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Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines

At4w vampire the masquerade bloodlines by mtc studios-d8odaml-1024x453.png

Released
April 6th, 2015
Running time
32:36
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Tagline
The gripping story of how a purple guy did all the work for everybody else and was rewarded for it with the need to drink people's blood.
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Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. But today, however, we're not looking at a bad comic book. As requested by a Patreon sponsor, today, we shall be looking at a video game: Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines.

(A montage is shown of comics featuring vampires that Linkara reviewed in the past)

Linkara (v/o): And naturally, you can see why I would be covering this, considering the amount of vampire material I've covered on the show, like... uh... "Scarlett #1"... from five years ago. Or "Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter"! Oh, wait, Harvey reviewed that, I didn't. Um... Well, okay, last week, we had vampires! (voice trails off as he continues) And the week before, a Nazi vampire... I would say I'm doing this because it's my propensity for video games, but I've reviewed less of those than I have comics featuring vampires.

Linkara: Not to mention, my interest in video games is pretty limited. The majority of games that I play these days all have characters that look like this... (makes a jogging motion with his fists)

Linkara (v/o): Isn't this something that Maven of the Eventide should be reviewing?

(Cut through static to Maven)

Maven: Most certainly so. However, (picks up a baby and puts it on her lap) I have this child of darkness who, (strokes baby's hair) for the time being, I must focus on raising properly until his teeth develop from to become a true creature of the night. (baby giggles and coos adorably) Yes, what beautiful music he makes.

Linkara: Aren't you married? Couldn't you get your husband to watch the kid while you did the review?

Maven: (looking around in confusion) What husband?

(Cut to Maven's husband PawDugan, sitting on the couch with his laptop computer on his lap. He looks around)

Paw: Feed me your rage, Tumblr!

Maven: (calling out from offscreen) I said no!

(Paw sighs in frustration. Then we cut back to Maven, whose baby is now playing with a doll)

Maven: Anyway, go back to your little review now. Oh, and tell that Moarte guy he's a creepy werewolf lover. (shudders, then whispers something in the baby's ear)

Linkara: (looking up in thought and stroking chin) Actually, I'm pretty sure he's into mummies, but fortunately, I don't have to worry about him for another four months. So anyway–

(Suddenly, however, he is cut off by static again as we cut to Count Jackula, drinking what looks like wine from a glass (though knowing him, it's probably blood))

Jackula: Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a second! (points to himself) What about me?

Linkara: (confused) Fear Fan from Terror Obscura?

Jackula: (drinking the liquid, but spitting out in shock) No!

Linkara: Horror Guru?

Jackula: (laughing and running his finger on the edge of the glass) No, I got him tied up in the back. (takes another sip)

Linkara: Phelous?

Jackula: Aw, come on! He hasn't reviewed a horror movie in, like, four months. And, uh, are we even allowed to mention him anymore? I mean, he doesn't work at Channel Awesome.

Linkara: I don't know. Are you on Channel Awesome?

Jackula: (frustrated) Yes! (gesticulating wildly) I am Count Jackula from the planet Dracula, where bad movies stalk the night! And I've been on the site for, like, six months now.

Linkara: (stares) Beth Elderkin?

Jackula: Aw, come on! (shapes his hand like an O) Now you're just being a dickhole! (makes the O smaller to emphasize how small the hole is)

Linkara: Yeah, I am, and I think this bit has gone on long enough. I've already lost, like, half the viewers because I haven't talked about the game yet.

Jackula: Okay, yeah, but I'm an actual vampire...? From outer space? If you could wrap your little mind around that? And I've actually played this game that you're reviewing and probably playing for the first time. And I used to be a White Wolf freelance artist, so I am perfect for this review. (takes a sip of the red liquid)

Linkara: Well, come back when you've done another complete playthrough and then we'll talk. (holds up remote) Bye!

(He pushes a button on the remote and the screen cuts off with static)

Jackula: (disappointed) Aww! I wanted to play (?) again... (takes another sip and reacts in disgust at it) Dickhole. (walks off)

Linkara: (tossing remote aside) So, anyway, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines...

