Sunday, June 29, 2008

Day 119: Dirk Valentine and the Fortress of Steam

My extensive research into the British people and their customs (several episodes of Are You Being Served? and a copy of Cricket for Dummies) has led me to conclude that they are a people with a low threshold for excitement. How else can you explain millions of Britons watching three days of batting practice with rapt attention?

Another case in point is Dirk Valentine and the Fortress of Steam, a game that combines beautiful pixel art with steampunk and a giant chain gun but still manages to be a dreadful bore. The main problem is Monty. Monty is the old guy trying to look like Albert Einstein who appears every 10 steps to explain exactly how to get through the next part of the level, completely removing any challenge that might have existed.

The game itself is pretty straightforward. Blast your way through The Baron's giant flying steam fortress, collecting medals which seem to have no defined purpose, and rescuing other British fellows, who cheer and then leap inexplicably to their deaths, before reaching the final battle with The Baron.

The controls are a combination of the arrow keys and the mouse, which is a bit strange since it left me playing the entire game with my left arm stretched across my body. Clearly Dirk Valentine is meant for those who've made the move to laptop computers with their fancy centrally located touchpads.

Dirk Valentine, like all things British, is too polite for its own good. It spends too much time pandering to me and not enough time kicking my ass.

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