CAST OF CHARACTERS:

Clearly having a program randomly generate dungeons is a good idea. I mean, look at this awesome design!"Johnson": He's the character who wears awesome trendy sunglasses, sulks around in a black trenchcoat, speaks entirely in monotone, and somehow isn't J.C. Denton. I'm sure the developers thought he'd look really cool and badass with his pitch-black outfit and slicked hair, but instead he resembles a used car salesman at a Bauhaus concert. Johnson was apparently some soldier who's now a hired killer and blah blah blah, none of this shit matters anyway because the plot of the game is shorter and more basic than your average mall tattoo.

If you want to play the character who shoots crap and makes shit blow up, pick Johnson, as you can equip him with flamethrowers, the most blatantly unbalanced weapon in the game. I'll explain why later. Aw hell, I'll explain why right now: much like in real life, THE FLAMETHROWER SHOOTS THROUGH SOLID STEEL WALLS. You can kill 90% of the enemies in the game without even fighting them in the same room. I guess that is one of those strategic gameplay decisions like "making a game which nobody in their right mind wants to play or buy."

Johnson's special powers include using guns to kill people with the guns, and a plethora of other incredibly useful skills which I cannot remember offhand, probably because they do not exist.

Victoria Williams: A game made by horny frustrated males for horny frustrated males wouldn't be complete without the obligatory character wearing a tight PVC outfit for absolutely no reason whatsoever. I've always wondered about the functionality of the slutty, skimpy outfits undersexed game developers constantly cram their female protagonists into. If you're preparing to defend yourself from thousands of mutants armed with guns and knives, common sense dictates you'll want to strap on as much armor as possible, perhaps shortly before fleeing the state and seeking refuge in a much safer video game. But no, all the females in games decide to slip into outfits composed entirely of dental floss filaments, perhaps so they can film a late night Cinemax movie afterwards. Victoria is a psychic out to seek revenge on somebody for something which detracts considerably from her central story of "dressing like a slut" that's oh-so-critical to the award-winning Restricted Area plot.

Since Victoria is psychic, she is equipped with all the standard cliched attacks: mental fireballs, psi-shields, regeneration, and all that crap. You'd think that such a smarty pants brain master would figure out kevlar stops bullets better than bellybutton rings and heart tattoos, but hey, this is THE FUTURE.

I am a leg collector. I have this net.

Kenji Takahasi: Kenji is Japanese! Of course that means he attacks with a Katana and is the son of a Yakuza boss. What an exciting and revolutionary idea! A Japanese character who is equipped with a sword! What will they think of next? Kenji's dad was a head honcho in the Yakuza and, according to the website, "tried to kill his father but failed." But oh, things aren't so simple! The game instruction manual reads, "he killed his father under as yet unknown circumstances."

To make things even more confusing, the website refers to him as "Kenji Takahashi," while the book claims he's "Kenji Takahasi." Perhaps they are two different people? Does the Takahashi family have a feud with the Takahasi family to the extreme extent that they did / didn't get their son to murder / not murder the Yakuza father? How did they manage to cram so much raw mystery into one simple game? Surely this is the work of genius!

Kenji stabs people with his sword and makes hilarious comments that I cannot understand because I do not speak the language of "gibberish." He also has some meter called his "zen bar" which fills up when he hurts people and can be used to launch special attacks such as "the attack which does negligible damage" and "the attack which doesn't even matter because your stupid sword is so ridiculously overpowered."

Jessica Parker: Oh baby, cyberspace here I come! Jessica can use terminals to go into the magical, wonderful world of cyberspace, which is just like regular space, except it's substantially more cyber. This, in short, means it's crammed full of bright geometric shapes which attempt to repeatedly bump into you until you are dead. You can fight the evil geometry by shooting fireballs at them, but really, there's no point to any of it. In regular space, Jessica has a floating sphere, her drone, which floats around her and shoots people until they are dead. She can "download" things, most of which end up injuring her, but sometimes provide free money. It's basically like trying to mug Russell Crowe.

Jessica has a floating orb which hovers around her and occasionally shoots red waves at things, thereby depleting its energy. Once its energy is gone, it can shoot no more red waves. You should not choose this character if you're a big fan of red waves, because they run out fairly quickly and will intensify the depression you initially felt when purchasing this game.

Once you successfully determine your play style, weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each character, and eventually choose a player at random because really, it doesn't matter, you enter the exciting world of Restricted Area. The game opens with a cutscene of your character staring out a train window while an absolutely horrible voice over details the backstory, which can all be summarized as "it's the future and we kill things so let's go kill things in the future." The opening cinematic additionally helps warn you that your speakers' "mute" button will soon grow to be your best friend, as the voice work is simply abysmal. It's as if the game developers asked their family to phone in their rendition of their awesome script they wrote at the bar the previous night, and their family refused, so they had to settle for giving the homeless guy three burgers in exchange for approaching their Sound Blaster microphone and reading a series of random, poorly written garbage on the back of a Life cereal box.

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