Sunday, February 18, 2007

These people are not quite right in the head

Psychonauts update:

Check out that cool banner I found. Now I have a logo for my Psychonauts reviews. Of course, I think I'm getting pretty close to the end of the game, so I'll probably only get to use it once or twice more.

So, I played a few more "levels", but before I get to those, I want to show off a few pictures I found around the 'net of stuff I talked about in my first couple reviews.

Here's a shot of the "blueprint tank" that you fight when you discover the evil scheme:

Here's a good shot of Raz terrorizing the denizens of Lungfishopolis:

And here's Raz fighting the critic in the elderly actress's mind:

I love the way he shoots critical words at you.

The next level I played (or, I should say, the next mind I invaded) was that of Fred Bonaparte, a descendant of Napoleon's who kept losing and giving up (when playing games, I guess). So the genetic memory of his diminutive ancestor awoke in his mind and began to struggle for control. When you enter his mind, you see that Fred and Napoleon are locked in struggle, playing a war game, with Napoleon trying to teach Fred to persevere and not give up. So, of course, you have to help Fred win, by jumping into the board and manipulating the pieces (which are alive).

It's a lot of fun, and a great level design. You shrink down to the size shown in those pictures, where you can stomp around and move things, but then you have to recruit troops, so you shrink down again to the size where you can enter the buildings and talk to people. It's also very funny, with the people all sure they're going to die with Fred in charge. Good times.

The next brain to enter was that of Edgar, a Mexican artist obsessed with bullfights. In his mind, he's trying to build a house of cards to reach the image of his lost lady love.

It's a really cool-looking level, with everything seemingly made out of velvet and glowing like it's under a black light. You have to explore his mind and find the four queens for him to use to build his structure. There's also a giant pink bull rampaging throughout his mind, so you have to avoid it, or it will pick you up and throw you in some random mental location.

To get each of the cards, you end up fighting an animal-themed luchadore (and exchanging some funny dialogue with them).

I love the way Raz's costume changes to look more like a matador's outfit in this level. As you explore, you come across several art dealers in the form of dogs, which I guess Edgar drew playing cards in one of his paintings. Talking to them, you learn that all this bullfight stuff is a fantasy that Edgar concocted to get over a teenage trauma; he was on the wrestling team in high school, but when his girlfriend dumped him, he ended up losing the big match, and was disgraced. His mind turned this into a story about a matador stealing his lady love. Eventually, you end up fighting Edgar in the form of the bull, then having to defend the bull from the matador, showing Edgar that these people were silly teenagers and have no power over him.

It's really a pretty good bit of storytelling for a game, and it emerges through gameplay, rather than just being told in a cut scene.

I think I'm getting pretty close to the end. Next, I have to go face the evil scientist who is running the asylum. I'll keep you posted!

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