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Bastard.GUNS 1982 vs. Pepsi Ranger
Bastard.GUNS 1982 This was actually the second day of their honeymoon.
Rolling Stone
Download: 59 KB
Pepsi Ranger
Play Time: 0 hours and 7 minutes
Review # 7 for Pepsi Ranger This was actually the second day of their honeymoon.
Them's Fightin' Words
    Player 1, you have a mission: Kill all opposition as if your life depended on it…because it DOES hahahahahaha! Oh, and take out the trash while you’re at it.

Gilbert’s latest OHR entry entitled Bastard.GUNS 1982 takes our hero Player 1 into the depths of VR heck to face off against monstrous adversaries who assume the forms of werewolves, vampires, and giant keypads, all of whom want to be the king of the mountain in this horror-theme deathmatch tournament. Each opponent adopts a “Player” moniker, and has every intention of stopping Player 1 from becoming the last player standing. Of course, Player 1 can’t allow that because he stars in a Gilbert game, so the other players and all their zombies must die…again.

    The settings in this game have minimal detail, but the maptiles are nicely pixelated for the most part. Let me explain in greater exegesis:

The first level takes place partly in a graveyard, partly in an outhouse. The graveyard seems suspended in some starry dimension, which I’m guessing has to do with the fact that it’s a virtual world. Most of the time graveyards have wilted trees, moonlit skies, and little blue bony hands sticking out of the plots. This graveyard only has tombstones and an outhouse, with the occasional cloud and flock of seagulls flying by. Not bad, but a little underdeveloped. Granted the objects that do exist are nicely constructed, but there’s too few of them to immerse the player completely. The outhouse: same deal—it’s a small room, with only a block of toilet in the middle. No posters, no windows—just a crapper. There’s still room for Player 1 to get the job done though, so it’s all good.

And just so we’re still on the same page, that job is werewolf slaying, so get your minds out of the toilet.

The battleground of both areas (which can be chosen by Player 1 depending on where he’s standing when he draws out the werewolf (Player 3)) are carbon copies of the actual travel maps, so if you like the standard map graphics, then you’ll like the battle graphics too.

When Player 1 finishes his mission in the graveyard, he’ll mosey on up to the top tombstone where he’ll teleport to the next level—a.k.a. Level 2. This level is the empty blue room of death where Player 4 the vampire chick awaits our digital hero. The highlights here include an aquarium complete with swimming shark and a window complete with stationary glass. There is also a blue door and a blue control panel that set in the center of the back wall (where all the room’s details come alive) to act as the escape block when the vampire witch gets bitten. That’s pretty much all there is to it. A table or a torture rack or something else would’ve been nice for the floor space, but there really isn’t any time to interact with anything anyway since Miss Bloodsucker attacks the moment Player 1 takes a step toward her, so it doesn’t matter in the long run.

When the goth chick falls, Player 1 takes a peek behind door #1 to find his final opponent in another empty blue room of death with bare walls that look a bit like stone, and a giant centralized button that demands of the player: DON’T PUSH THE BUTTON. The sign of course features an arrow pointing down to the said red button, further tempting the player to defy it. But who’s really gonna push the button? And that’s all there is to this room. However, when the battle commences, a giant keypad looms in the left-hand corner of the battlefield, contributing to the only real extra detail (not including the button) that can be found in this area.

The character graphics are a bit small for the most part, but they’re rendered well. Gilbert more often than not constructs well-defined walkabout sets for his characters and this game features the same modeling talents. If you look closely, you’ll even see Player 1’s hair shake and shimmer as he walks. Not sure if that adds to our hero’s masculinity at all (he looks a little bit like a citizen of Krypton), but I suppose blowing the snot out of a werewolf more than makes up for that.

    The story line behind Bastard.GUNS is really quite simple: Player 1 must enter into the field of virtual battle and eliminate his opponents. Is there a reason? Well yeah. It would be really pointless for Player 1 to walk around the insides of a computer without something to do, right? Come on, people, get with it.