(Cut to a closeup of the cover of the game "World of Darkness", on which this is based)

Linkara (v/o): The game is based off of White Wolf's "World of Darkness" tabletop RPG. Or, for those who don't know anything about tabletop RPGs, think "Dungeons and Dragons", but with vampires and werewolves instead of magic, missiles and falling rocks.

(Cut to a closeup of the Vampire game's cover)

Linkara (v/o): The game's develop was rife with problems, mostly with the game engine and the difficulties they ran into with it, particularly because they had to write code with a system they were unfamiliar with. Add on the complexity of the game's various modes of play, first-person shooting, third-person melees, stealth mechanics, branching dialogue options, and other aspects that hadn't been tested with the engine before, coupled with going over budget to the point where a lot of the production team worked overtime unpaid because they wanted to truly finish it and make it a good game, and naturally, the game was basically released unfinished and untested by Activision. The game was not a commercial success upon release, and it's believed that its failure led to the demise of Troika Games, the developers. However, since then, unofficial patches have been released, developed mostly by fans to basically fix the game and restore the missing content, which was something that people were very adamant to me about getting, which I did, though I admit I was tempted to play the unfinished game just for the joke potential.

Linkara: But since I did use that patch, let's dig into Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines and see me review a video game for the first time in, like, five years.

(AT4W title sequence plays, and the title card has "A Smaller God" by Violetta playing in the background. Cut to the game's character creation menu)

Linkara (v/o): The first thing we have to do is create a character, which involves making several choices about the character we're playing. There are a number of different vampire clans to choose from, and there aren't enough hours in the week for me to release a review based on every path, so I decided to play as a Brujah... Bruyah...? Brojay...? Brojambalaya! They're done basically as brawlers and fighters, which appealed to me in this case. Why is that? Well, a big component of the game is the very political machinations and dealings of the various clans, and I don't really play video games to be immersed in what melodramatic vampire is in command of the other community theater vampires.

Linkara: (as a melodramatic vampire) I am but a simple man who plays video games mostly for fun, (normal) but also to act out aggressive feelings caused by awful comics that are best not expressed in real life. Also my desire to befriend fantastical creatures and stuff them in tiny balls.

Linkara (v/o): But yeah, because of this, my playthrough experience might be different from your own if you choose a different path. After setting up your character stats, or letting them automatically be assigned for you based on a series of questions, the opening cinematic shows your character, who appears to have dyed himself purple, having some fun times with a lady vampire... who subsequently turns you into a vampire because some people are just kinky like that. However, it seems the vampire authorities in this world have telepathic cockblocking powers, since they instantly know that this woman has turned you. Aaand you both get staked.

Linkara: That game was terrible. I created a character sheet and didn't even get a chance to defend myself. Zero out of ten; too much water.

Linkara (v/o): Actually, in this world, being staked is only a minor inconvenience for vampires.

Smilin' Jack (voiced by John DiMaggio): Garlic? It's worthless. A cross? Pfft! Shove it right up their ass! (laughs) A stake? Only if it catches you in the heart, and then it just paralyzes you. Runnin' water? Ah, that's no problem. I bathe... occasionally. Now, a shotgun blast to the head? Oh, that's trouble, boy. Fire? That's real trouble. Sunlight? Well, you catch a sunrise and it's all over, kiddo. Get it?

Linkara (v/o): Or, you know, beat them to death with a baseball bat. That works, too... I guess. Anyway, you're brought before this council of– Holy crap, I was before about this being community theater. Anyway, this dude, Prince Lacroix, is pissed off at the woman... whatever her name was, sired you without asking permission first. See, the "masquerade" of the title refers to how vampires keep themselves secret to the outside world. They don't cause trouble, they don't attack people, they don't do anything to risk exposure. As such, while they'll feed on humans, creating new vampires is kind of a big deal, and you need to ask permission to do so. But I don't think it's really anything to lose your head over.

(One vampire gets beheaded by a very big, long sword)

Linkara (v/o): Fortunately, the same fate does not befall our purple protagonist, who is instead furnished with a crappy apartment and with Bender– I mean, Smiling Jack, who provides the tutorial and information that we need now that we're a vampire.

Smilin' Jack: That's what it's all about right there.

(Two choices pop up: "1. Great! When do I get my cape? Do I get to pick the color?" and "2. I don't know how I feel about it, but it does feel good." Linkara picks the first choice)

Smilin' Jack: All right now, you got the buzz, you're feeling all kick-ass, feeling better than your best day living, but wait, it gets better.

