Saturday, April 15, 2006

I'd rather Jack...

...than Fleetwood Mac. Aka the 24 mobile game review.

The problem with games nowadays is they are far too complicated. Take The Warriors which if it were made 10 years ago it would be a button basher similar to Final Fight, but has now been made as a part-button basher, part stealth 'em up, part annoying running into the camera/running into fences straight in front of you which if the camera were only the other way around you'd see easily. However despite this The Warriors is excellent. It's one of the few games I've completed recently. 24 is the other.

One of the reasons I felt compelled to complete The Warriors was that it felt just like the movie. 24 feels absolutely nothing like the tv show. I just completed it as I needed something to do on the toilet at work.

It's a hark back to the Ocean 8/16 bit multi level film tie ins. The added advantage is that the loading times for each level are about 5 seconds instead of 5 minutes. The disadvantage is that it you have to use the number pad of your phone to play - surely the most annoying control method since the PS2 dual shock pad.
Quick Jack! Hide behind those bookshelves...
They'll never see you there!

It doesn't help that all the games were programmed by people with absolutely no idea of how to make a game playable. The logic puzzles (based on Lights out, basic code breaking and a simple follow the line task) are perfectly serviceable, the driving game are ok (except you have to keep pressing up to accelerate), the action bits are rubbish.

In the main action bit pressing right makes you keep going to the right with no way of stopping unless you change directions or hit something else. The baddies just wander in a direct way to yourself unless a shelf is in the way in which case they just stand there. Through lots of practise you can work out there's a place to wait, occasionally peeking out then running back to the hidey hole waiting for the baddy, shooting them and so on. But for the casual gamer it's going to be impossible for someone to work this out.
The slightly annoying driving bit. Annoying as by accelerating you
put yourself at the top of the screen. Right where the other cars
are coming in.

The stealth bits are also rubbish for people unable to put the hours in. For the first few goes I tried the most direct route, only to eventually discover there was a few safer path just a few steps below.

In your role as a CTU agent you get to allocate agent to the different areas. The game makes careful note to "choose people by their attributes". This would be useful if it actually said what each area entailed. Instead you have to decide whether Chloe or Jack is best suited to the Docks or Club 54. The best example of this is where each area is called Radio Tower and you have to select a person for each area. Once again the game is eliminating all the people who can't be arsed to memorise what levels are contained in each area.

This is why I hate it. And the plot is rubbish too. However you can name your character, so plus points for allowing yourself to be called Agent Osama. That's where he is Bushy!
Probably the best bit of the game - the return of the Elder Puzzle.

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