Games are very easy to forget. I should know – I’ve forgotten hundreds of them. From the C64 through to the Amiga 500 through to various chipsets of PC and alongside the arcades I used to spend a lot of time in, there are lots of games I’d probably remember if I saw them but I’ve long since pushed them to the back of my mind.
As a way of remembering some of them a bit better, I thought I’d start bullet pointing what came to mind when going through titles so that in later years I can look back. These won’t be reviews, just some points for each game.
And as appropriate for such a tortured beginning, I’m going to start with Visceral Games’ Dante’s Inferno.
– As a game, it’s pretty average. I’ve got a tendency to button mash and suck at launching into air combos, so it was hard to find combat particularly engaging (and you do a lot of combat in Dante’s Inferno).
– The level design is brilliant. Not the pathway through the levels – that’s as linear and signposted as could be – but the thematic design of each level is brilliant. Greed has rivers and lakes of molten gold, Gluttony is all mouths and throbbing intestines, Lust has you climbing a penis tower and Anger is fire and crying, regretful statues (sadly some of those videos are too filled with PR fluff, but you can catch glimpses of the excellent designs). Hell is an appropriately unfun place to be.
– Sadly the same kind of imagination wasn’t shown to Dante’s enemies, who seem to have shown all their tricks before mid-way into the game.
– A lot of comments were made about the amount of boobs on display in Dante’s Inferno, but this is the first game I remember that rewards you for finishing the game by showing you the protagonist’s penis. It’s at about 4:17 in the following video for the curious among you:
– It was interesting to play as a character who actually recognises he deserves to be punished for what he did.
– The ending sucked. Even if you don’t want to see Dante’s dangly bits, defeating Lucifer with your scythe / cross has a sense of satisfaction to it… that is all undone when final victory comes in the form of flying white balls of magic love within a cutscene. It cheapens the whole point of beating the game if the souls you collect (to spend like currency in mechanic terms) are the ones who defeat Lucifer, not you.
I think the only payoff of seeing the souls attack Lucifer in the end was seeing all that time put into the soul absolution mini-game result in something other than a sense of: “Yeah, Elektra. We’re cool now.”
But yes, level design was killer, and creature designs were nice. There was repetition, but I’d check out a sequel. Though I think “Purgatory” would be a bit of a yawn 😉
I’d probably check out a sequel as well, but I don’t believe that Dante’s Inferno sold enough copies to warrant it.