Linkara (v/o): Yeah, that's fine, man, but I do want a cape, you know. Now, as I said, the game is based on "World of Darkness", meaning there's a looot of vampire clans and affiliations of politics, but we're gonna skip over this and focus on the story and game on its own merits. After the tutorial level, you're free to explore Santa Monica and start picking up quests. The main storyline one starts off with us getting some explosives for a dude named Mercurio so they can blow up a warehouse from a vampire gang called the Sabbat. There are various side quests to be done in the game to get more experience points as well as some extra cash. They can range anywhere from reuniting a thin blood Australian surfer vampire with his love and sire to investigating a lost bounty hunter working for a bail bondsman. That quest leads us to a prosthetics maker and his... uh...

(Cut to Dr. Insano)

Dr. Insano: Welcome to my creepy basement.

(Cut back to the game)

Linkara (v/o): The bounty hunter decides, after having his finger chopped off, that he's really not interested in this line of work anymore, so I have to take up the job.

Linkara: That really shouldn't surprise anyone. This is an RPG, meaning we are the only person in the entire world who is capable of doing anything or accomplishing anything.

Linkara (v/o): One quest has you sent to a haunted hotel, but really, what could possibly be terrifying about this? This game is all about talking and character stuff and various vampire philosophies and... uh...

(Suddenly, while the main character is exploring the hotel, one of the few light in the hall lit up explodes, plunging the room into darkness)

Voice: (whispering) He's watching...

(Then we cut to the boiler room basement, where the ground shakes like as lights flicker and spark, while the iron gate into the room swings open and shut by itself)

Linkara (v/o): SWEET MERCIFUL CRAP! (screams)

Linkara: (holding up hands) Okay, okay, just need to get myself together! I mean, just because this place is haunted by a pissed-off ghost, doesn't mean I should be scared...

(In the game, the character comes across a creepy child's drawing)

Linkara (v/o): OH, DEAR GOD! WHY WOULD YOU DRAW THAT, DECAPITATED CHILD?! (tries to calm down again, but not having much success) No, nonono, th-this isn't right... I'm a goddamn vampire! I will not be scared by ghosts... and...

(Suddenly, the boiler room basement is completely dark, save for a red light in one corner of the room)

Linkara (v/o): Oh, for the love– WHY AM I IN FREDDY KREUGER'S BOILER ROOM?! WHAT IS HURTING ME?! I'M A GODDAMN VAMPIRE!! I DON'T CARE HOW MANY LAMPS YOU THROW AT ME, I'M NOT GONNA REVIEW THEM!!!

(In the game, the main character swings a baseball bat around, trying to attack the ghosts that haunt the hotel)

Linkara (v/o): Okay, that's it! SCREW THIS PLACE! SCREW YOUR VASES! SCREW YOUR CREDENZA! SCREW YOUR FALLING ELEVATOR! SCREW YOUR STUPID PICTURES YOU KEEP THROWING AT ME! SCREW YOUR CHANDELIER! SCREW YOUR POTS AND PANS! SCREW YOUR WEIRD-ASS GHOSTLY FLASHBACK AND CREEPY MUSIC AND CREEPY LAUGHING!

(In one room, the words "GET OUT" are carved into the wall)

Linkara (v/o): NO, I'M NOT GONNA GET OUT, YOU'RE GONNA GET OUT! COME ON, JACK TORRANCE, COME AND GET ME! WHO'S JOHNNY NOW, ASSHOLE?!? I'M A GODDAMN VAMPIRE!!! I'M A VAMPIRE!!!! I'M A VAMPIRE–

(The screen suddenly gets cut off by static, then cuts to a "technical difficulties" screen, showing an insane Linkara in a straitjacket, while gentle music plays in the background. Then, through more static, we cut back to Linkara, who is lying on the futon with his hat and glasses askew on his face and his tongue hanging out. His tie has been loosened. He blinks and puts his glasses back on and adjusts his hat and tie)

Linkara: So, uh, (clears throat) yeah, that level's actually pretty fun and terrifying. Admittedly, some of it is basic jump scares, but I'm a sucker for haunted house stuff, and frankly, it's refreshing just to have a spooky house after the murder basement.

