Gods

Those gods are an incorrigible lot!  Gallivanting around, interfering in the affairs of men and women; raising our dead, bedding our virgins, causing droughts when their daughters are abducted and married off in the Underworld, tricking bulls into mating with them, changing crows from white to black (I’m looking at you, Apollo!), and generally messing with our love lives.

Why, then, did they not interfere with the making of this game?

I am, of course, referring chiefly to the Greek pantheon of gods that reside on Mount Olympus.  In many ways their myth and legend were precursors to the celebrity gossip magazines and soap operas women enjoy today.  They cheated on each other; they bitched behind each others’ backs; they played chess with each others’ lives; hell, Eris started the Trojan War because she didn’t get invited to a wedding(!)!  I could find all of these things in a regular episode of Neighbours or Home & Away (except maybe the Trojan War part), but then again, why would I want to?

Can you tell I’m trying not to talk about the game yet?

That’s because I found Gods for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System to be generally…uninspiring.  I was hoping Gods would be some kind of Populous knock-off – because, hey, I love Populous – but I really should have known better.  If it’s not abundantly clear to you by now, Constant Reader, the SNES catalogue is riddled with generic McPlatformers.  Such fine publications as Computer & Video Games magazine (93% – CVG Hit!), Amiga Computing (90%!), Amiga Format (90% – Amiga Format Gold!), CU Amiga magazine (93% – CU Super Star!), Zero magazine (90% – Zero Hero!), and the Swedish Datormagazin (97% – Datormagazin Smash Hit!) will try to tell you differently; that I’m missing something fundamentally groundbreaking about the game, but I’m really not.

TONIGHT WE DINE IN HELL!!!
TONIGHT WE DINE IN HELL

You are a Spartan warrior (I’ll do this game a favour and not compare it to Spartan: Total Warrior or 300), running around throwing daggers constantly at the constant stream of foes; picking up random food items (whole roast chickens, lamb shanks – you know the deal) to repair your wounds; pulling levers, climbing ladders, and timing your jumps to the millisecond – in-game millimetres from the edge – because that spring in your step can’t carry your Shetland-pony-ass more than one metre high and two metres forward (again, using in-game measurements).  Oh, and dying – did I mention dying? – you’ll be doing a lot of that.

What, then, is this game’s glorious gift to Civilisation (again, another game I’ll do the favour of not comparing this to)?

Why, backtracking, my pungent friend!  For keys in doors, magic pots, and other such rubbish.  Something that the Metroid family of games does infinitely better.  In fact, I can’t think of a single thing this game does that hasn’t been done better by other games of its era.  It’s not even a “greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts” situation; there are games out there that do all of the same things Gods does in more satisfying ways.

But maybe I’m barking up the wrong tree, here; maybe I have missed something fundamental.  Perhaps the gods *did* interfere with this game, though not the denizens of Mount Olympus you might have expected, or imagined.  No, I postulate a new theory:

Gods was a trick devised by Asgard’s very own god of mischief (and comic book supervillain), Loki – to vex the minds of mere mortals, and sully the good name of the Olympians!  Here’s proof:

Look, Ma!  No vowels!
Look, Ma! No vowels!

And here’s the biggest tease:

How come Hercules gets vowels but I don't?
How come Hercules gets vowels but I don't?
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