Sunday, May 15, 2011

Independence Day: Hardly Deserving Of Fireworks

Independence Day for Playstation was one of those games somebody left at my house. It has been here for years now, and since I hadn't played it, I didn't know why my friend left it. After having seen the game played, I feel like he owes me for keeping this crap in my collection instead of his. Notice how I said I've “seen the game played,” that's because, for the first time I am writing an article about a game that I have not played. It may seem rude to slander a game that I haven't even played, but having seen a friend foolishly put the game into my Playstation and play it for at least two hours makes me think I've been tortured enough. I can laugh about it now, but my friend who played it still seems angry.

ID4, as the cool kids used to call it, was a huge movie in July 1996, and it was popular enough to get licensed for toys and of course video games. Usually you can blame the crappyness of a licensed game on it being rushed out along side the media it is based upon, but this game didn't come out until February 1997, so the creators can't use that excuse. My running theory is that developer Radical Entertainment just didn't give a shit. Looking at the company's history of releases, I don't think there are a lot of times they did give a shit. I mean, is there anyone who would say Mario Is Missing! and Mario's Time Machine were a labor of love? On the flip side I rented Jackie Chan Stuntmaster and enjoyed it, and I hear Prototype was fun. Maybe it just took them a while to get it together.

Anyway, Independence Day is awful. There is strange use of FMV, on the title screen, which incidentally doesn't have a title on it, and after you start the game. For some reason these videos are shown in widescreen and placed at the bottom of the screen. It has a bunch of footage of dogfights from the movie, but they must have not payed for the rights to use Will Smith's or Jeff Goldblum's likenesses, because they are nowhere to be seen. In fact, there is no explanation of the story whatsoever, and I guess you're just supposed to piece things together yourself, not that it would really make a difference to how the game is played.

In the first stage you fly around and take out turrets and alien fighters. You have your standard machine guns and missiles to accomplish this, and you have to do it in under 10 minutes or the mother ship will blow up the stage. This doesn't seem like much, but with the draw distance being so short and your radar being not very good and your controls being awkward, it's not so easy. It took my friend quite a few tries, but eventually he took out the objectives and blew up the mother ship.

The second stage was more troublesome. The goal is the protect Air Force One, but it doesn't show up on your radar, so that is a pretty difficult task. As far as we could tell, you had no effect on whether Air Force One went down or not, because he spent one trying to kill everything he could and another doing nothing and Air Force One stayed in the air longer on the latter. He was very determined, and played the level a bunch of times. He wasted a lot of his life trying to beat it.

One time he was lucky enough to have Air Force One last long enough to enter the portion of the game where the mother ship's cannon comes out and you have to destroy it. So, he did the logical thing. He flew into the cannon, yelling “UP YOOOOURS!” Hey, it worked in the movie, but in the game it just earned him another failure. This was the tipping point and he finally gave up on the game, and after writing this article, I think I'd be happy to never see it again. If you want to play something that will remind of the film, just play that one level in Star Fox 64, it's much better.

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