Linkara (v/o): Whether you want to or not, you're embroiled in these various power struggles, in more ways than one. You meet vampire Harley Quinn here named Jeannette and her sister Therese, who control a good chunk of the vampire goings-on in Santa Monica, and eventually either have to side with one or another, or if your stats are high enough, persuade them that they're stronger together than apart. That's what I eventually did... after like three different attempts and backtracking to try to get more experience points to get them working together. After that, you blow up the warehouse in a stealth mission... that quickly turns into a not-stealth mission as it happens. Afterwards, we meet up with this guy named Beckett, who just kind of appears throughout the game to offer advice and look cool. After that, we're sent to downtown L.A. to do some more side quests and advance the main storyline. We're immediately set upon by the Sabbat, but are rescued by a guy named Nines Rodriguez, who is in charge of the Anarchs, a vampire clan. Well, I say he's in charge, but really, as the name implies, they're more like anarchists. They don't like Prince Lacroix or the Camarilla, his particular clan. They see him and the Camarilla as authoritarian jackasses who impose unnecessary rules for everyone to follow, and that everyone is part of their clan whether they want it to be or not.

Linkara: (listlessly, with his head resting on his hand) It sounds kind of like my situation, where I am constantly dragged into doing everyone else's jobs for them and become part of the vampire club without asking.

Linkara (v/o): We also encounter this guy [Maximillian Strauss], who likes to leave vague poetic messages for us.

(As Strauss speaks, audio from The Matrix is dubbed in)

Morpheus (audio): Neo, are you ready to learn the truth about the Matrix?

Strauss (voiced by Jim Ward): Let me give you some advice, young one. Your survival in kindred society will often depend on your ability to find out yourself what is going on around you. Remember that well...

Linkara (v/o): Yeah, thanks, dude. Say, where do I get a coat like that? Or a cape? I'm still waiting on my cape. Anyway, while we search for my cape, let's talk gameplay for a second. First and foremost, guns are useless, except for certain boss fights where you want to keep your distance. Unless you've buffed up your stats like crazy or using a shotgun at close range, don't bother with guns against the average thug. Most enemies take about three to five hits to go down as you progressively get stronger and increase your stats, and the fun thing is that your stats really do make a difference in this game. Higher intimidation, persuasion and seduction get you alternate choices for some dialogue and sometimes allows you to make matters end in a much more favorable way than if you just killed people. Speaking of, killing people is both bad... and not bad. See, despite being a bloodsucking monster, you still have humanity points, and the more humanity you lose, the more of a feral beast you are. You lose points by killing innocent people or cops just trying to do their job or whatever, but you don't lose them for self-defense.

Smilin' Jack: You're a monster now, make no mistake. One of the damned and the fallen. You need to hold onto every last shred of humanity you have.

(A message choice comes up: "1. So I can't kill anyone? That seems a little, uh, restricting.")

Smilin' Jack: Ah-ah-ah! I said innocent humans. If some asshole levels a twelve-gauge your way, you drain 'em, skin 'em, and bash in their skull. Self-preservation is a vital part of humanity after all.

Linkara (v/o): Um, except, how does my vampirism tell the difference? You just admitted I'm a monster and undead and all. If it's just a matter of my own mental state, couldn't it just mentally justify killing anyone from a pragmatism standpoint? Hell, we meet a vampire who was overcome by her bloodlust and frenzied...

(She stops when she sees a man staring at her, horrified, along with an editor's note: "Uhhh... it was like this when I got here.")

Linkara (v/o): ...and was pretty horrified that she'd killed someone, even if it was out of her control. Did she lose some humanity for that? Anyway, since you're a vampire, you need to drink blood. Now, while you can't kill people in cold blood without losing your humanity, apparently, your soul or whatever doesn't mind just randomly attacking homeless people as long as you don't kill them.

Linkara: So, just to keep track of this, random attacks on innocent citizens: not evil at all as long as they don't die. Killing a cop who's shooting at you? Well, you're Satan's best buddy!

Linkara (v/o): You can also attack and kill rats...

Linkara: God's most hated of creatures, I guess.

