Time for another Playback special and this week we have one goal – trophies! Three games you can grab for a couple of pounds and stacked full of easy win virtual trinkets.
Eat Lead: The Return Of Matt Hazard
This game was in the bargain bins pretty much the day after release and was roundly criticised by the gaming press. The problem was that the game spoofs a number of other titles including Duke Nukem, Final Fantasy and SOCOM but fails to be as good as any of its targets. Having said that, following the recent Duke Nukem débâcle the game is now deliciously ironic.
You play as self aware gaming hero Matt Hazard as he tries to discover who is trying to delete his pixels from history. The amusingly clever plot features a bucket load of twists that bring Matt to various genres. As well as games there are plenty of movie references including an Arnold Schwarzenegger clone appearing in a Matrix like sequence when someone else pauses the game.
Matt’s awareness of his status as a gaming character is played well to the clear comedic effect, with him wisecracking his way through gaming clichés. “Great! An in-game tutorial,” he quips. “Like I don’t know how to hide behind things!”
Another nice point comes at the start of the second level most of the screen is filled with your mission objectives and Matt reads along with you, “Yeah.. mm. yup, ok, can we just summarise this?” he asks and text is replaced with one line, “Kill everything that moves.” Of course this slightly uninspired objective can be rather monotonous, but the amusing cut sequences more than make up for the rather tired gameplay.
Graphically the game is rather basic which you could attribute to lacklustre development or, if you are feeling generous, take it as a homage to the older games it parodies. At one point the graphics degrade (on purpose, I should add) to the pixelated resolution of the original Wolfenstein, complete with zombie Nazis.
It’s a shame though that they’ve gone to the effort to make game appropriate enemies, given how poor they are. In general they’re identikit villains, and many act as bullet sponges. Coupled with flimsy gun play this just leaves you with a general feeling of frustration. On the plus side there is a neat cover system which works using the same mechanic Deus Ex Human Revolution.
Although there is little in the way of effects or polish but the physics engine is top notch. Shooting a fire extinguisher not only kills enemies but sends plates, buckets and whatever else is lying around scattering across the screen.
Trophies hunter will find that most of the bling can be picked up with the first play through which you can zip through in about six hours. A second play on ‘Hazard’ difficulty is required to get that shiny Platinum.
If you view the whole of Eat Lead as a parody – crates and exploding red barrels included -it can be very entertaining. Check out the video below in which Matt meets a boss character from the ‘Penultimate Illusion’ series where the game takes on the stylings of a JRPG, complete with the damage count rising off characters.
The holy grail for trophy hunters, Terminator Salvation will gift you a Platinum for just four hours work. Set the game to hardest difficulty, grab a gullible mate to play co-op with and pick up a silver for each completed level, with a platinum headed your way for finishing.
The plot seems to take place before the movie of the same name, and casts you as John Connor fighting his way through endless waves of robot bad guys.
It’s fun for a while but with only a few enemy types the game soon dissolves in to a monotonous slog where you enter an area, kill the robots, move on to the next area and surprise surprise, kill more robots. The only respite from the monotony comes from a couple of driving sections.
The graphics are passable and the weapons sound meaty but there is only one reason to play this game, and that’s the easy platinum.
Alone In The Dark: Inferno
Originally an Xbox 360 exclusive in 2008, Alone In The Dark jumped ship almost a year later to PS3 and picked up a couple of new levels as well as the Inferno subtitle.
The Xbox version suffered from poor controls, dodgy camera angles and an annoying inventory system. All of these have been fixed in the PS3 version although the slightly dodgy physic engine is still present.
The story follows Edward Carnby and his efforts to stop a satanic cult from unleashing hell in New York. The city itself is one of the key characters, and there are some truly awesome scenes of skyscrapers collapsing and roads crumbling in to nothingness.
The inventory system may seem fiddly to some; when you access it the screen zooms in to Edwards coat and shows you exactly what he has in his pockets. There are plenty of items to pick up and many can be combined to create useful objects. For example if you need to blow a door open you can combine some tape with a bottle, stick it to the door, step back and ignite it with a bullet.
Instead of a damage bar Edward shows physical injuries, take too many hits to your leg and it will be covered in blood and the muscles exposed. If you leave the wound exposed the gushing blood will attract new monsters, which acts as a nice touch.
Another neat feature, and one that is immense help to those hunting for trophies, is the DVD style chapter selection. You can fast forward and rewind through each section so if there is a particular trophy you need to achieve in a certain area you don’t have to play through the entire episode.
The PS3 version of Alone In The Dark was overlooked thanks to the poor reputation of the Xbox version but it’s well worth a look, the story is immersive and watching New York succumb to tentacles never gets old.
Finally, the good news; hunt around on Ebay and you can buy all three of the games and get change from ten pounds. Admittedly you will never want to play Terminator Salvation once you have heard that glorious trophy chime but you’re reading this because you love trophies. Can you resist three platinums for £10?