Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Bullet Witch

I shouldn't love this game as much as I do.  The controls are twitchy and not very responsive, the story line is laughable, the voice acting is cheesy (and in some cases almost unbearable), and save for the lead character all the other people you interact with are absolute garbage, including the other good guys.

So why do I love this game so much?

I dunno, man.  I just can't explain it.

Bullet Witch came out in 2007 for the Xbox 360.  It was produced by the game company Cavia, responsible for some games I absolutely love like Ghost In The Shell: Standalone Complex for the Playstation 2 and- ...huh.  Okay, well, they've made a lot of games based on various Japanese properties.  The game was released by Atari to rather meh reviews aside from people like ChrisL who just want to point out how Alicia, the lead character, is "freaking hot for a video game character."  Sadly, zero people found that review helpful.

Done as a third person shooter, the game takes place in the near future year of 2013 (?!) where demons and other monsters roam the Earth.  Humanity has been reduced to a population of only one billion people.  What few military forces are left struggle against the endless swarms of horrors, but our primary hope is Alicia Claus, a young woman who shows up out of the blue with a magic broom-shaped weapon that transforms from a machine gun to a shotgun to a sniper rifle to a cannon (!).  She also has powerful magic that she can wield, gaining powers and abilities as the game continues.

Things I liked were the scale of events in the game.  Large bosses felt genuinely large, such as Omega, a creature you initially face in the beginning of the game, but need to flee from because (at the time) it's too powerful.  Later, when Alicia is at her full power, you return to the city to fight Omega.  There was also a giant dragon/snake creature you fight while standing on top of a cargo plane in flight.

This was 2007, so destruction in games was still relatively new.  Alicia's abilities would let her fling cars into enemies, blow up gas stations with lightning bolts (or bullets), and with her later abilities suck entire barns and forests into the sky with tornadoes or destroy entire regions with meteors.  There was a good sense of satisfaction from watching a swarm of enemies come charging out just to be met with a massive lightning bolt that blows up every car around them.

The voices are goofy (you can watch all of the cut-scenes here) but a special shout-out has to go to Maxwell Cougar, the dorkiest dork who ever dorked.  The guy's voice is laughable, his actions are absurd, and he looks like he fell out of a SyFy original movie.  Probably one starring Lorenzo Lamas.

With poor dubbing, a story line that only really makes sense in a "gee, it's a good thing these soldiers met me so I can solve all their problems through coincidences" way, and an ending that's only satisfying in the sense that you defeat a boss who previously chased you away (...actually, that is pretty satisfying) it's easy to understand why this game isn't really held to higher esteem.

I, however, still toss it in whenever I want to have some simple fun.  There's just enough challenge to the game that you feel a sense of accomplishment every time you get through a section of it (though it gets much easier in subsequent plays through when you can just drop tornadoes on everything), and Alicia's growth in power mirrors the growth in challenge from the enemies she faces.

The game also offered some alternate costumes for purchase.  Some were clearly meant to be cheesecake, such as the schoolgirl costume or the "barely covered by bandages" looks.  Some were much more bizarre, and I'm not sure what they were supposed to represent.

With memorable monsters, a fun lead character (who, remember, is "freaking hot for a video game character"), and decent (not amazing) game play, Bullet Witch is a game that I think more people should play, even if it's just to see how games evolved and find out what sorts of game play ideas evolved (destructible environments) and which ones seem to have stagnated (zombies with machine guns).

It's big, it's dumb, it's fun.  You can probably find a copy cheap or just watch the Let's Play videos online.

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