Linkara (v/o): ...but the blood you get out of it is pretty small in quantity, so you need quite a few rats to fully replenish your health and blood supply. Other ways of getting blood? Talking to this creepy psycho in the local blood bank who will sell you blood bags, seducing women in clubs who will happily let you nibble on their necks, or luring hookers into parking garages. Uh, lady, I fully support your choice to be a sex worker, but you think it's a good idea to only be wearing a thong and tight shirt in the middle of the night? During a rainstorm? Also, should I be censoring her? I'm not certain. These particular hookers get around, too. Look, they're all over the city! Having a busy night if they're traveling around everywhere like this. Oh, and that's another thing: as far as I can tell, this entire game, like 28 hours of gameplay, all takes place in a single night! Yeah, they claim it's over several days, but the sky never changes! The morning sun never comes out to vanquish the horrible night! I mean, yeah, this is Los Angeles, but I don't think the smog problem was this bad. Anyway, you use your blood pool to access certain spells and abilities that will heal you or increase your stats. You'll probably get the most mileage out of "Blood Buff", which temporarily raises your stats, which is especially helpful when you're doing lock-picking and breaking into places.

Linkara: And once again, breaking and entering and theft are a-okay for our humanity and for staving off the beast.

Linkara (v/o): So, anyway, Lacroix sends us off to investigate the Ankaran Sarcophagus. According to legend, it contains an ancient powerful vampire called an Antediluvian, and if the sarcophagus is opened, it'll bring about the end of the world... or at least the end of all vampires.

Linkara: (bored) Oh, no, that'd just be so terrible. We must work so hard to prevent this.

Linkara (v/o): I don't really want to give away too much of the plot beyond this, and believe you me, there is a lot of plot. And the thing is, part of what makes video games the unique kind of medium that it is, is the fact that it's the player's choices that shape how the game and story develops. Sure, not every game has branching paths, but this one does, so who the hell am I to say that one choice is more legitimate than another? After all, that's why it gives you a choice to begin with. The experience is yours, and it makes you feel like you're in the game. You want to play as the David Boreanaz vampire-with-a-soul-never-take-advantage-of-anyone virtuous type? Or you want to be a self-important asshole who doesn't give a damn about all this vampire politics bullcrap and just wants some more money and spend hours dancing in the club? Or do you want to do something in between, where sometimes you're a dick and sometimes you're vampire Superman? The choice is yours... provided you can avoid getting shot at by random street gang wars that erupt for no rhyme or reason. What I can tell you is how I chose to develop things. I decided to eventually side against Lacroix on the basis that I never liked his stupid face, and the only reason he was in any way intimidating was because he had an actual intimidating person working for him while he was too busy cleaning his suit with the red trim underside of the lapels.

(Editor's note: "Collar, not lapels.")

Linkara (v/o): Plus, the first apartment he gave me was really kind of a dung heap, while the second one he gave me was nicer, I find it difficult to believe that with an organization this large and the huge-ass tower that he lived in, he didn't already have specialists he could send in to do all this crap, and he really didn't need me risking life and fang over this. Plus, some other plot stuff convinced me to side with the anarchs, but you can find that out for yourself if you want to play it. Or just read Wikipedia.

Linkara: And honestly, while I sympathize with all parties in this conflict, the clan war didn't really capture my attention. However, this game did give me a conflict I was invested in.

(Cut to a clip of the game)

Gomez (voiced by Leonard Boyarsky): The reason is because the Chinese are trying to stop the Americans from finding an ancient space probe send by the Beta-Centaurians. And why? Because the Beta-Centaurians are giving space technology to the Chinese to get back at the Andromedans – AKA The Greys – for giving space technology to the Americans in the '50s.

Linkara (v/o): Where the hell is my game about the secret conspiracy about the Andromedans in their own ongoing war? I'd play the hell out of that game. Anyway, while Lacroix may be a grade-A douchebag at times, he's at least an equal opportunity employer.

Security guard (Chunk (voiced by Daran Norris)): Yep, after that gallery, I didn't think I'd be able to get a job guarding a room full of jack squat from the boogidy man. (laughs) But then I get a call offering me this sweet night shift slot and I'm back in the security game.

