It was back in March when TSA revealed the presence of something rather special that looked likely to be released on the PS3. Being big fans of the demoscene, especially in the Amiga’s golden years, this piqued our interest enough to continue posting each time we found out something new, and with each blog post our fascination with the art/game combo grew.
It’s ironic, then, that the video posted in our very first article on the game was 99% of what finally hit the PS3 earlier today. Dubbed as an interactive art piece, Plastic’s undoubted technical skill really is just a seven minute 3D demo, and when 2 minutes of that are the introductory credits, even at £2 you’re bound to feel a little short changed.
So, what is it? Well, you’ll need to be aware of what the demoscene actually is to really ‘get’ Linger In Shadows, and TSA isn’t the place for a history lesson, but it’s essentially a tech demo meant to show off the abilities of the demo crew in question, with Linger being a showcase for the aforementioned Plastic, a polish demo group. Sure, it’s 60fps and nice and high-def but to be fair, it’s nothing we’ve not seen before and it’s certainly not visually mindblowing, despite some clever touches.
So, we’re reduced to a five minute realtime ‘movie’ involving a crumbling city, a strange mask and a dog, which is split into 5 segments which pause and rewind indefinitely, at least until you provide the required input to trigger the next section. And this is where the ‘game’ element comes in. Basically, using the triggers you cycle back and forth through the segment, wait for the joypad light to flash at the top of the screen and repeat what it tells you.
From shaking the controller, to tapping a button, this is barely interactive, and when you do gain some semblance of movement it’s usually nothing more than something rotating or a light flashing on and off that opens up the next area of the demo. Had this been better implemented, with a little more subtlety and less obvious signposting, it might have worked better but as it stands it’s a cheap way to make the demo more than it is.
And after that you’re left with the game’s final trick: the ability to move the camera slightly via the Sixaxis motion sensing and the Triangle button. Move the camera into the demo’s darker areas (the Shadows, we’d imagine) and you’ll pick up little Love-You notes to other members of the demoscene, which translate into Trophies once the game is saved (Trophies don’t pop up during the demo, only when you quit). It would have been nice to read more about these other teams, and see movies of their demos, but sadly all you’re doing is filling in slices of a pizza wheel, like some 21st century Trivial Pursuit, only without the questions and the drunk uncle.
We’re probably victims of our own hype here, but this a) should have been free and b) much, much better. There was huge scope for something here, but we can’t help shake the feeling that someone got involved at the wrong stage and changed what could have been an impressive technical example of the PS3’s graphics muscle into a rudimentary, almost insultingly basic joystick tester – as a demo it’s great, but would have benefitted from remaining a demo. Budbrain Megademo, all is forgiven.
Note: as a game blog the above text reflects our opinion of Linger In Shadows as a game, not as a demo. There are other far more qualified demoscene sites out there, like scene.org, better suited for reviewing it as a demo.