Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Big Mean Retrospective

This is an important day for me, folks. What you're reading is the 101st post in this blog, meaning that this is officially review #100! Since October 2007 I have played 97 of the worst (and 2 of the best) games available online, and as I type this today I still have no explanation as to why.

Why in God's name have I subjected myself to such a barrage of disappointment on a continual basis? Why do I keep returning to this place, ranting and raving about games that few people will ever play, anyway? Why must I warn people of the horrors of Nuclear Fart Bear or the weirdness of The Great Raccoon Escape? The answer, dear readers, is simple: I'm an idiot.

Or maybe, deep down, I enjoy it. I get a kick out of ripping into these games, an avenue for the frustration that plagues everyone, a productive means of venting some anger. In that regard, Big Mean Flash Gamer has been a lot of fun, and hopefully it will continue to be for a long time to come.

But anyway, enough idle chit chat - what am I going to do for this very special edition of Big Mean Flash Gamer? Well, as mentioned in last week's review, I'm going back to five games that were victims of my anger and seeing if a second glance might change my opinion of them. And what better game to start with than the one that kicked this whole thing off?

1. Kogent Knight


I WROTE: "Do not play Kogent Knight - there are a dozen better platform games out there. This may look pretty, but it's boring as all hell."

AND NOW: Do not play Kogent Knight.

OK, we're not off to a good start. Playing Kogent Knight for the first time since 2007 has only reminded me why it was the first game ever reviewed on this blog. What the fuck does "kogent" mean, anyway? I looked it up on dictionary.com but the only word they could come back with was cogent, which is defined as "convincing or believable by virtue of forcible, clear, or incisive presentation; telling."

How does that relate to an illiterate, asthmatic knight? Everything I hated about this game still grinds my gears, now with even more things to piss me off. Enemies of the same type never take the same number of hits to kill; one black knight may require three strikes, while another might only need one. The controls are even worse than I remember, and the sluggish pace annoys me more now than it did back then. All the bad memories came flooding back, and I can only repeat what I wrote back then - keep away from Kogent Knight.

2. Rock and Roll Space Monkey


I WROTE: "My advice is to play Rock and Roll Space Monkey at least once, so you can hear the kickass theme song and give the game a go. The concept is ridiculous and the gameplay is flawed, but the plot is certainly original, and that's got to amount for something."

AND NOW: This was a reader request, and only for that I wouldn't have included Rock and Roll Space Monkey on this list. Why? Because I fucking LOVED Rock and Roll Space Monkey. It was the best bad game I've ever reviewed, and no matter how much its flaws annoyed me, I could never hate it, just for the game's balls. What other Flash game features a guitar playing monkey, giant lizard cats and aliens dressed like the French? Rock and Roll Space Monkey is like the Flash version of Psychonauts - utterly demented, frequently frustrating, and in the end a whole lot of fun.

3. Butt-Ski Lift


I WROTE: "What is wrong with you people?"

AND NOW: Butt-Ski Lift left an indelible print on my psyche, a stain that will never be washed away, much like the giant testicles of the hero in Little Boy Adventure. To this day, I have no idea how anyone came up with the idea of a game where the goal is to swing upside down from a ski lift while mooning everyone back at the lodge.

It just staggers the mind that Butt-Ski Lift even exists. Think about it - someone had to come up with this idea. Someone had to think about making a game where you hang from your pants on ski lifts. Maybe that person told a friend or two about it, then quickly stopped mentioning it when everyone around him said the idea was shit. He had to draw the characters, animate the sprites, write the game code. All in all, we're talking about a couple of hours of work. Then that person had to upload their game onto the Internet. And at no point during any of this did they think, "Actually, the world might not be ready for Butt-Ski Lift."

Who knows - perhaps one day, many years from now, we will be. But I highly doubt it.

4. Planet Platformer


I WROTE: "I didn't hate Planet Platformer when I first played it. But now that I've played it repeatedly, only to face disappointment at every turn (compounded by the fact that, without a save feature, you have to start from the beginning every time you play), it has worn down my resolve."

AND NOW: When I posted this review over on Way of the Geek, I was surprised to receive a response from the creator of Planet Platformer. He took umbrage to my remark that you have to run through each level twice to complete them, and even included walkthroughs to prove his point.

I like to give a game the benefit of the doubt before I rip it apart completely, but these images only supported my view that you do need to backtrack to complete levels, unless you understand the exact strategy to complete each level perfectly the first time out. Playing it again, the controls still frustrated the hell out of me and the level completion screen still gave me a headache. There is a sequel now, which I must say is something of an improvement, but my original opinion of Planet Platformer still stands - it's a disappointment.

5. Achilles


I WROTE: "If you end up playing the games I review anyway just to see if you agree with my assessment, or if you're thick, then go play Achilles."

AND NOW: I'm kind of cheating here. While I played all of the other games today, I actually went back to Achilles about a month ago. My review of this game proved to be contentious, and there was quite a bit of disagreement between myself and some readers. So I decide to go and check it out, just for old time's sake.

And you know what? Maybe I was too harsh on Achilles the first time around. There's still plenty about the game that annoys me, but then there are lots of games out there that annoy me, and they don't all get reviewed here. It's not a game I'll go back to again and again, but at the same time it's not a game I can honestly say is so awful you'd never enjoy it.

I think this proves that at the end of the day, these are only my opinions. For some people these games are awesome, while others would agree with me that many of these titles should never have existed. My job here is to give you the information you need to make your own assessment and give you the chance to either say I'm right or wrong. I'll do my best to stay big and mean, and hopefully I'll be here to tell you all about the worst of the worst for another 100 reviews, at least.

Normal service will resume next week with review #101. In the meantime, I'll be posting an exclusive review of Mall Flirting on Way of the Geek, so keep your eyes peeled for that one.

1 comment:

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