Linkara (v/o): This is Chunk, my favorite character in the game. He's just a working-class dude trying to make a life for himself whenever I'm not lying to him in order to get inside of an art gallery so I can slash some paintings and accidentally summon some kind of blood-based demon. (exaggerates his Minnesotan accent) Plus, he also seems to have shades of a Minnesotan accent, don't you know, so I feel like there's a real ding-dang connection there, boy howdy. (normal) The sound design is... iffy, which might just might be because of my own computer, but other times, it's clearly the game's fault. There are points when things are presented to us... (dramatically, with an echo) IN STEREOOOOOOO! ...meaning that things are reverbing like crazy. But like I said, sometimes I can't hear what the characters are saying because (loudly) SOMEBODY DECIDED TO TURN THE MUSIC UP TOO LOUD! The voice acting is mixed. Most of them turn in pretty good performances, nothing that would win any awards, but they do their job and are convincing. But then, well...

Yukie Ogami: I am she, demon hunter. I come to this city for the blood of the demon that killed my master. Do not interfere. My revenge will cut through you if it has to.

Linkara: (deadpan, imitating Yukie) I'm just so torn up over it. Can't you tell? My life is constant indifference– I mean, pain.

Linkara (v/o): Despite the patch, the game still has its fair share of glitches, some of them game-breaking. Just for example, in an apartment, I threw a camera around...

Linkara: Much like how I often want to when I'm doing this show...

Linkara (v/o): ...and then talked to a guy and told him he should leave town. There's then supposed to be a cutscene of him leaving. However, the game bugged, and he got trapped on the thrown camera and was never able to get around it. Another example is when I actually got stuck behind a dumpster and couldn't jump out and escape. Admittedly, I'm the kind of guy who obsessively saves all the time, so I was able to escape both of these, but it's still a pain in the ass, since it usually means backtracking a bit. And some glitches are more annoying than game-breaking, like when I went on a ship to get a bunch of information and a cop was planted here by Lacroix to help. Unfortunately, the game glitches so that, well, he does this...

Cop: Yo, pally, over here! That's you, right? Is that you? That's you, right? Is that you? That's you, right? Is that you? That's you, right? Is that you?

(The camera pulls away, revealing the cop is not talking to anyone)

Cop: Yo, pally, over here! That's you, right?

Another voice: Yeah.

Linkara (v/o): (as this guy) Hey, Steve, what's Ron doing over there? (as Steve) Eh, he's just talking to his invisible vampires again. I think he just wants an imaginary friend. Damn fine officer, though. (normal) There are little things, too, that aren't glitches, but kind of head-scratching. For example, you hear cars moving and getting broken into all the time, but the streets are completely devoid of cars except for the taxicab that will take you to the four central locations: Santa Monica, Hollywood, Chinatown and Downtown, although frankly, the weirdest thing of all this is (as a guy running around holding a fire axe) "Go about your business, citizens! I'm just a random guy running around the streets with a bloody fire axe! Nothing to see here." I don't know, even in a world of vampires and ghosts and stuff, I see a guy running around with a fire axe and I assume this is happening...

(Cut to a clip of In the Mouth of Madness, in which an axe-wielding maniac smashes through the window of a diner with a fire axe and grins menacingly at Trent)

Maniac: Do you read Sutter Cane?

(Back to the game again)

Linkara (v/o): Actually, the most fun things about the game are the little extras that aren't actually part of the story, just added in for humorous content. You saw an example already with the Andromedan plot. That's from The Deb of Night, a late-night radio show hosted by Deb, and of course, when you have a late-night radio show, all the crazies come out to call in. Or just the lonely. Or the ones who just need some DAMN EMOTIONAL SUPPORT DURING A DIFFICULT TIME!!

(Cut to a clip on the radio in the less-crappy apartment)

Voice 1: Um, I think I'm pretty good at knowing what's good writing from bad writing.

Voice 2 (presumably Deb): Well, wouldn't that make you a critic?

Linkara: (as this guy, talking on the phone worriedly) Look, Deb, they're starting to make me review video games! I just wanted to write, but now they expect me to act and critique and edit and... and there's something about me making a movie now?!

Linkara (v/o): But of course, the absolute best stuff is the parody commercials on the radio.

(A montage of radio commercials is shown)

Announcer 1: This summer, all bets are off, the heat is on, the fix is in, the dogs are out, the game is up!

