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Who Created The Monster?

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Postby davidw » Tue Nov 16, 2004 7:24 am

Game: Who Created The Monster?

Author: N. B. Horvath


Ever play a game that starts and doesn't give you a clue as to what it's about? Well, Who Created The Monster? is one such game. The title made me think it was some kind of fantasy game or perhaps something along the Frankenstein line with the player off to discover who made the big guy with the bolt through his neck, but in fact you play a journalist in the future trying to discover… well, I'm not sure really. Something to do with the past and Saddam Hussein and which Western nation brought him to power. Even after I'd played through half of the game, I was still wondering just what it was about or why my character was so interested in this story.

It's a nice enough game though. The first location - referred to as the "McDonald's of Baghdad" - convinced me I was playing a comedy game but the rest is perfectly serious. There are a fair few locations, all reasonably well described without being overly detailed. There's a kind of charm to some of the locations which adds considerably to the game's playability. Although there are strange things as well that don't do the playability factor, or any kind of realism, any favours. A terrorist appears randomly in one location and makes several not very successful attempts to kill me. Despite being shot by him on one occasion, I was still able to shoot him back whereupon he disappeared in a puff of smoke. Does this sort of thing happen in real life? I can't say as I've ever noticed it but then I've never actually shot at, and been shot by, a terrorist so I guess I could be mistaken. Stranger still, the terrorist, or maybe just an identical version, pops up in the same location later on and attacks me once more. And the last strange thing about the terrorist? Well, there's a guard standing right by the terrorist as he's busy trying to shoot me but he seems pretty unconcerned by this brutal turn of events and doesn't try to help me out at all. Definitely strange. And don't even get me started on the question of just why this terrorist is trying to shoot me, or why the police don't show up and arrest him (or me for shooting him) or how I can wander around with a bullet hole in me and yet be strangely unaffected…

Making progress is fairly easy once you've got your bearings. Talk to a few people, try a few commands which you figure should work, and you're away. I got quite a way before I resorted to the walkthrough and even then I was convinced (maybe wrongly as it happens) that I could have got quite a bit further if I'd tried harder.

Parts of the game smack of laziness. There are several embassies you can visit, all of which seem pretty much identical in appearance: there's the main entrance, a room above where the ambassador sits, and a room below with a locker where a guard is watching TV. Definite laziness occurs with the room below as if you open the locker in one location, it's open in the others as well. It's also a little jarring seeing the same location displayed in the basement of each embassy and I felt that some variation would have worked wonders.

Overall Who Created The Monster? is a nice enough game which doesn't really explain things and just leaves the player to pretty much figure it out for himself. Several things in the game - the terrorist being the main one - make no sense and I was also curious as to why my journalist starts the game not armed with any kind of journalist tools but instead a rifle, and one with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of bullets to boot. On top of that, there were messages that flash up on screen from time to time with snippets of world history in them. The first time I saw one of these, it was tagged onto the end of a location description and I assumed it referred to the location in question. Not so. It was an interesting means of conveying information about the game but I was never really sure if it meant anything or was just designed as filler.

5 out of 10
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davidw
 
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