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This is gonna be mad easy, I have been doing everything perfect until know, I've watched drum tutorials on FL Studio, I took music classes for 6 years, I know how to play Tubular Bells in 15/8, I've composed a third stream melody in 5/7, how hard can this ge-
no more cues!
... Anyway my record is 12 haha fun game😭
no more cues!
... Anyway my record is 12 haha fun game😭
Completely dumbfounded at how this is one of the first rogue games ever made? Beneath Apple Manor and, uh, Rogue both predated E.T. by a few years each, but for many, this was surely their exposure to the genre - I know it was for me, anyway. Assuming you don’t manipulate your RNG and lock in the positions of the phone pieces (and presumably the zones, I’m not sure) in advance by holding the fire button on startup, each reset should essentially result in a completely unique playthrough. For a time where most games didn’t even have an ending, let alone such variable factors to consider in each run, this is a pretty impressive piece of shit, I gotta say. It’s not all glamorous of course, people have torn this game apart for years (and repeatedly recited the same factoids about its history to a more exhausting degree than even the development of Super Mario Bros. 2) and I’m obviously not blind to its faults. Still, I think people can be pretty uncharitable towards it all the same.
First, if you’ve ever belabored that the game is too confusing or doesn’t make sense or whatever, you have to consider that all the game’s mechanics were actually broken down in the manual. No stone is left unturned, it even explains how the scoring system works (or how it’s supposed to work, apparently the way your point total gets tallied during the ending is kinda fucked up). Pits are the mechanic that have seen the most criticism at this point, and while they can certainly be frustrating, they’re not glitched or broken or whatever. People have even pointed towards the collision being the culprit, which isn’t true either. In fact, they work completely perfectly. The real problem is that the collision is too good. E.T. and his sprite is so accurate that it’s incredibly easy to clip the pits while navigating, on top of easily falling back in once you get out. While this can be alleviating beforehand by improving your steering, or afterward by leaving the bottom part of the pit rather than the top, it’s still a mechanic that could have seen some brushing up with some hindsight - shrinking your hurtbox slightly should theoretically fix the issue entirely.
Once you have a grasp of world navigation, finding the phone parts and scraping the map for zones is actually pretty fun. And I hate to say it, but scrambling for and getting to the “go the fuck away” zone icons in-between scuffles with the government agents can actually provide very small bursts of excitement during the game. Getting grabbed by an agent sucks, but since the game is over in three minutes and a fresh start is a reset away, the pace is genuinely kind of electric. Where it does fall apart for me is actually in the home stretch of the game - while placing the Phone Home zone on one single unique spot of the map is a natural evolution of the preexisting rogue mechanics, it’s pretty obnoxious blindly running around each of the game’s five major screens looking for the correct spot while avoiding the rest of the hazards. Oftentimes I’d get all the phone parts, fumble around for the last zone, get caught, and then just reroll the system for better odds. Again, while the game can get away with these weird bumps due to its length, this one in particular feels the most cheap to me - it’s not enough to ruin the game, but definitely holds it back from being something I’ll want to replay often.
If you’re not 5 years old and refuse to read an instruction manual, there’s really no reason to be so vehemently against this one I feel, especially on a system like the Atari 2600 which, in retrospect, wasn’t pumping out the finest of the medium. It’s not high art, and surely there’s a lesson to be gained from how its launch window was handled (not just for this game, but other games launching around the same time), but gimme a break lmao. With 40 years of hindsight, I think it’s fair to say this is easily the 2nd best piece of E.T material that’s ever been made.
guy who has played 10 video games: we gotta hop on Fortnite dude this new season is peak
guy who has played 100 video games: final fantasy 6 is a narrative masterpiece [6 hour video essay]
guy who has played 1000 video games: dude we have to hop on Fortnite this new season is peak
Jet Set Radio
Calling something "good with friends" is often the cruelest thing you can ever say about a multiplayer game. Yeah, you can have fun with friends in basically anything, it turns out friends are good, not Phasmophobia. And it's so easy to see that in Lethal Company, especially from the outside looking in - some bullshit lame horror coop horror game to scream at, acting as the new steam flavour of the month game to merely moisturise the slip and slide of socialisation.
Despite the resemblance, Lethal Company is not that. Flavour of the month, maybe, but versus the thousand souless PC games out there of it's breed it's truly closer to something like Dokapon Kingdom and hell, Dark Souls, for the kinds of emotion and socialisation it brings up.
Because truly, Lethal Company is a game about having a really shit job. There's no real sugarcoating it. It's a game about being explicitly underpaid for dangerous, tedius work salvaging objects from ugly factories, where the corporation you work under and the true majesty of visiting planets and experiencing it's fauna are so stripped back and corporatised that you don't even notice it. This setting and the gameplay really sets out a very clever vibe for the game, as frankly, it on it's own, is almost deliberately not fun, but it is a wonderful way of building up a camraderie between players and really get into the boots of a worker in a bad job slacking and goofing off a bit. On my first playthrough with friends I found some extraodinary catharsis in one of the gang spending some of our quota on a jukebox playing license free music and just having a jam for a while, and likewise, a good haul which takes some of the pressure off others is appreciated, and the "man in the chair" - the guy left behind at the ship to deal with doors, turrets etc, feels both valued as part of the team, but also themselves lonely, tense, awaiting their friend's safe return.
It is also, as a more obvious point, very funny. Basically every run of this game you'll make something funny will happen. A comrade fumbles a wonky jump to their death based on bad information. You walk just inside the range of your comrade's voice to hear them screaming for help for half a second. You watch as the man in the chair as a giant red dot slowly bears down on your comrade, try to warn them and then see the red dot taking delight in eating them, and there's so much more. It's surprising really as a game with so little going on in gameplay and so limited in variety of stuff that it keeps on bringing up new stupid shit to happen.
Its rarely legitimately scary, even in the rare case you're alone amongst monsters with all your friends dead. The stakes established are just set too low, the animations a bit too goofy for the intensity to ever feel too much. And that kinda folds back in on that "shit job" thematic of the whole thing. Being almost indifferent to the surprising variety of monsters, seeing them as much as obstacles as hell demons that want to eat your face, is ultimately part of the job. Yes, the fourth angel from Evangelion wandering around whilst you slowly crouchwalk across the map to your ship is tense, but almost amusingly tense. Gotta roll with it.
It's a delightful experience, really. If you wanted to you could linger on how cobbled together the whole thing feels right now and how limited the actual gameplay really is, but they do nothing to take away from the truly great times Lethal Company sparks. The closest a game will ever get to being on the last day of your christmas contract with debenhams and just slacking with the other temps, giving people discounts on their items for no good reason and occasionally the weeping angels from doctor who come out with a giant spider and they're in the ONE hallway that leads back to the exit and Ernesto is dead, damn.
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