Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Great Raccoon Escape

First off, apologies for the late review. But hopefully what I have to offer you will make up for it - The Great Raccoon Escape.



This is a game that sadly crossed my paths many moons ago, but which I forgot about until quite recently. It pretty much meets the requirement of any game I review - the concept is so out there it's passing Pluto and it plays like the developer hates games.

First the story, explained pretty well by the following two pictures:




You got that? Raccoons are able to do more than rummage through your rubbish. Yes, they're able to morph into a variety of shapes, from a leaf to a beautiful woman. This particular raccoon's nine wives were kidnapped by hunters, so you've got to track them down and release them from their cages.

Just to repeat - a bigamist raccoon with the ability to change into the form of a human being must rescue his nine wives from hunters wielding sub-machineguns. Let's play!



I will say this much - the graphics are very pleasant. But that raccoon has better posture than most people. Anyway, The Great Raccoon Escape is part platformer, part puzzle game. You climb up and down ladders on your way through the levels but you lack the ability to jump, and if the hunters spot you they'll lock you up as well.



The key to success is to disguise yourself so that you pass unnoticed by the hunters. Different puzzles require different disguises, though usually turning into a leaf and waiting for the bad guy to walk past you is the simplest option. The controls can feel a little sluggish though, so you have to make sure you've morphed well before there's any chance of being caught. Naturally, you can only hold your new form for a limited period of time, so good reactions are key.



After locating a key you can release one of your wives from their prison. God, look how bored these raccoons are. You'd think this sort of thing happens to them all the time. "Wives kidnapped by hunters? Must be Tuesday."



Of course, it doesn't stop them from showing off these self-righteous shit eating grins, like they're saying to themselves, "Yeah, we're awesome." Yeah, well, pride goes before the fall, ya furry little bastard.



I've got to imagine that if a real raccoon had to get over a punji pit and his options were "Morph into a football and hope that someone kicks you" or "Jump", he'd go with the latter. But what do I know about raccoons?

There also seem to be quite a lot of hunters gunning for this guy and his wives. What the hell did this raccoon do to piss off so many gun nuts? Fortunately it's usually easy enough to get by them, but there occasions where you're just not given a chance.



This hunter saw maybe the raccoon's foot coming down this ladder and that was it. He's not even looking up anymore! Again, it all comes down to timing, and again it's a pain in the ass - you have to move fast enough to evade one hunter while not bumping into the next.



Sometimes if you're not in the exact perfect spot, you'll be completely ignored. This hunter can totally see the ball, but he can't be bothered walking a few more feet to kick it. So naturally I moved even closer, morphed back into a ball, and the hunter finally kicked me.



Straight into a pit. Thanks.



I suppose a better option would have been to turn into my femme fatale pose and convinced some lust-filled mountain man to come running after me. Unlike raccoons, hunters possess the arm length necessary to avoid spiky death.



All the same, it's fair to assume we're not dealing with a Rhodes scholar here.

I suppose The Great Raccoon Escape isn't awful, but it's nowhere near as good as it could be. If you've always wanted to play Mormon wildlife, then here's your chance, but there are plenty of other platform/puzzle games out there that'll keep you entertained for far longer.

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