a proper ninja assassin.

Hmm, that leaves me with another question - why would a game named after the traditional code of the Japanese samurai centre around a character who is quite clearly dressed like a ninja?

I'm not exactly sure what the correct name for these characters are, but I refer to them as Those Tough Bastards That Always Kill Me In These Games. Thank God for the ability to jump, is all I can say. Otherwise I'd be stuck there all day trying to reach the asshole's head. It is a shame, though, that my character is seemingly incapable of jumping to one side unless I am already running in that direction.

Anyway, the goal up to this point has been to enter the castle, where you will find a number of shogun that you must kill.

This is the castle. I don't know about you, but it doesn't really scream "Medieval Japan" to me. By this time, even the developer has stopped trying to pretend this is anything but a hack and slash action game, and the enemies pile on to kill you. Fortunately, this is where standing still, repeatedly pressing the attack button, comes in handy, and you can leave the bodies piled up to look like they're about to recreate the scene in Shortbus where those three gay guys sing the United States National Anthem into each other's butt holes. Or something like that.

I don't know if this is supposed to be a stairway in the castle, or an underground tunnel. Either way, it's going to require that you bounce off walls and attempt to jump onto platforms more than you'd ever want to. Mercifully, you get back outside pretty soon, where the enemy have just installed:

Spring-loaded spikes! And not just any old spring-loaded spikes, but ones that will go off even if you're just in the air above them! Yay!

I have no problem with traps, especially since I'm not having to conserve energy or lives, but at least make them so they don't go off for no apparent reason.

Yeah, I got through it. It took the better part of half an hour, but I did it. And I must admit, the ninja's expression is kind of funny. But that was not an assassination. That was Rambo in the Orient. And to be honest, that would be fine if the game wasn't so damn frustrating. Add to that the poor artwork that looks like it was knocked up on MS Paint in fifteen minutes, and the relentless repetition from level to level, and Bushido is more than just a bad stealth assassin game; it's a bad game in general.

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