(Cut)

Announcer 2: Nine out of ten people prefer Friggin' Chicken over the competition. Why?

Voice: 'Cause that's some good (beep!)in' chicken!

(Cut)

Announcer 3: Looking for something that requires no log-ons, no unwanted email, coherent sentences, and no technical problems whatsoever? Read a book! Books: The Original Internet.

(Cut)

Announcer 4: Democratic candidate Michael Redmonds sued Senator Robert Thorn for accusing Redmonds of being a murderous child pornographer. But Redmonds had previously said he was against clogging up courts with frivolous lawsuits. Wouldn't this make him a hypocrite? Would you want a hypocrite as your next congressman?

(Cut)

Announcer 5: Take control of the noble Office Bots as they wage slave their secret war against the evil Execucons. Office Bots: Transform and Clock In!

(Cut)

Announcer 6: Vote Republican Senator Robert Thorn, a candidate not accused of being a murderous child pornographer.

Linkara (v/o): And some of the side quests are fun just for the kinds of characters you meet.

Tommy Flayton (voiced by Fred Tatasciore): Do you understand that this is an important opening, and I – emphasize I – am going to make or possibly break this restaurant?!?

(Cut to a clip of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang watching Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders)

Tom Servo: (as a character in the movie) Look, my reviews have destroyed whole cities!

(Cut back to the game)

Linkara (v/o): But of course, there is the memetic beauty that many have become aware of, thanks to LittleKuriboh's "Let's Play" of the game: Foxy Boxes. And given all the sex content of the game, you would assume Foxy Boxes was a strip club or something, but no, it's a warehouse. Full of boxes. That I presume contain copious amounts of sass. But yeah, there's a lot of sexual content in the game. Aside from questionable business names and prostitutes in their underwear, there's a strip club where you can get a lap dance from a woman in pasties. Most of the NPC women want to have sex with you, and some you can seduce and have sex with... presumably, anyway; I didn't have a high-enough seduction stat to test it with Jeanette, and most of the time, seduction is only used so you can feed on them. And you can even create a ghoul named Heather. What's a ghoul?

(Cut to Moarte, who cackles maniacally, then cut back to the game again)

Linkara (v/o): Well, sort of, but no. Ghouls in this context are humans close to death who have fed on vampire blood. They don't get any real supernatural benefit to it, but it's addictive and pretty much makes them your slave. In this case, you save the life of Heather, and later she says she's now in love with you and will do anything for you. And given the dialogue choices, you can verbally abuse her or be kind or send her away so she can live her own life. It's really rather sick and twisted, but this is why a morality system exists in the game to begin with. There are consequences to your actions. And yeah, to further the terrifying implications, you can also make your ghoul dress in a few different clothing, including just having her walk around in her underwear.

Linkara: When I first asked for advice on my playthrough, there was an argument that broke out in the comments about whether or not the game was sexist. Do I think so? Ehhh, not really, but the thing to remember is that something can contain sexist elements, even if on the whole, it is not.

Linkara (v/o): For example, all the quest-giving femal NPCs in the game have their own backstories and characterization and histories, some of them tragic and some of them triumphant in the face of adversity. That is a very good thing. On the other hand, every single one of them is wearing cleavage-exposing outfits. Well, except for Heather, although, again, you can put her in some. Not having played this with a female character, I don't know if you can put a male ghoul in a thong. And of course, as I said, pretty much all of them want to have sex with your character. The male one, anyway; I don't know if that's the case if you play it as a woman. Although, what I do know from checking out the occasional walkthroughs... Sorry, guys, needed to do it sometimes, so I didn't spend three hours looking for something... sometimes the game offers women players the chance to sleep with someone to resolve the quest... an option that does not exist for the men. At least, I never encountered it. Now, some would aruge that vampire stories of the last hundred years have emphasized sexuality anyway. Really, all the classic monsters represent the darker aspects of humanity in one form or another: animalistic rage, playing with forces we can't handle, the continuing threat of Ancient Egypt that sends corpses into the future to menace us. But with vampires, it's the darker elements of sexuality. However, it's pretty telling to me that it's only the female NPCs that deal with sexuality. The men are about friendship, betrayal, political struggles, money that's owed to them, but all the women play up seduction and sex to varying degrees. A lot of their quests don't, but they still deliver the quests in ways implying innuendo and boinking. In fact, the only female NPC with the quest not playing up sex to a degree is Yukie, a Japanese woman seeking out a demon that killed her sensei after her parents were murdered by other demons. It's a straight-up simple revenge quest. And yet some of your dialogue choices joke about tentacle hentai in front of her. Uh-huh... So yeah, I don't think the overall game is sexist, just that it probably needed more of a balance of it.