Sadly I pretty much explained the whole story in the graphics section (which must be a new record for somebody), but what I can add is that Player 1 grew up in the ghettos of Suburbia, and became a football hero by the age of nine. He was the talk of the town for several years, so popular in fact that, scouts for the NFL came out to take a look at him when he was only fourteen. But then he got hooked up with a bad crowd (the Suburban Playas) and lost his skills to feather dusting. From that day forward he grew frustrated with his life, looking from place to place to use his duster, but the days grew less satisfactory for him. And at the last moment when he was about to give up all hope for the future, a man named Jimmy Stewart found him and trained him in the art of bounty hunting. From that day forward Player 1 dipped his head in a bucket of white paint and vowed never again to pick up a feather duster. Now his mission in life was to hunt the undead both in reality and in the virtual world.

Which brings us to the present…

Okay, I made all that up, but it sounds good, right?

    The gameplay of Bastard.GUNS (say the name again, kids) is strictly devoted to battle strategy, rather than to exploration and all the other goodies that make an RPG an RPG. Even though the first area at least allows you to mess around with the tombstones, most of the game’s playing details comes down to how and when to use your items. In some cases this includes when to use items outside of battle, but most of the important stuff is within battle. Since the second and third levels have NOTHING for you to interact with in walkabout mode, the challenge is truly limited to how you fight. Straightforward, nothing else. I’ll break this down further in the next three sections.
    The battles are without a doubt the bread and butter of Bastard.GUNS 1982. The story revolves around them. The player revels in them. The guns fire off in them. If not for the battles, the game would cease to have purpose.

So how well are they executed?

A few months before this game came out, Gilbert asked a question about creative ways in which a hero could dispatch his enemy. Too often games relied on basic attacks and lame magic spells to convey a battle sequence and Mr. Rolling Stone wanted something unique to present in its place. Specifically he wanted a way for the environment to react to the battle to either aid or harm the hero. Now I don’t remember every detail about what was said, but this game is the fruit of that discussion.

That’s right, folks. This game uses environmental cues to assist or hinder the hero’s fight against digital injustice.

For example, take Player 3 (the werewolf). There are two ways to confront him: in the light or in the dark. Since most creatures of the night prefer darkness anyway, it’s best to fight face to face in the place that has more light. In this case, the graveyard has more light shining down than the outhouse. Therefore the werewolf has more vulnerability to taste death in the open than he does in the confines of a port-o-potty. Once Player 1 evaluates this advantage, he must decide which he wants—an easy fight or a hopeless one. In this case he’ll want to choose the easy fight because he’s a retard if he doesn’t. The solution: draw the werewolf out in the graveyard, not the twa-lay.

And that’s the nature of this game—to choose the most efficient method in dispatching the bad guys. Unfortunately there aren’t many alternative methods to choose from, but the ability to choose outside resources period is a nice bonus. Most games don’t offer this feature, especially when the battle system uses the traditional OHR style, so it’s good to have it. Clever indeed.

There is one minor problem though…

You can escape all but the last battle.

Oh well.

  Map Design
    Well there isn’t much to comment on this one. Most of the gameplay is in the battles, while very little of it is in the maps. Every map fits entirely on the screen at once (I think most of them are 15x15 tiles or less), and most do not offer interactive scenery. In a game like this, the interactive scenery (in walkabout mode) would’ve been a great addition, allowing the player even more freedoms to choose from. As it stands though the “interactive scenery” is only manipulated by in-battle attacks (Level 2 only) and does not really reflect a change when the battle is over. And given the virtual bareness of two of the three areas, I’ll have to admit that the map design isn’t spectacular. But at least the areas are small so it’s impossible to get lost (unless you can’t find the directional keys on your keyboard).
    Okay, now here’s an interesting subject to look into. Since the maps have very little to add to the game or its experience, most everything here has to rely on the battles. This means that the battles have to be the sole beneficiary of the balance scale. Question is do they make the cut?

I think they do.

Chances are that if the player chooses poorly in his attack methods and preparation (did you remember to drink your whiskey before confronting an opponent?), he’ll get beaten. If he fights the werewolf in the dark, or the vampire without (*insert spoiler here*), the fight will be bloody, messy, and downright embarrassing for our hero. And we don’t want that. However, when all the right choices are made, the hero can win. Though sometimes it’s still by a narrow escape. And the final boss? The game mechanics allow for the hero to barely skate by the first phase of the destruction sequence if he completely pummels his opponent.

