February 25, 2012 2 Comments
Old people creep me out. And by old, I mean anyone over 50. Have an odor they do. It’s the stench of death ripening on their increasingly scaly skin. So I probably shouldn’t have played a game where the object is to escort one across a psychedelic wonderland while avoiding ninjas and alien monster thingies. Octogenarian VIP is exactly that.
The basic idea is you and up to three friends have to lead “Granny” around. Right away, I encountered a laundry list of problems. Let’s go through them.
Problem #1 is that Grandma looks more like Grandpa. So I’ll call him Grandpa, because that’s how I roll.
Problem #2 is that Grandpa looks like he’s miserable and ready to die. Why would I want to escort him to safety? I should fulfill his wishes and escort him under a pile driver.
Problem #3, and this one is pretty significant, you have no form of defense to keep him alive. Offensively, you have a cane thingie to swing around. Why Grandpa’s younger, more nimble escorts would be wielding canes when swords or guns would make more sense against ninjas and monsters is beyond me. The only explanation I could think of is senility is now contagious. Meanwhile, there are several stages where the level begins with you and Grandpa being attacked. And by that I mean the level begins and a ninja or monster is occupying the same space as you, rapidly draining away your lifebars. Perhaps an allegory for the fact that the grim specter of death is always with you once you get to that age, but more than likely it’s just shitty game design.
It really didn’t become too much of an annoyance until later in the game. When I reached a stage called “bad medicine.” Never mind keeping Grandpa safe. I could not keep myself, the young and fit protector of the old fart, alive for more than a few minutes because all of the enemies gang-bang you all at once. The ninjas are capable of throwing stars at you, and if there are any present on the level, they will throw them at you whether you can see them or not. And they will. Without any way to block them, your only hope is to jump over them. That really doesn’t work so well, especially when Grandpa is always a bit slow to react. The ability to block would have made all the difference. Well, the game would have still sucked, but it would have been more tolerable. It’s like the difference between a kick in the shin and a saber through the throat.
Problem #4 is how bad Grandpa’s AI is. I suppose it makes sense, given that he’s old and therefor decrepit and useless. But we’re also in a video game where Grandpa is able to jump eleven feet in the air to avoid aliens and ninjas, so to hell with continuity. Either way, Grandpa is useless. He can’t defend himself when being attacked. You have to lock him into following you, but he’s not as spry as you. Your dude can jump like twenty feet in the air (good genes in this family), but if you’re still completing your jump while grandpa is landing, he’ll jump again. When you’re trying to zig-zag from platform to platform, that gets quite annoying.
Problem #5 is there’s no old-person sound effects. None at all. No moaning. No complaining. Hell, the critters in Cute Things Dying Violently were more like geriatrics than Grandpa is. What, with the random swearing and constant mumbling, it was just like being in the audience of Wheel of Fortune. All you get here is a completely out-of-place generic metal track. The graphics suck too. There’s no blood and limited animation, yet the game somehow got a 2 out of 3 in violence from the XNA community. Where is the violence that justifies that score?
Problem #6 is that ultimately Octogenarian VIP is boring. Escort missions are boring in any game, but games based around just escorting characters are fucking awful. Okay, maybe Ico is an exception to that. Fine, Resident Evil 4 was too. Kind of. That actually gives me an idea. A game where you tie Ashley Graham to the Grandpa from this game and then feed them feet-first into an industrial wood-chipper. That’s money right there.
Octogenarian VIP was developed by Enraged Ginger
80 Microsoft Points think old people smell like spoiled mayonnaise in the making of this review.