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Tycho / on Wed, May 21 2008 at 12:00 am

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The Fangspire, Part Three

Being children of the eighties, of course we believe that every adventure should culminate as it has here.  Not that this adventure has been entirely culminated, of course.  We reserve the right to explore the Earth’s hidden mysteries anytime Gabriel goes to France.

I’m working my way through Haze, and it mostly feels like work.  The game we saw years ago was artful, penetrating, and high-concept.  The bones of the experience they proposed in the ancient demo we saw are littered here and there, recognizable, but still grim.  They’re like the riddles a cocky psychopath would leave at a crime scene, or gleaming copper hair - still papaya scented - tangled in a dead girl’s brush.

You may derive from that imagery that I am disappointed.  I’m not entirely certain what happened here, though there are some clues in this interview with writer Rob Yescombe.  It sounds as though there were disparities between the product they were creating conceptually and how many hours of prim lectures on military force your average consumer wants to endure.  I was surprised to hear him describe the caliber of the voice acting, because the work in the actual game is almost universally nasty - they simply don’t believe the things they are saying, which made it difficult for me to believe it.  Some of this writing is radically unlike any game writing to date, fascinating, and the rest of it is a bizarre pastiche of “urban” slang and snooty assaults leveled at the vile American strawmen the author cooked up expressly to vilify.

The fire effect from the game’s flamethrower warrants its own paragraph.  I haven’t seen a fire effect like this since Team Fortress, and I need to make it perfectly clear that I am talking about Team Fortress The Fucking Quake Mod From 1996 and not the brand new Team Fortress.  It is the opinion of myself and his website that the person responsible for this effect should go to jail, or gaol, or whatever the British call the place where you store your evil men.

I haven’t been able to find a single person with whom to play the game online, either in co-op or multiplayer, and so I’m not comfortable dismissing the entire product.  We hated Halo’s single player, actually and completely, but the social capacity of the game soothed like a poultice.  This is Free Radical’s forte, so hopefully I’ll discover something to vindicate our support of the game.

(CW)TB out. 



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