Hello I'm mecha-neko and I'm playing first-person open-world epic Boiling Point (aka. Xenus)!
Click here to go back to part one.
It's another sunny day in Realia...
Something is very not right about this town.
It's rare that I can get through a full conversation without either Saul or the other party having missing lines, spinning madly or vanishing entirely. I think I may have reached the extent of where the developers stopped caring too much.
You're ruining my immersion, man!
"Stop by the CIA agent", huh? That sounds like it will lead to some exciting adventures! According to the townsfolk, he lives in a small house decorated with gaudy US flags. They all know he's a CIA agent and sort of feel sorry for him as he's trying quite hard to fit in.
Agent Weinstein has a super critical important secret mission for me. Only a mercenary of my caliber can possibly hope to execute this operation.
He wants me to...
The Commandante, as is the wont of every 'faction' leader in these kind of games, has his own set of missions for me, provided I'm willing to pledge my full allegiance to the Communist cause. Maybe later, guy. I'm real big on hoarding things. Like guns. And money.
Yeah, I don't think this communism thing is for me.
Should I take another CIA mission? That first one was a little lame. Was it just a test?
Whatever you do, don't shoot the civilians. No matter how tempting. Apart from being, y'know, murder, it's incredibly dangerous. The police won't materialise out of nowhere: they don't need to! Every civilian I've found is carring a concealed revolver. A few of them pack grenades too, because why the hell not?
I'd show you what it looks like being Public Enemy Number One, but being shot by invisible people with ridiculous amounts of health who don't drop anything of value is exactly about as much fun as it sounds.
I'm thankful that quick loading works, though the recent events were a bit too traumatic for a couple of the NPCs to forget and they've taken to blasting rats, birds or each other.
No 'Loading' screen once again. Clever ducks.
(Hey, aren't you the bus guy?)
What a let down.
At the police precinct, all the cops outside say I should 'go to the precinct'. Inside the station it's the same story: 'go to the precinct'. Whoever wrote the dialogue in there needs one hell of a thorough reality check.
Saul pipes up "My throat's dry. Gotta find a bar."
After that inanity, drinking sounds like a great idea. Hmm, now where could I find the bar? I haven't got a clue.
He's got some useful info for me! (Hurrah!) For a price! (Blast!)
He tells me all about Don Pedro's big secret hideout full of goons. One step closer to tracking down my lost motorbike. Or was it daughter? Probably daughter.
Well I'm fairly certain that I wasn't supposed to be drinking, but this isn't good. Either I got talked into some kind of drinking game when I wasn't paying attention or this guy is simply describing the drinks so vividly that I'm feeling the effects. On the stats page, I'm 100% addicted to alcohol now...
"You know the routine - murder, terrorist attacks, kidnappings, extortion. Just go straight to our base. It's not that close, and our men aren't too friendly. But for 100 pesos I'll tell our trigger-happy brethren not to blow your brains out on sight. Is it a deal?"
Mafia located! That Mafia schmooze sounds like a right bargain for 100 pesos. I'll take it. You tell 'em all to be sure to not shoot the guy driving the burning bus.
Apparently, I'm so drunk they sent out the attack choppers to gun me down. I don't last a second under the automatic fire before I'm deaded. There's a slight pause, and I'm magically revived at the local doctor! Some brave soul must have gone out with a lead umbrella and scooped up what was left of Myers into a bucket. Healing isn't free and I'm told that 'some of my belongings' may be gone too. Great.
I don't have any idea where I am or what I'm doing any more. This game is very realistic in that respect.
Oblivion-style telekinetic powers, but everything I tried to 'Lift' shattered instantly and the guy got awfully upset.
And that's not all, I seem to have triggered some kind of fracas down over there. Let me zoom in a bit...
Saul says he's not ready yet. He needs more experience. He needs blah blah. He needs a smack is what he needs.
Damn it. Well I can't use it, and I can't raid it as if it were a container. I can 'Push' it though... and off it silently floats into the horizon, never to be seen again. So long, boat.
Now what? I'm bored.
Saul doesn't want to take ANY of them. When you try, you just get a cryptic message at the top of the screen saying "No go, Amigo.". I got the same thing trying to carjack random guys as I tried in vain to escape my bus ordeal; Saul just won't touch these. You idiot, man! I thought you were ex-military. You've got to be able to drive these things. I don't care if you don't know how. JUST GUESS!
And isn't he another copy of the bus guy?
I can't believe I'm still wandering around the town enjoying the plants and stuff. I'm going to put the rest of my money together and get some serious stuff done. How long have I been playing this ridiculous nonsense anyway?
Practical plan. I need a car. Right, I left Lisa's car at the newspaper office! That's a good plan. Oh, it's completely out of gas because I didn't turn the engine off when I left it. *slams head on horn*
"These cars aren't stolen, are they?"
"How should I put this...? Yes, but we have some that are not stolen too."
Let's see what 900 honest pesos gets me.
I'm going to cross off some of these couple-dozen objectives I've racked up from talking to passers-by. Hmm, the Editor guy gave me an instruction manual about boats and told me to visit an instructor somewhere. If I can find this guy and get him to teach me how to drive boats, that'll let me drive boats, which is good. Unlike now where I can't, which is bad.
Several miles of driving later...
Don't fall in the water by the way: killer fish!
