Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heaven's Hoodlum

It's been a pretty good week for online games, it must be said, but there's no wheat without a little chaff and today it comes in the form of Heaven's Hoodlum. The concept is certainly different, I'll give it that: you play a hoodie mistakenly sent to Heaven and your goal is to stay there for as long as possible before you get kicked out.

You fly around on a cloud collecting bling, mobile phones and the occasional joint (so that's one theological question answered.) At the same time you have to avoid mines and what I can only assume are the Heavenly Police, represented by a cloud with a flashing red light on top of it. Touch these and they'll explode in your face. I guess we're dealing with Old Testament God. New Testament God would most likely have sat down with the hoodlum and tried to reason with him; Old Testament God is ready to blast his ass out of the sky. But then God is a much more understanding celestial being these days - proof that fatherhood really does change a man.

Like I was saying, the mines will blow up and take away some of your health. This depletes on its own, anyway, so you have to top it up with floating Bibles. Your health is represented by a yellow face that becomes angelic if you're doing well and devilish when you're not, but then you're playing a character who spends most nights drinking Dutch Gold and smashing telephone boxes - I really doubt he cares about his health.

Of course, it doesn't help that the Bibles you need to stay alive are generally in the same vicinity of something that wants to kill you. Normally this wouldn't be a problem; with a steady hand, one could manoeuvre around the bombs and get the power-up. But that's when the controls come up behind you and smack you across the back of the head while their friend records it on his phone. I hate to use the phrase "broken controls" but these are pretty damn deserving of such a title. In Heaven's Hoodlum the slightest press of the buttons can send you careening across the screen. If you build up too much momentum you'll find it almost impossible to avoid colliding into some form of explosives, so you have to move slowly in order to keep some semblance of control. Of course, the problem there is what to do when stuff is flying across the screen and you can't get to it quickly enough.

Another gripe is your character's propensity to disappear off one side of the screen and reappear on the opposite end. This can have its advantages when you're trying to avoid the exploding clouds, but is a pain in the ass when you bounce off the top or bottom and suddenly fly off all over the place.

As far as Game Over screens are concerned, this is pretty lacking - I mean, would it have hurt to show the Hoodlum in Hell, having red hot pokers shoved up his urethra? OK, maybe not his urethra. It does provide one smirk, the moral: "Hoodlum's belong in Hell."

So I'm guessing this guy got laughed at by a bunch of hoodies and this his is revenge? I don't know - I doubt many of those guys play Flash games. They'd be too busy downloading Paris Hilton porn, updating their Bebo page and watching the "Mikey the Pikey" video. The developer's grammar is at about the same level as most hoodlum's, that much I know, but at least his spelling is better. I'll give him credit for that.

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