Monday, 3 October 2011

Off-World Interceptor Extreme (PSX) - Guest Post

It seems that freelance video game analyst mecha-neko's found the closest thing you're gonna get to a Mystery Science Theater 3000 game.

I was originally going to play the 3DO version of this, but then I was told there was a PlayStation version that was EXTREME, so I just had to play that instead.

Some time in the far, far future, a group of bloodthirsty bounty hunters lands on a distant off-world base in search of riches and glory.

You probably noticed those folks and their lamp at the bottom of the screen. I had to check to make sure I wasn't going nuts, but there are in fact two guys riffing over the FMV cutscenes!

After Crash 'n' Burn, Crystal Dynamics decided to throw in the whole hog and make a game both celebrating and taking the mickey out of the FMV revolution. This place is straight out of some cheap nineties sci-fi series... Hey, I just thought! You can watch along at home! (YouTube link)

In the background, one of the mercenaries starts whooping and hollering at the guys walking past.

"What... does he think he's the Crow?"

"I wish he was the Crow. Then he'd be dead already."

The camera pans over to reveal this guy. The guys immediately christen him 'Colonel Fancy'.

"WELLLL! Look who's here! Wahahahahahaha! TRASHMEN! Bloodthirsty macho mercenaries... oooooooh!"

"We prefer 'Sanitary Engineers'!"

They really put their effort into making all this look as authentically terrible as they could. The real cutscene is played straight in the silliest possible way, and the guys at the bottom aren't that bad, either!

My favourite bit is a silly gag about this periscope-like machine that comes down from the ceiling that your character has to look into to see the briefing.

"Eyes up!"

"Y'know, I just had a checkup... and I have 20-20, so I don't think that this is... uh..."

"Step forward!"

"There better be naked ladies in this thing..."


We're supposed to chasing down some guy named 'Ferro Lupus'.

"Lupus won't be your only problem..."

"I dunno... a friend of mine had lupus and it was a BIG problem!"

"I wish I could get my hand off my chin... I'm never going to that glue planet again!"

"No civilian has ever survived a mission... so consider yourselves warned."

"AAAAAnd consider yourself!... Part of the family!"

Enough of Colonel Fancy's face. What kind of game IS this?

It's a... vehicular shooter! That's as best as I can describe it. You drive into the distance while 90s rockin' music plays and... that's about it.

You've got tons of weapons: lasers, mines, jumpjets, airstrikes, boost, missiles, all assigned to different buttons. Normally I'd like that, but I have no idea how these things work or how many I have. My plain old laser has infinite shots and works on anything that drives up beside me, so I'm not going to try anything else unless it becomes necessary.

You can't turn left and right, only slide from side to side, so I'd say we're heading into the distance... what little we can see of it. You get about five or six car lengths before the landscape disappears into blackness. Not very useful when you're driving at the speed of sound.

There's enemy cars everywhere, but they're not shooting me. They like to try and stick to the sides of my car like this... doesn't seem to slow me down at all.

My buggy has absolutely no trouble with walls. It just slides right on up. I think the meter above the CASH caption is my progress through the race. I have to get my white marker to the end before it all fills up with red.

I was right! This is level 2!

I think I've more or less got the hang of this now. My infinite lasers shoot out in a cone in front of me and I've got mines for anything behind me.

It's a shame that this isn't anywhere near as interesting as it looks. Everything's very fast-paced; the prerendered cars jiggle up and down the landscape like nobody's business, but there's nothing to DO. If I could think of a way to hold all these buttons down at once, I could just leave this here for five minutes and come back to a won level.

Aaaah! It's boss!

This tank thing looks like it's going to pose a significant challenge. The level began with a whole load of powerups in front of my car, so I'm guessing I need to use my special weapons wisely in order to succeed. First, I'm going to test my regular lasers, but they probably won't work very well.

Well, I was wrong about that. My laser cone hits the boss for massive damage and I'm out of range of all of his attacks. The only thing he can do to stop me from hitting him is brake. Then I brake. Then he accelerates.

Bang. I don't feel very satisfied by this victory.

I didn't even get to see what it was the tank was trying to shoot at me because I was so far away. Back to base to report the good news!

Oh right. Him. I forgot about him. He's a little surprised that I survived the mission and even more surprised that I'm back for more.

Where's all the other guys?

Aw... they're all dead. That is a shame.

"I was watching via satellite..."

"Did you tape me?"

"I caught some of your antics."

"Yeah, what about my shenanigans?"

"You take a lot of chances, trashman. Don't... take too many."

"Are you starting to care?"

"Hey! She digs us!"

I'm stinking rich after bagging Lupus, so let's buy a brand new car! This shop makes sense... but it also doesn't make sense.

Jeez... take a look at these names: Vindicator, Interceptor, Roadkill 409, Violator, Abductor, VV SECTOR. I can afford the Interceptor, but I upgraded the Vindicator with the money I had at the start. Oh what the hell, let's go nuts.

I take to the swamps of blue-green world in my shiny new Interceptor! I'm coming for you... guy. I have no idea who it is this time or why we're going after them. Even if I cared (which I don't by this point) the guys talked over it all anyway.

Different music, the enemy buggies shoot this time... but it's still boring as hell!

Spaceships! Ooooh. Must be difficult to pull up alongside a rocket buggy and hover like that. I evade them by driving diagonally up the mountainside.

It's only a matter of time before I get bored enough to just park the buggy in front of a defense turret and wait for it to blow me up. There's lives (and you can buy more), but I don't care. Enough!

Hey, a game over cutscene! The Trashman is dead and Colonel Fancy is not impressed. The Major is a little upset because she thought we were special, but he just thought we were lucky.

"We were special! She loved us!"

Maybe I didn't give it long enough, but I would have to say that this game is a bit cack. I think I would have had more time for it if it gave me something to do. Driving down a linear corridor makes Off-World Interceptor Extreme similar to Star Fox, but in Star Fox you've got to keep avoiding lasers, hitting targets and doing barrel rolls. In OWIE, I put the pedal to the metal and put the kettle on.

Crystal Dynamics are very good at the bad bits and very bad at the good bits. If the game was anywhere near as interesting as the cutscenes it would bring the total number of 3DO games worth owning to... *counts on fingers*... one! Don't forget you can watch all the mission briefing cutscenes on YouTube for a giggle.

Speaking of which, they were talking in that cutscene about what just happened... are there different game over screens for different levels? Let's find out!

It takes an UNBELIEVABLY long time for me to get killed on Level 1. Every time I park in front of a laser tower, but damn thing keeps missing me! I eventually found four of them bunched up next to each other. Between then, they eventually managed to blow me up.

All the Trashmen are dead and Fancy's having a bit of a chuckle. He did warn us, after all.

"Is he talking about us?"

"Are we dead? ...or just short?"

I feel sorry for the Major most of all. All she wanted was someone to talk to (or rather 'at') and now I'm dead.

And all she has to look at is THAT FACE.


1 comment:

  1. Thelastman GendoIkari6 February 2013 at 20:31

    I have to thank you :) I played this game one day about 18 years ago in a store where they had a playstation freely to use (and play XD) and I really liked that game but I never found it later (I have never had a psx XD) !
    I hope it will be fun now as it was that time XD

    PS: Excuse for my simple/bad english but I am italian :)


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