Those reflections in the water are awesome. All realtime, and all that jazz. It's as if they got the jungle and the water working, and had to finish the rest of the game in a month. There's even been a little attention to detail spent on the audio: unusually for an open-world game, there's background music.
It changes depending on the time of day, whether you're in the jungle or the town, whether you're in a vehicle or walking, whether you're in combat or not. There's not so many tracks and they're all compressed to buggery, but I'm going to point out the few things this game does right because they please me muchly.
For fuck's sake.
Having exhausted all sane options, I might as well see what the Mafia have to say. Get my 100 pesos worth and all.
Despite fighting in near-complete darkness it's a good result. I'm intact with swag. Killed quite a few of either side (I don't recall which) and only got knocked down to half health. Delicious fruit eases the pain and I'm on my way.
The Mafia base is shown on the map. Almost there. I need to switch to a dirt road.
Roight. Action time!
I couldn't have picked worse circumstances to make an assault. It's pitch black and the Mafia can hit me from miles away. I can hear them taunting me from every direction. I just need to keep running and ducking and diving and picking them off when I can see them until it gets light. Then I'll scoop up the dead, stick 'em in my boot and get rich.
What was that sound...?
But this? THEY BLEW UP MY TRUCK. I have now reached Boiling Point™.
Don't do that, by the way. If you go out in the open for a second (on Medium at least) you're going to be shot seven ways from Sunday.
The only hope you have for defeating guys is to stay perfectly still, use your stereo sound to determine which direction their standing and shoot them quickly before they shoot you. Don't use their guns because they're broken and jam. (A curse which Far Cry 2 later contracted.)
When I make it back to town, I'm going to be hailed as a national hero for killing all the crime. Every time I kill a Mafia guy, the act of murder is psychically transmitted through the universe, manifesting as positive reputation with the Government and CIA.
Let's just say stealth is completely out of the question because this game is a creaky, barely game-shaped embarassment and leave it at that.
Saul's personal pistol is still at 0% damage, so if I can make all of these shots (and I can, because I'm ace) I should be able to clear out the encampment without leaving my cover...
ARGH, A SNAKE! IT'S A SNAKE! HELP!
Guess what happened next.
For those stupid enough to run towards a pair of wrecked, burning helicopters that might explode at any moment, you also win two 0% damage revolvers. Yummy.
KABOOM. That's some sterling glass smashing effects you've got going on there, game. Shattering into realistic triangles and falling correctly. I like it.
"Where's that Yankee Doodler!?"
Maybe trying to take on a well-defended enemy installation by myself wasn't such a fantastic plan after all. Never fear, nobody stops Saul Myers! He's at Boiling Point don'tcha know.
Come to think of it, Saul doesn't have any special abilities whatsoever. Boiling Point is just a name, not a special ability gauge like the 'Balls' meter that makes you indestructible in Scarface, or the Tequila Power in John Woo's Stranglehold. Saul is just a dude. A dude fighting off near-invisible enemies in the Deep Shadows of the Realian jungle.
I'm so nearly dead now. Nothing cures a chest full of bulletholes than eating ten pineapples whole! Mmm, and I'm back in the game.
"This modern chemistry is going to be the end of me."
"Dammit, my veins look like they could star in Trainspotting."
That seems to be the end of them. Every nook and cranny searched. Every last Realian Mafia blasted, and I'm free to claim my hard-earned treasure.
"No go, amigo."
Fuck off, game. This makes no sense. There's NO WAY I could have gotten a vehicle in and out of here intact. I want to do a cool escape after shooting up the place, and you clearly want me to drive one of these out. It makes logical sense, but you're not letting me do it. WHAT'S GOING ON?
Not this time, Boiling Point! You're outta chances, and I'm turning this ridiculous piece-of-nonsense off once and for all.
And here's the trick - none of that was the actual plot (except the Editor). Every time you talk to somebody, try to use a car, find a weapon, or go somewhere in Boiling Point, you never know what's going to happen. It is unpredictable. Stupid, yes, but never predictable. It's not procedurally generated, heavens no! None of that heartless, bland random garbage here. Everything in Boiling Point has been meticulously designed and placed with absolute precision, the developers just got everything, everything, so fantastically wrong that the game itself is practically alive; a whole new entity formed accidentally out of the parts of the game that are functional enough to coalesce together.
Boiling Point doesn't have rough edges, it IS rough edges. It's a patchwork quilt of rough edges hastily fastened together with used, rusty surgical staples.
And that's why Boiling Point is the best game ever.
Not exactly. All of that above stuff did happen, more or less, but Xenus: Boiling Point wasn't where it ended. Somewhere in the world, somebody thought it was really, really good. So they made a sequel, Xenus II: White Gold: War in Paradise.
As far as I can tell, Xenus II is exactly like Boiling Point in every way, except more. It has multiple islands. It got an English release (somehow) and this time the developers outdid themselves by making it unplayable until you download the full original Russian voice data from elsewhere. Gamersgate sold it briefly but then they stopped, presumably after they'd actually had a go.
You'd think that after all that somebody would have told them to stop. But no, they didn't. Deep Shadows are unstoppable. They made a whole new engine and decided to take their FPS RPG dreams to the next level. Their next game, Precursors, is set in space. With multiple planets, and space combat.
Deep Shadows are truly the best of us all.