Friday, 5 August 2011

Red Faction (PS2) - Guest Post

Hey, I've got a modern console game for you this time!

I like Red Faction. You should too! Here's why!

Three million years from Earth: the mining ship Red Dwarf.

The crew are dead.

Dead miserable, that is!

Our man Parker is having a bit of a mope about his time on Mars. He wanted to get away from his life on Earth and so signed up to be a miner for the Ultor Corporation. Turns out being a miner is a pretty crappy job. Abusive guards, awful living conditions and now the miners are slowly dying from an uncurable plague.

Parker's reached his breaking point. He's got a plan to get away from Ultor forever...

Calmly work through the rest of his contract and then leave. He just wants to keep his head down. He's no action hero.

Today's shift over, Parker's ordered to return to the miner barracks. We find ourselves drawn into a confrontation between the guards and the miners.

The altercation turns violent, punches are thrown, shots are fired and everybody dies.

They're shooting me at me! I can't just stand here! I grab a stun rod from the fallen guard and run headlong into the first person I see. Take this, you brute!

Violence in the mines turns into all out war between the miners and the guards. Squads of guards pour into the mine. It's kill or be killed.

The mysterious voice of 'Eos' blasts from the intercom. My killing spree has marked the beginning of the revolution, the enslaved miners are to take up arms against their Ultor oppressors and carve a bloody path off this planet.

Uh oh.

Parker's insane speed, low-gravity-enhanced jump and complete mastery of weapons make him a man to be feared. This guy didn't know what hit him as I bounced up to his face and emptied the pistol into his chest.

I've met up with a couple of Red Faction miners hiding in a small side cave. They're packing rocket launchers, so I stay behind them and cover them as best I can. As soon as we get a couple of steps outside of their little cave, they silently crumple up and die. Looks like they were scripted to die; the game wasn't expecting my hot-shot pistolado skills.

After some time trying all the different, identical looking routes out of the mines, I finally manage to find another Red Faction miner. After killing his pursuer, he tells me that if I can keep him alive and take him to the docking bay, he can get me a place on a commandeered shuttle heading off Mars.

We get about 20 feet before he's killed in an unavoidable fiery explosion.

Who did that?

Red Faction's pistol has to be one of the all time greatest FPS guns. It's powerful, accurate (if you aim) but most importantly fires as fast as you can press the trigger button. You want to zoom in and snipe a guy from across a chasm at a crazy rate of fire using a silenced pistol? Done.

GoldenEye 007's Sniper Rifle does the same but it's got an eight bullet magazine compared to the RF pistol's 16, so it's not as good.

This tank thinks he's going to get across this bridge safely. He's wrong.


It wouldn't be a Red Faction post if I didn't show off the GEO-MOD! So here it is!

Red Faction's Geo-Mod allows explosives to remove chunks of the environment. The holes look a big crap due to their not being lit, but they do work! They're not glitchy if you approach them, you can make tunnels and go through walls and all sorts. You can't do it everywhere and it's never where you want it to be. Except for here, because it was on the trailer.

If you're feeling industrious, you can carve out the entire length of one side of the bridge.

And then do the same to the other side, causing the entire middle section to fall into the abyss. Tell me that isn't clever.

This glass shattering effect is very nice too. It smoothly turns to triangles and clatters on the ground. It's not realistic, but it doesn't have to be. It's video game glass. Very nice video game glass.

The guards' AI doesn't know what's happening with the glass. Sometimes they shoot at you through it, sometimes they treat it like an opaque barrier. In this room, if you're pursued by guards and leap through the broken glass, the guards tend to leave the room and come in through another door to avoid trying to shoot you through it.

Where does this lift go? I have no idea.

It goes to the guards' barracks. Not the best choice of destinations given the circumstances, but the docking bay is on the other side.

As I blast my way through the various checkpoints, the calm voice of Ultor and Eos take turns threatening and encouraging me over the radio. Eos won't shut up about how important and great the Red Faction is, but whenever I actually meet RF members, they get killed.

Eventually, they admit that I'm the only one who's actually gotten anywhere.

To be honest, the guards here seem to have it as bad as the miners. All the things that Parker complains about in the intro happen to the guards too, more or less.

I get the impression that Parker was a psychopath waiting to happen.

I find a detention center and free this caged miner. He bounds off out the door, promising to show me the way out. He leads me to a couple of already destroyed lifts and then dies dramatically. Then guards barge in through every door and I'm killed before I know what's what. I think these events were supposed to happen in a different order.

Now we're in the cafeteria. Today's special: automatic shotguns.

I have no idea where I'm supposed to go. The barracks seems like it's the end of the road. There's dozens of rooms, but none of them lead anywhere.

While I try to figure this out, I start idly shooting rockets and throwing charges to see which walls are destructible and which are not. The general rule is whenever there's windows and ledges, it works. Whenever there's metal, or you think it would make a good screenshot, it doesn't.

I've got enough rockets and charges to make myself a pretty respectable tunnel through the side walls, but it didn't end up leading anywhere.

I got stuck in the barracks for a couple of hours until I realised that the highly visible, wide open vent which I managed to be completely oblivious to up until then was the right way to go. Now, I've got ladders.

The ladders are fine, I'm not falling off them in stupid ways or anything, but trying to fight off guards while on them is pretty difficult.

My Ultor insider radio buddy Hendrix is saying that I really should get to the docking bay before the ship leaves. What's the rush?

I arrive just in time to see the commandeered shuttle fly out the doors and get hit by anti-aircraft missiles. I suppose really am the last Red alive now.

I'm going to have to find another way off Mars!

There, I've found myself a ship of my own. That was easy enough. A big blocky, but it should fly.

But... I can't actually steal it. There's some goodies and some baddies in the back, but that's it. Darn.

I suppose stealing the ship before I've turned off the missiles would be a mistake.

Am I absolutely sure I want to press this button?

Sure, it looks quiet now, but there's two guards behind every door and every box. My fast-and-loose attitude to the weapons has left me with only rocket launcher ammo. Fine by me. Sucks to be the ceiling though.

It's easy to miss this massive gap when you're hurtling down the corridors of the facility. The first time I played, I stumbled right into it and died. Now that I knew it was there, I used it as a hiding place to shoot the guards.

This battle robot is the first thing I've encountered that could count as a boss. As awesome as the pistol is, it's not exactly the most appropriate weapon at this point.

Kaboom! Hah hah!

Took most of my rockets and some fancy footwork, but the robot is now a smoking crater.

Ooooh! High risk? High pay? High adventure? Sign me up... oh wait, I did sign up. To be a miner. It was rubbish.

What a mess. There's holes in the walls and floors and pieces of shattered glass everywhere.

Red Faction looks better than GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark and it plays better than GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark. It is better. (Though the music does sound like Perfect Dark.)

It's fast paced and fun. It has auto-aim and you can turn it off. It has reconfigurable controls. You can save at any time. In fact, you're encouraged to do so, because there's no checkpoints (that I've found). You die and you're back to your last save. You don't have a last save? You're back to the start of the game. The size of each save game? Over 400K (of a 7800K memory card). That's a bit much. The worst thing about the game is that it doesn't have a level select. That's it.

Red Faction is the PlayStation 2's highly capable ambassador introducing kids everywhere to the joys of playing console first person shooters. And by that, I mean they're in for a real shock when they find that every single other game is crap compared to this.


  1. Bit of an older post, but I stumbled across this while looking for reference for one of my favourite childhood games. I couldn't have said it better myself.
    Despite all its faults, Red Faction was a genuinely quality title.

  2. Best game ever, and I love your Red Dwarf reference and literary everything else!


Semi-Random Game Box