Monday, December 19, 2005

Puppy helmet

This weekend, I spent a decent chunk of time playing Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow. I've been enjoying it a lot. I think it would be infuriatingly awful on a console, though. (I only played the multiplayer portion on the Xbox, and it was another story entirely. The title of that story is "incredibly boring.") You're served well to F5 quicksave every couple of rooms, because the game's all about figuring out how you're going to make it through each little room or area without being spotted or heard. Saving frequently, which I assume you can't do on the Xbox version because console FPS games always suck, allows you to try out a variety of different strategies and then stick with one that works. It also makes it not a big deal if you manage to let your foot slip out of the shadows and the enemy sees you. Without quicksave I think that the game would be absolutely intolerable, because so many things that were cool and interesting would suddenly become frustrating and tedious.

I enjoy shooting out the lights, making a noise, and then grabbing the guard who comes to take a look from behind him and putting a gun to his head, and then dragging him off into a corner to give him a swift blow to the noggin. It's refreshing playing a first-person shooter that isn't really about shooting at all. The vast majority of my bullets have been pointed at light fixtures rather than people.

It's not a terribly recent game, seeing as its sequel came out a year ago, but the visual effects are still pretty good. Far Cry ripped them off pretty effectively and added plenty of its own, but the heat goggles view is still breathtakingly awesome. It's almost weird playing a game with only two guns, considering the couple dozen or so you get in some games like Half-Life, but two's really all you need, especially when one can do such amusing things as firing cameras and nonlethal tazers.

Now I also see why Amon Tobin was hired to do the music for the sequel, the third game in the series: it's obvious that the composer for this game was a big Amon Tobin fan. It's actually pretty good, and sounds a lot like the "real thing." It's got the same kinds of rhythms and wacky beats as Amon Tobin's music, but without the wacky discordant insanity in his soundtrack to the third game.

Anyway, I'll probably end up adding the third game, Chaos Theory, to my queue after I finish this one, but I've got too much to play at the moment. I may go for the Neverwinter Nights expansions next.

Oh, and the reason for the title of this post is hidden in the link at the beginning. Some of you may recognize it already.

1 comment:

Derrick Stolee said...

Your hypothesis is right: that game is impossible to play on a console. I'm a big fan of "sneaking" kind of games like Metal Gear Solid, but Splinter Cell was so restrictive. There are multiple strategies you could try to get through a room, but only one or two would actually work. I found that very annoying.