Mr Fall

Intestinal Fauna
Kirk Windstein
Kirk Windstein
"ok YOU try having a fictional relationship with someone after they'd fictionally used you for marzipanning trepanning while they wore fictional upset toddlers as legs, and not be bitter"
  Mr Beatings
  [prototype] Xbox 360 Review

I really enjoyed this game to start off with. Absolutely loved it, in fact. This changed.

Prototype tries to tell the story of Alex Mercer. He’s a typical PROTAGONIST who is being sought by The Man after his arm goes yampy and tries to turn into a piece of cutlery. This obviously cannot stand with the New York cutlery makers guild, so they all put on skin tight grey uniforms and metal blinkers and try to hunt him down. It’s around this time that PROTAGONIST starts to clutch his head and gruffly exclaim “HURGH!” a lot as he remembers his family and stuff. From here it’s a descent into stultifying dialogue and ridiculous clichés. More of that later.

We’re presented with an open world Manhattan for which to jump around in as PROTAGONIST uncovers the Gawdamn Truth about What They Done To Him. Starting off we’re in a full blown infection of some sort. Grotty individuals duke it out with grey suited blinkered military types while screams and flames wreath the air. It’s here we go through a standard tutorial mode introducing each of the main powers that PROTAGONIST is blessed with. Then it’s taken all away in a contrivance. Yep, we’re transported back 18 days and we have neutered powers. We can simply sprint up vertical walls though WHEEE!

Yep whatever What They Done To Him has turned PROTAGONIST into a parkour flippy arse. Running at vehicles in the streets causes much merry flippity floo as he twitches like an epileptic twat over obstacles in his path. Strangely, this causes no comment or reaction at all from the people on the streets. Must happen a lot over there. Nowt counts as a serious problem to PROTAGONIST, as he scales the tallest buildings with sprinting ease, and drops off the other side all the way to ground level causing a rumpus but no injury. Remember when trying to scale the agency tower in Crackdown made your heart flutter at the thought of falling? Not here. It’s fun at first, but with the lack of danger soon becomes boring and pedestrian.

You gain back your powers bit by bit by completing storyline missions and earning experience points. Yep, some God or some such is watching over you, scratching their flowing she-beard, going “Hmmm. Hmmmm. HMMM!” nodding their head and writing down points for your deeds in cosmic pencil on an ineffable scorecard. I expect. It’s never explained why this happens, it just does. Anything earns you these points. Killing a grey blinky man? Yep. Collecting strangely placed glowing orbs? Yep. Completing strange assault courses across rooftops in a time limit? Yep. Who’s setting these arbitrary courses up? WHO?!

Anyway, you learn that you’ve released a virus onto the city that’s slowly infecting the populace and that’s why you’ve got all these supah boffo powers. It’s genuinely interesting to watch the city descend from a normal existence down to the shrieking infected covered streets. People change from wandering around normally, to holding their guts and stumbling around, to full on raving infected psychopaths. Very good. This obviously means an increase in military presence, consequently making your traversing around the city more problematic. But AHHhHH. PROTAGONIST finds that he’s able to “consume” just about any living thing in the city and take on their identity and memories as a side effect of his virus. So you’re able to push yourself into any military character you see, and blend in to steal their weaponry and vehicles as you see fit.

And you’ll need them, as the infection has spread to buildings which pour forth gopp onto the streets and are defended by Flailing Goms. Yes, the Flailing Goms are annoying, large Resident Evil Licker-alikes, who’s main attack is to flail, gommingly, at you in an unavoidable manner. It’s around about here that you realise that your main enemy in this game is the camera. The Goms lunge at you from off camera as you wish, hope and pray for a zoom out option in order to see them coming. Caught in a flinch avalanche, PROTAGONIST has little choice but to endure this until the Gom in question has finished flailing. There’s some guff about being able to side lurch out of the way, but the control combination to do so worked about 5% of the time for me. Endure it is!

The camera also works against you in the timed side missions. Its sole purpose seems to be to get in the way of free flowing movement. It causes PROTAGONIST to slip and flip off the wrong side of buildings. Strangely do a 180 degree turn and head back at you. Obscure and confuse the direction of travel. You soon realise that the control scheme is not made for finesse or precision, and the completion of challenges relies as much on luck as anything else.

The graphics are serviceable if not startling. It’s all very grey and moody when things are okay, changing to red and smoky when you stumble into an infected area. After I unlocked the glide ability, I was upset at the dark brown patch covering PROTAGONIST’s gusset. Now I can’t look at anything else while he’s flying. *Shudders*

The story would’ve been interesting if it was written by anyone other than Hackneyed Emobot 13. An example:
*silver haired miltary man crawling away with PROTAGONIST slowly following to deliver the killing blow*
"Argh! Ooh! Oh betsy my legs! You think you've won Mercer?!"
*sneakily pulls out anti-viral injection while crawling and monologuing*
"Well I can tell you all about... PENN STATION!"
*PROTAGONIST clutches head*
*PROTAGONIST falls over a bit and starts going "bluergh!"*
"HA HA! You see it is I who what am winning instead now!"
*Man injects PROTAGONIST, then turns his back on him for God knows what reason to ask for detaining Men*
Oh NOES! PROTAGONIST has dissapeareded!

And all this delivered by the drawling vocals of a cunt.

However, my main gripe about this game is that from the mid-point onwards, around when you discover the Flailing Goms, the story mission turn into a series of ball aching boss battles. Like the Flailing Gom? Have 12 of them on the next mission. Like 12 of them? Have a Supah Boffo Flailing Gom to contend with. Like him? Have 2 of the fuckers! LIKE THEM!? HAVE THE ULTIMATE SUPAH BOFFO SUPAH WOWWY FLAILING GOM AS THE END OF GAME BOSS! HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA! And they’re all a pain in the hole to defeat. It robbed me of any and all joy I had to start off with.
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