So it can be a challenge to the uneducated. But it works.

    Unfortunately this game was made without the joys of BAM music, but I’m sure there’s something good in your CD collection that you can listen to while you play. I’d recommend Evanescence for this one since it’s, you know, a bit dark. Just a thought though.
    After doing this review thing for the twenty-third time, I still can’t predict what the gamers of the world will think about certain RPG experiences. However, my thoughts on this game in particular on an enjoyment scale essentially revolve around one question: will there be more?

I’m not really asking for more levels, but rather, will there be more resources available to take these guys out in the future? Can I flip a table on its side to shield myself from the werewolf’s crazy swipe attacks (like there’ll be one in a graveyard:P)? Will there be a way to throw raw meat onto the vampire’s head so that the shark will attack her instead? Will there ever be a reason to have the keypad functions in the hero’s spell list? With these possibilities implemented, the enjoyment factor will raise considerably for me. I’d also like it more if the battles were custom-made, rather than OHR standard.

It’s still an interesting OHR experience nonetheless to see how tactically minded one can get.

Final Blows
    I’m still trying to find a good use for this section, so I’ll just state a few additional opinions here. For starters, the game shouldn’t start in the graveyard. It should begin in the outhouse. The reason? It forces the player to choose. Does he walk outside, or does he stay in the smelly musty room? As it stands now, the player never has to see the inside of the outhouse and that could prove disastrous in the grand scheme of things. I’d rather the game open with Player 1 entering the virtual world through a warp portal (being the toilet of course) and stepping out to search for his prey. Right now he just stands there on the fields of the cemetery waiting for an excuse to empty his pistol into a two-legged dog with drool. The thought of entering the wooden shack? Zero. It needs to begin there.

Secondly, why feature unique methods in fighting the bad guys when the player can just run away from them? Not sure this helps the enjoyment factor any. It does help the player see the ending faster though.

Thirdly, the keypad numbers (in the spell list) really need a purpose. As of this moment they serve no point other than to deliver the same level attack as the gun (but with only one hit).

Lastly, I’d really like to see this remade into a custom battle engine so that more stuff can be used in the fight. Perhaps much larger arenas would be nice too. Make it truly like a tournament.

And that’s all I can think of for now.

Unfortunately, one man saying

Unfortunately, one man saying "have at you" to another man seems vastly inappropriate.
Final Scores
Graphics: 4/10.0
The walkabout graphics have eye appeal, but the maps themselves are a bit Ethiopian. I think the individual tiles have enough pixel detail to keep this score above the “poor” range, but again it’s the lack of scenery detail that keeps it out of the “sufficient” range.
Storyline: 2/10.0
I know that story is my thing when it comes to rating these games, but this one doesn’t have much to offer in the story department, and doesn’t really need to at this stage of development. I would eventually like to see something more gripping in the future (perhaps Player 1 is hunting for a serial killer or something), but as it stands the game is too short to really enjoy a story line anyway.
Gameplay: 6/10.0
This game was designed with gameplay in mind, and I think it managed to pull off what it intended for the most part. The only reason why this score isn’t higher however is because the maps themselves feature very little in the way of interactivity, and the resources that are available for the player to use are few in numbers. Essentially this score is going to the creativity of the battles more than anything else.
Music: 1/10.0
What CD do you have playing right now?
Enjoyment: 4.5/10.0
I was impressed with this game the first time I played it because it attempted to do something that most, if not all other OHR games seemed to avoid trying. But in the long run it’s a game about using the OHR battle system, and regardless of how clever things may get here, I get tired of OHR battles after awhile. Maybe if the interface changes or if the story becomes more involving will my enjoyment of this game increase.
Overall Grade: C
Final Thoughts
    If you’re looking for a creative method to fighting battles, then this is the game you want to play. But if you’re looking for something that isn’t OHR related, then why in the world are you even reading this?

Thought of the day: “How many times in a row can you say the name of the title without chuckling under your breath?”

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