Today on Super Adventures I'm learning that 'V.I.P.' was a TV series starring Pamela Anderson that somehow ran for four years a decade or so ago without me ever learning of its existence. This isn't even the only licensed V.I.P video game, as there's at least three of the things available on systems like the PlayStation 2, Game Boy Colour, and Game Boy Advance, and I can't imagine that this is in any way a good thing for the humans who have to share the planet with them. That's not a knock on V.I.P. by the way, I've never seen the series, I just know that games based on any TV series (even the good ones) aren't typically regarded as things that have any business existing. Though I will of course give this one a fair chance to win me over.
One thing I'm still not clear on through, is what exactly am I even looking at? A stack of laminated 'kidnapping' cards? Issues of Kidnapping magazine? Emergency kidnapping kits? Microwavable Kidnapping meals?
I haven't seen the series so I could be way off here, but I get the impression that while this character is saying one thing, she's secretly sending her real message in morse code with her right eyebrow. That must be why it's so important that they use their video communicators for every phone call.
|Kato-chan & Ken-chan (PC Engine)|
Fortunately the sunglasses don't seem mandatory and my gun has infinite ammo, so I'll likely do fine by ignoring them and sticking to the streets.
You know, I'm going to have to look up this character's name, because the game hasn't bothered to introduce her, and I can't keep calling her 'she' or 'Barbie'.
Vallery calls in to explain to her team that the ransom delivery was a trap, but she's sure that the leader of the mercenaries is still hanging out somewhere in the building. Apparently she's talking about the exact building she's standing outside of, but I've no idea where's she's getting all this from. I don't know, maybe she peeked inside a window and saw his secret anti-ransom command center or something.
She'll need a scanner unlock the door and get inside, but fortunately this other guy is on the case.
IMDb tells me that he's called Quick Williams, plus I also found out that the series's title comes from Vallery Irons Protection, which is the agency they all work for. This is one of the problems with video games based on TV series: they assume that everyone playing must have seen a few episodes, because why else would they be playing it? The trouble with this is that it means that no effort is spent on introducing any of the characters, setting up the premise, or even dropping enough hints to let a player pick things up as they go.
I mean would you have guessed from these screenshots that they're bodyguards? Yeah yeah I know it probably mentions it in the manual, but this isn't some 80kb NES game, it's from 2002!
Huh, this leads to a dead end? Oh, I have to go through that door on the top right I guess. I'm getting bored now so I need to hurry up and get inside before I start noticing things. Like the way that the support beams cast a shadow but the ladders don't.
By the way, I have to point out that the animator went to the trouble of creating an entirely different crawl animation for this guy. I also have to point out that his shotgun has a scope on it.
LATER, BACK OUTSIDE.
Nope. Though I have learned that I can reach that floor up there if I jump from the top of the boxes.
Funny how the wooden walkways outside were viewed from an oblique perspective, while these floors are all shown side on. There isn't even a shadow underneath this time to give the floor some depth, it just looks like some metal strips bolted to the wall. I only realised I could get up there and stand on it when I saw the enemies running back and forth.
The thing about Metal Slug though, is that it's easy to jump around and dodge enemies in it, and in this it really kinda isn't. I did try leaping out of the way of his attacks at the beginning, but it wasn't working out so I eventually just gave up on that. Annoyingly when I restarted the level I found myself conveniently relocated on the other side of the room, so I haven't got a good enough excuse to rage quit in frustration yet.
Well Plan A didn't work, but this time around I've got a new scheme, I call it 'Plan B'. It involves running right up to the boss and doing the exact same thing that I did last time, except I'll be starting off with more health in the tank. Unfortunately he's got all his health back too.
It's not a very good boss fight.
That's level 1 finally finished with, and I even got a password for my trouble.
I'm crawling to the right and pressing the gun button whenever the bad people appear on the right. Fortunately every innocent civilian in the city decided to sleep in today, so it's loveable killable mercenaries all the way.
All cutscenes are skippable by the way. They made the effort to put that feature in, so I'm making the effort to give it some credit. Games without skippable cutscenes, you have all just been SHAMED by a V.I.P. platformer.
But at least now I've learned that the game has falling damage. Shame I never learned the guy's name. I just call him 'rubbish knife guy', because he fights with throwing knives instead of a pistol, and they're rubbish.
It's likely gonna take a while.
I gave the next level a quick try, but it was more of the same so I decided that I'd seen enough and turned it off. The end.
V.I.P. on the GBA is a surprisingly nice looking game with some... semi-competent run and gun platforming. I didn't find it all that fun, but it was never all that annoying either. It just kind of exists, in defiance of all logic and sense.
I think part of the issue is the movement. The characters have some mid-air control, but they don't quite move like you'd want them to once they're airborne, and they have an irritating pause after landing before they can run or jump again. I soon found that whenever I needed to dodge incoming fire I'd instinctively duck instead, and on the stages I played through being crouched makes you a god. The goons will get you eventually, the gameplay's not that broken, but it's pretty much a game about being faster on the trigger, and the extra edge that crouching gave me took any challenge out of killing regular goons. Though to be honest there wasn't much joy in killing them at the best of times, and that seems to be all there is to do in the game besides collect sunglasses and find ways to cheat at boss fights.
Though on the other hand, there have been NO irritating escort missions whatsoever so far, which clearly makes it the best bodyguard simulator ever.