Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wolverine Adventure Factory

This just seems wrong. Of all the superheroes in the Marvel universe, usually the one you can always rely on is Wolverine. Spiderman? Total emo boy. Iron Man? He's fine when he's not off the wagon. Captain America? Dead - dead as the hope that Civil War would be good.

But Wolverine is a total badass - an invulnerable berserker wielding adamantium-covered claws in his hands. Wolverine isn't the kind of guy to have a crisis of conscience when it comes to kicking ass and taking names. If Wolverine was a US President, he'd be Teddy Roosevelt.

So what the hell went wrong with Wolverine Adventure Factory? Well, for the many flaws in this game, I blame you. Yes, you - the online gaming public. You, who demanded player customisation to the point where now developers don't even create a game. They merely provide you with a bunch of simple tools and allow you to make whatever the hell you want. And what do you make? Crap, that's what!

Game players are not the same as game developers. I can bitch and moan all I want about badly made games, but at the end of the day I concede that I'm just a whining fanboy who lacks the technical skills to produce anything beyond basic, um, BASIC. And I'm fine with that - I, like many others, register my opinion and then the developers can either listen to the feedback to produce a better game next time or they can tell me where to go.

But this is what happens when you put the tools to create games in the hands of people who think it would be cool to have six Magnetos running around. And when the programme itself is poorly developed the problems are doubled. Actually playing one of the user-generated levels can be akin to pulling teeth with a length of wire and a Mack truck. The controls are incredibly simple - arrow keys to move, space bar to attack - but they're also ridiculously clunky and the reaction of your character is far slower than expected.

Plus, the more stuff on screen, the slower everything runs. Take the shot above as a perfect example; with so many characters and moving platforms it all slows down to a crawl. Now, maybe that's just my system - for all I know, people with high-end computers won't have the problems I did.

Consider that last sentence for a moment. You now need serious hardware to play a Flash game. Yeah, maybe we've gone a little too far.

Some of the animation is just ridiculous. Watch as Ice Man races around like a tired toddler, his gangly legs and arms swinging wildly back and forth. His proportions are all out of wack whenever he's moving. This is what would happen if Rob Liefeld made a video game, only with fewer pouches.

I figure I should probably write about the level editor itself, but in truth this isn't all that bad. Like I've already stated, the tools here are basic and therefore easy to use. You simply place your hero and decide on your goal, whether that be collecting jewels, fighting bad guys or just getting to the door. Then you arrange platforms, obstacles and bad guys.

I put together something simple and fairly easy to complete, because I didn't want to spend too much time on it and I don't hate the rest of humanity. I stuck a few faceless soldiers in there and a laser gun before figuring, "Oh, what the hell?" and including Magneto (one Magneto, because there is only one Magneto, you assholes, and he's awesome. Though, as a master of metal, I don't understand why he never just twists Wolverine's adamantium skeleton into a slinky and leave him that way.)

Maybe I'm just being mean-spirited, but then you could say I'm being mean-spirited every week, so what else is new? Wolverine Adventure Factory is based off a similar game simply called Adventure Factory, which for some reason I found a whole lot more fun. But the honest truth is that this is just another shameless plug for another TV show, and therefore had about as much forethought put into it as the last Transformers movie. What could have been a lot of fun is actually a frustrating, sometimes boring mess. Wolverine Adventure Factory is the Flash equivalent of Ikea furniture, and about as exciting as a flat pack coffee table.

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