So I’ve been playing a lot of Street Fighter 4. A lot. Like 250 matches in 4 days alot. It’s not right. While I was slogging through the arcade mode I was wondering why there was even a plot anymore. I thought that I basically might be happy with being given a selection of weirdly dressed international stereotypes and have them fight. Maybe they don’t even need names. Stretchy swami guy vs. punch drunk boxer guy. That might be enough.
But there’s still a plot, and still cut scenes and they’re a little irritating because I don’t really care. I just want to fight weird stereotypes against other weird stereotypes.
But Battle Cars, my friends, Battle Cars. Battle Cars reminds me what it’s like to be dumped into a game without being told anything. If I had been a SNES owner when this game came out and had chanced to rent it, I probably would have at least recieved a hastily photocopied manual explaining what exactly I was to do with my car. You begin the game. There is a title screen, you choose to play single player and you are driving. It is Mode-7 with kind of an F-Zero feel. You start driving, there are other cars. You have some missiles and things that you can shoot at them if you feel so inclined.
30 SECONDS LEFT flashes on your screen. You keep driving, wondering where you’re going or whether you’re supposed to shoot that guy, wondering who in the future decided to name a city Newtroit.
10 SECONDS LEFT flashes on the screen. You try to pour on the speed even though you can’t because you’re already holding down the A button and there’s no button for go faster so you stay the course.
A race starts right after that, you go around the track. There’s nothing that tells you what place you’re in, or indeed what you’re supposed to do. You just drive circles around this track for awhile and maybe shoot at guys and then it tells you you won. Then you go back to another road trip. I did this three times before it told me I lost. I’m not really too sure what’s going on with this.
Battle Cars feels less like a game and more like a morning commute in the future. Like you get in your car and your wife (except they don’t use that word anymore, they use a word that means the same thing but has more Zs in it) yells a string of well-meaning expletives after you. You check your air filter that’s made by one company because in the future one company makes everything because the free market and human hubris leads to political oppression and commercial monopoly. Your air filter is still good so it’s time for you to head to the MegaCorp Omniplex in downtown Newtroit and you have to get there before your workmate Bill who has an eyepatch and wears that Mad Max biker gear even though everyone is doing the silver jumpsuit now. If he gets there first he’s gonna tell your boss that the notes on the Xulutsemon account aren’t done yet and you’ll get thrown in the slave pits for sure.
You have some missiles.
It’s go time.