Review – Lair

So, the critics have called this game unoriginal and unplayable due to its extra 21st chromosome technology control scheme. Harsh. They say the game’s opening monologue may as well have been ripped from the Fellowship of the Rings DVD. However there is a significant difference which qualifies this as “not a rip off,” when I’m-supposed-to-be-Cate-Blanchett gets to the part of the prologue where she introduces the uber-evil force that we’ll be up against. It’s not the giant fiery eye of Sauron or even a giant fiery uvula, but rather a volcano. Holy shit, volcanoes weren’t even in Lord of the Rings for at least two movies. How can those dicks over at every other game review site say this is unoriginal?

That’s right, the evil that has torn apart the peaceful world of Dragonslairville is – volcanoes. In fact, the mere appearance of volcanoes has caused the citizens to abandon peace, prosperity and religious unity. Not since the playground was hot lava and my five year old hommies and I jumped from swings to slide to find safety have volcanoes struck so much terror into the hearts of no one with developed frontal lobes.

So I set out to prove these haters wrong with science and a Sony requisite open mind. To test the idea that this game really is just re-cut footage of Lord of the Rings, I preformed the following test: First- use the eject button on the PS3 to temporarily end this torture. Next- insert any one of the 97 special edition LotR DVDs back into the PS3. Step three- using the sixaxis motion controls, bank the controller right to send Frodo into his Banzai Drop. Using R1 and L1, I lock Frodo onto Gandalf’s nine hundred years of wrinkled ballsack, and shake the controller like a teething toddler on an intercontinental flight to initiate the Hyakuretsukyaku kick.

I was stunned! The results were spot on – exactly the same response as when I performed these moves when the Lair disk was still in the PS3. Factor 5 didn’t even remap the button layout to cover their obvious plagiarism. Then I turned the sixaxis on my girlfriend, hoping to pull off one of the God of War style minigames.

It was amazingly accurate — and I can’t hyperbole enough here — it was the exact same Special Edition Episode-IV-Han-Solo-shoots-first-lazer-pistol accurate responsiveness as Lair: Absolute Zero. Neither Dirk, Frodo or my girlfriend seemed to have any idea what degree of tilt I was putting to that controller. My girlfriend was so unresponsive that, instead of calling up one of her hot friends for a triple twirl-the-analog-stick, she just called me a pussy and left — presumably for good.

Okay, not everything in videogames has to be brand new. Frankly I’d love to play a Darth Vader vs. Lara Croft game, but when it shows up with a cocktail of boring and frustrating it’s hard to stomach. And maybe it’s just me, but I’ll probably never have enough appreciation for the originality of a game about dragons that doesn’t involve seeking a reward blowjob from a kidnapped princess.Adding to the confusion, of an already hard to want to follow game, death is only a split second setback. While trying to devastate the chandeliers inside the enemy’s military keystone, a lighthouse, (did I mention that the military strategy consultant on the game was Cobra Commander?) I was suddenly thrown outside. After a period of apathetic wonderment, I realized I must have died, probably from a combination of the awesome power of light and the fortification provided by its many chandeliers. No loading, no waiting to retry, I like. No reason for death, or laughing skull to mock me, and I can’t really figure out if I’ve died or just gone to the next irrational mission.

The upside to becoming a raised elbow retard thanks to the control scheme is that it’s actually like driving a Ferrari when compared to the remote play feature on the PSP. But, I deserved the torment of trying to get through a level on 6 FPeoS* remote play for wanting to play remote play. When I first heard that the PS3 would allow us to play media and games on the PSP, I thought WOW! (then a beat) Why the fuck would I want to do that? I already have a TV.

* frames per every other second

So let me get this straight. I can now either sit in front of my big TV and play the PS3 on a four inch screen or go down to starbucks and show off what a misanthrope I am by playing my PS3 games on a four inch screen in public. I’m sure this is a technologically marvelous thing, but like running pantsless through a field of opium, it’s poppycock.

Perhaps, unlike the horse, the dragon’s bridle is somehow inserted through its anus. This would explain why my dragon flies like I’m jamming a mace up its ass when I want to simply turn around and fly oh, say somewheres around where all the fighting’s going on. If Dirk the Douchebag is supposed to be a dung shoveler whose uncle owns the dragon stable, I don’t mind working my way up the ranks as long as I’ll eventually look like I know what I’m doing. But, and this is the same reason (or rather one of the millions) that I hate Superman 64 so much: if I’m supposed to be the accomplished hero, then the gameplay should feel like I’m an unstoppable lazerbeam-eyed musclemonster, not Jimmy Olsen on heroin. When I spend most of the battle trying to find the battle, I can’t quite understand why the other soldiers make remarks like, “The city owes you its life today, D-bag.” Is my mom sending you a check? Why the fuck would you say that? I looked like a moth trying to find its way out of a bug zapper.

So yeah, just in case you missed it everywhere else, tilting, shaking or stomping on the sixaxis works about as well as yelling at it. To address this, Factor 5 has produced nine hundred training missions, a downloadable video on how to fly a dragon and not complain about it, the reviewer’s guide on how to not play the game wrong, and a correspondence course at Devry all intended to make me adequate at playing this fucking game, but holy shit, I already have a job. Quit telling us to learn how to play better.

To quote Sony’s most crybaby publication ever, our “minds and hands” are “open to something new”, and in fact we were looking forward to it. But when your game took a shit in our mind’s openness, and wiped with our open hands… well now we’re pissed. I hate to send the message to developers that trying something new and not getting it quite right is not okay, but when you have legions of game testers and delay your game for a year, it’s not. It may have been a good idea, but if it isn’t fun, you’ve got to scrap it and put together something that is.

I give this game a rating of one crumbling skeleton out of a possible ten tentacle choke.

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16 years ago

Hilarious and inventive, as usual. I don’t have much to add, except that I’m curious as to weather you maintain your streak of Superman 64 flavored insults in every article. Only time will tell.