Friday, 22 April 2011

Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter (PC) - Guest Post

Regular contributor mecha-neko heads to the far future for another FPS Friday.

So, is Mace a nickname or what?

The year is 2412. The place: the frontier of the universe. No, wait, it's actually 2612. Hell, I don't know. There's no visual cues or captions in the intro, so I have no idea where we are in space or what it is exactly we're doing. I can't be bothered listening to it. From the looks of things, there are dangerous corporations, desperate colonists and skulduggery afoot.

Let's focus on the immediate present. There's some kind of hubbub on a space station. When you've got a hubbub bubbling over, bub, call the Rangers.

As soon as the Ranger squad gets on board the space station, all hell breaks loose and everybody gets separated.

Luckily, Ranger Griffin is prepared for anything. The starting weapon is a light machinegun built to turn perps into paste. Game on!

These red-clad dudes and these lizard dudes are everywhere. No idea why these guys want me dead yet. The lizard dudes sound like Jar Jar Binks slowed down.

Does this place look like Red Faction to anyone else?

Before long, whoever keeps sending wave after wave of these guys after me decides to step it up a notch. Away go the grenade launcher lizards and the light machinegun men and in come the space ninjas with their revolvers.

I duckjump into a vent to take cover to let my shield recharge.

For some reason, I really dislike recharging health, but a recharging shield is fine. A recharging shield means that if somebody sneaks up behind you (i.e. simply spawns there silently when you pick up a key), you don't instantly die and have to redo the entire level again like in Killing Time. Unlike both Nakatomi Plaza and Killing Time, there's no manual or quick saves in Mace Griffin, so bouncing about the place and finding cover quickly is a must.

Remember duckjumping? They were days.

This poor man remembers duckjumping.

Mace can carry all of the guns at once, because he is awesome.

Speaking of guns, that revolver I nabbed off the space ninjas seemed a bit cack compared to the LMG I started with. In Red Faction, the pistol you started with could fire as fast as you could press the trigger. In Mace Griffin, it fires incredibly slowly.

Unless you use the alternate fire!

The alternate fire for the pistol fires off the whole cylinder in one go. The alternate fire for the shotgun readies multiple shots to be fired at once. The alternate for the LMG is a grenade launcher. These guns are pretty neat guns.

The space station was set to self-destruct! It was a trap for Mace and his team!

Strange thing to do, if you think about it. As far as I know, there's absolutely no reason to do this. It would be like luring a SWAT team to your house and then blowing them up. All you're doing is annoying people and you'll end up with no house at the end of it.

You get to hear the Ranger commander yell in anger and desperation as Mace leaves him behind. Oh well.


Mace is the only survivor. That's either very good or very bad.

'Despite your claim about wormholes and aliens, you abandoned your post resulting the death of your team.'

Mace's been sentenced to ten years in a penal colony. He's understandably a little pissed off about that.

The sentence happened completely off camera, as it happens. We don't get a montage or so much as an illustration. We didn't know Mace that well beforehand, so it's hard to say how much it's changed him. He seems very miserable and he's lost his helmet. I think he misses it.

We're on some kind of passenger ship and I have to wait for it to dock before I can do anything. There isn't even an intercom to listen to so I wander about aimlessly and bounce on the furniture.

Hey, lizard dude. Are we not fighting any more? No hard feelings.

There's only one thing on Mace's mind: revenge. He's not exactly sure who he's getting revenge on at the moment or where they can be found, but he'll know 'em when he sees 'em. Probably.

He looks a little worse for wear than he did ten years ago, but he's still wearing his Ranger uniform.

Since the Rangers have been disbanded, Mace becomes Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter™. He calls in a few favours from people he used to know and gets himself a ship. Coincidentally, it's a military surplus Ranger ship! This is either because Mace would already know how to fly one of these, or the game modellers couldn't be bothered to design him a ship of his own.

Either way, it flies and it shoots things, which is more than enough.

I don't know what this guy is. He might be a robot, but he seems to have a furry mane. And very big hands.

This guy is my new boss, Moscone.

He can't legally pay me in credits because I'm a convicted felon, but he can provide spacecraft, weapons and repairs. Presumably, this is supposed to be a safer arrangement.

The briefing:
Somewhere In Space there's a religious cult that worships technology. They like to wear masks which pump mind altering chemicals into their faces. Some tyke managed to get into their Big Mainframe and fiddle with the settings, so now all the innocent cultists have gone mad and started attacking other ships. I'm to get my butt over there and give the computer a good kicking to turn them all back to normal. Let's go!

I head back to the hangar and make my way to the helm of my very own space fighter in a spiffy, continuous motion with no loading screen. Today's weather: green.

The hull indicator is showing 83% because I... kinda crashed into the space station a bit. I wasn't used to the controls; you use the mouse to pitch and yaw the ship, but it doesn't control like Freelancer. In Freelancer, you move the mouse away from centre and that sets the angle and speed by which your ship turns. In Mace Griffin, the controls are more FPS-like: you give the mouse a shove and you can make your ship turn one-eighty pretty much instantly.

Time to plot a course for the Temple of Light. Aaaand JUMP.


We've arrived at the Temple of Light. Today's weather: blue.

I'm not alone here... there's cultist bogeys all over the radar! Mace doesn't even try to reason with them. He's too intense for that. It's time for some space combat!

The space combat is incredibly fast paced. This is the first fight, but there's already a dozen enemy ships flying around me like mad things. I barely had time to read the tutorial messages, keep an eye on the radar and dodge all the enemy shots. This is the only shot I had where there was something other than blinding fireworks and smoke on the screen.

I think this bit was pretty fun, but it was all over so fast I can't really remember. A damn sight more enjoyable than the first fight in X: Beyond the Frontier at least.

Wait, these are the guys I'm fighting? But they're so... happy! All this guy did is say 'Praise technology!' and raise his hands up!

There's dozens of them. Hundreds of them. This is their holy ground, they're there innocent victims here, and I have no choice but to shoot them all dead.

Mace, you're a bastard.

This game is the cursed child of Red Faction, Timesplitters and Halo. How could anybody possibly hate that?

I'm hoping that Mace visits a pretty planet with nice plants and a colourful sky at some point, because if you've seen one dimly lit space station you've seem 'em all. But that would be an adventure for another time.

1 comment:

  1. Know what?
    After reading this, I think I'm finally going to play this game.



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