Welcome to cyberspace, please excuse the angry VRML.
I simply cannot understate how ridiculously horrible the voice "acting" is. Imagine somebody who has never spoke a word of English approaching a microphone and attempting to enunciate a page full of phonetic symbols which fluctuate from one sentence to the next. It's easy for me to forgive horrible voice acting if the game itself resembles something more polished than an Introduction to C++ community college course, but... dear God... the voice acting is bizarrely, unintentionally hilarious. I tried playing a game of "Guess the Accent," and halfway through realized the correct answer continually changed every sentence each character spoke. Johnson sounds like a man gargling marbles with a 12-foot tall palm tree growing up his ass, and Jessica's voice resembles a character in a children's cartoon by a woman who wears sweatshirts with hearts or puppies on them every day, regardless of the temperature.
Occasionally the game will have you partner up with another NPC, one of the aforementioned three remaining characters. Your partner will do nothing but run around like a spastic idiot nonstop, reaching speeds of 70 miles and hour and randomly waving their arms around the air like they're attempting to vent the world's worst fart. If you make the terrible mistake of trying to move, the NPC will flee in a completely arbitrary direction, wandering off the map shortly before magically teleporting right next to your side. Naturally, allowing the NPC to die ends your mission, so your best bet here is to send an email to the game's programmer, Jan Beuck, asking him why he blatantly loathes humanity so much.
Oh hello there big boy! How about you take me to Big Boy?
As mentioned before, the city you begin in is the same city you end in, and this city is one single street. You cannot enter any of the buildings. There are no functional vehicles or ways to travel besides by foot (not that there's anywhere to go). There are a total of roughly six NPCs, two of which (a bum and a hooker) serve absolutely no purpose at all. You cannot communicate with anybody outside of a terribly basic speech menu with three options at the most.
Only two characters ever give you any quests or missions, and it only takes five missions to beat the entire game. Yes, that's correct, if you complete those five missions, the game ends. In retrospect, this is a positive feature, because much like the "city," every mission is exactly the same. You can sometimes choose between "mutant cleaning," which means to kill everybody in a zone, or "assassination," which means to kill everybody in a zone, or "rescue," which means to kill everybody except one person in a zone. If all of this is too complex for you to understand, I'll try to explain it in a slower, more simple fashion: THIS GAME IS A BASTARD GAME.
Occasionally, Restricted Area will "spice up" the game a little bit by giving you missions which are literally impossible to fulfill. Out of every two "assassinate" quests, at least one of them will fail to include the subject you're supposed to assassinate. Yes, that's correct, the game throws you into a zone with the distinct orders to kill somebody, then fails to place that person anywhere in the map. Since there's no way to reach your goal, you have to eventually give up and go back to the city, taking a reputation penalty and losing money. Once you realize there's no way to accomplish the goal of that mission, you can attempt to delete it from your quest list, but - guess what? It doesn't work either, so it constantly shows up throughout the game! Hooray! Maybe in the sequel to Restricted Area, the developers at Master Creating can just superimpose a giant, 400-point block font which flashes the words "FUCK YOU" whenever you attempt to press a key. It'd be infinitely more entertaining than wasting an hour clearing out a dungeon and then realizing the randomly generated map forgot to randomly generate a goal. On the odd rare occasion that the game actually screws up and places the assassination target somewhere in the map, you'll find your victim staring at the wall, motionless, simply waiting to die. I guess the future is so bleak and dysopian that scientists regularly flee their multi-billion dollar jobs to go work in an abandoned crate factory warehouse, professionally staring at walls with fat shirtless guys. That's where the REAL money is.
Speaking of forgetting things, it appears the dunce caps at Master Creating didn't remember to rent a translator, because the game is chock full of grievous spelling and grammatical errors. Here's just a small sample for you:
Every mission takes place in either a dark warehouse, a red warehouse, a dark red warehouse, a dark grey and red warehouse, or a dark grey and red warehouse disguised as a dark red warehouse. There's a total of nearly 10 repeating textures in each level, all of which loop endlessly all over the walls and floor. The maps are randomly generated, so instead of complaining, "god the developers made a real shitty map," now you have to complain, "god my computer randomly generated a real shitty map." None of these maps are laid out in any logical design, and are simply a long series of identical interconnected hallways which occasionally lead to a large room linking to even more identical interconnected hallways. Each warehouse contains around three or four "levels," all of which use the exact same textures and are populated by the exact same enemies.
Oh no, the fat shirtless men are being burned alive by my wall-piercing flamethrower.
Speaking of enemies, this game contains a whole truckload of them. Well, to be more precise, there's only about 10 different enemies, but boy howdy, there sure are a lot of those 10 different enemies! The game doesn't even bother engaging in the time-tested NES-approved procedure of pallete-swapping them; it simply boosts the enemy's hit points and attack, changing its name from a "level 1 mutant" to a "level 11 mutant." Apparently, in the future, the entire world is overrun by clones of boring, uninteresting, painfully stupid monsters who live in warehouses and have spiraled into an uncontrollable rage from having to stare at the same walls and floor every hour of their lives. Fortunately, 90% of these monsters are too brain damaged to walk through doorways or follow you further than 20 feet in any direction, so you don't really have to worry too much about being swarmed.
One of my favorite enemies by far has to be "Fat Mutant." This is a, well, a fat mutant with a knife and no shirt. He and his countless cloned brethren plague every warehouse you visit, so perhaps you're serving missions inside dilapidated Sam's Clubs. He produces incredible sound effects such as "aaargh" and "raaaaaauuugh" when he dies, which you can emulate in your own home by asking anybody with a mouth to make a sound along the lines of "aaargh" or, for the truly grizzled voice actors out there, "raaaaaauuugh."
The Fat Mutant has a somewhat complex and daunting attack pattern which can intimidate even the most seasoned RPG fans. If you walk within a certain radius of him, he'll start walking towards you in a straight line. Then he'll stab you with his knife and lack of shirt until either you or him dies. He will follow you if your character moves, unless you cross through a doorway, which is some kind of natural barrier for all fat mutants. Other enemies include large men with steel bowling balls for hands, four-legged spiders, some creatures which look and sound like orcs but aren't orcs, and a class of creatures simply referred to as "Radioactive." Apparently when you become radioactive, you lose your name. Toxic waste leads to so many identity crises.
If you're worried Master Creating didn't milk all the mileage from their incredible Fat Mutant creation, fear not: "Fat Cyborg" makes his appearance later in the game, and he looks exactly like his less technologically-advanced brother, only he's got random chunks of plastic and a pizza slicer taped to his shirtless body. I would pay good money to learn the origins of Fat Mutant and Fat Cyborg; why are multi-billion dollar corporations of the future spending all their profits on producing fat white people who stab you? Is there some huge market for homicidal obese soldiers who travel in straight lines and cannot learn how doorways work? Or perhaps there's some giant mutant pizza threatening the world with destruction, and these companies have partnered together to combine the two things pizza fear the most: fat guys and pizza cutters. It all makes sense now! Thank you very much, Germany!
Your lair. Maybe you lure victims to it, maybe you hide in it between killings, or maybe you haunt it 24/7 because you’re tragically confined by a curse. Whatever the situation, for most of us monsters, a living/un-living space is an important part of our identities. In this column, Monstergeddon award winners share their lair tips and techniques!
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