Linkara: But then again, I am apparently sex-negative and a scammer, so what the hell do I know?

Linkara (v/o): So, my final, scattered thoughts about the game? First and foremost, don't do the zombie mission unless you're really good at it. You have five minutes to keep zombies from escaping a cemetery, but you need to run between the two gates to keep them from busting through. In my humble opinion, there are just too many of them. Just bring the guy who's supposed to be doing it to prostitutes so he doesn't want to leave. Next, the sewer level...

Linkara: (rolls eyes in exasperation) Because there's always a sewer level!

Linkara (v/o): ...is far too long and far too repetitive. That being said, the monster design for the boss in the middle of it... Holy crap! That's some Silent Hill stuff right there. Pants to be darkened! I feel like I should be censoring that thing. Oh, and the stealth mission inside of the Metalhead Industries warehouse can go STRAIGHT TO HELL!!! It's too cramped, there are three guards walking in random patterns, and at one point, the game glitched so the stupid guy wouldn't move at all, AND THEN YOU HAVE TO ACTUALLY GET BACK OUT OF THE DAMN PLACE WHICH IS JUST AS HARD AS IT WAS GETTING IN!! And of course, as everyone repeats to you in the game, and out of the game, based on the comments I got in anticipation of this, (in the game, a closed door with a green knob is shown) DON'T OPEN IT.

Linkara: (holds up index finger) This game... does not suck. Even with the glitches, it's still pretty fun to play, especially if you do get invested in the overall storyline. And hey, nothing made me go "ADAMANTIUM RAGE!", so at least you got...

(Suddenly, the room is bathed in strange pink light, along with strange whispering)

Linkara: Oh, it's on now, asshole! (pulls out a Saba sword) I just got this new Saba and I'm gonna show you what happens with all work and no play!

(He leaves and the screen goes black to the sound of electrical crackling and an explosion)

(End credits roll)

At one point I decided to become a hopping vampire simply so I could move through Downtown faster. It is reeeaally too big without having a faster moving option.

Books: the original internet. WARNING: Books are also full of thinking.

(Stinger: Linkara is still trying to figure out who Count Jackula is)

Linkara: Horror Guru?

Jackula: (laughing and running his finger on the edge of his glass of wine/blood) No, I got him tied up in the back. (takes another sip)

(Cut to a dark room bathed in eerie green light where Horror Guru is tied up and gagged. A green-tentacled monster (presumably belonging to Count Jackula) reaches into the frame, menacing HG)

Tentacled monster: You're not getting out of that chair 'til you finish that Gingerdead Man 3 review!

HG: (muffled screaming because of the gag) No! No, I don't wanna!

Monster: Now you're gonna do it! (HG continues screaming) Yeah, you're gonna do it! Yeah! Gingerdead! Yeah, do Gary Busey this time! He fights Carrie in this one! You're going to do it! Fucking finish it! FINISH IIIIIT!!

(Cut back to Jackula)

Jackula: Yeah, but I'm an actual vampire...? From outer space? And besides, I've played this game that you've, uh, decided to review here, and I used to be a White Wolf freelance artist, so, uh, (makes an A-OK sign with his fingers) I'm perfect for this review. (takes a sip of his drink and savors it, smacking his lips) Although, you probably wouldn't have seen any of the books I appeared in, because, uh, (whispers) they're kind of– they're kind of bad... That's a bad vampire book I'm in; it's not a good one.

Offscreen voice: "Vampire: The (?)", right?

Jackula: Well, this was actually, I did a little, what was it? "Day of Judgement".

Offscreen voice: Oh, really?

Jackula: Yeah, it was pretty bad.

Offscreen voice: I'm sorry.

Jackula: Yeah.

(end)

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