off the bat, you know there's something severely wrong in the world
when a game like Foton claims in its own title, to be the Ultimate Game
on Planet Earth. The stupefyingly immodest title alone drew me in, already
feeling tinges of expectant sadism. I'm getting all the cracks I can
at the title out of the way in the first paragraph here, as it's pretty
obvious that any video game calling itself the Ultimate anything is
doomed to fail. Much like anything with the word Perfect in it will
probably be a showcase of wasted potential.
play the part of a little spaceman who wanders around caves, although
the spacesuit seems a bit unnecessary if the caves he is exploring are,
as the title suggests, on Planet Earth. Maybe he's an alien who can't
breathe in oxygen. Whatever the case, he wanders around. In these caves.
And everything is in that psuedo-first person, character-relative perspective
pioneered in such great games as Goonies II and Dr.
(fracking) Chaos. By definition, however, the action is
still in the third person perspective, as you can see the little guy
in his dirt biking outfit/battle armor walking around and zapping.
indefinite goals include collecting Things while shooting other Things.
As you wander around (in the aformentioned caves,) you are not suprisingly
attacked by everything animate in the world. Among your cunning adversaries
are the Reddish Flying Thing, which deviously flies at you in a straight
line over and over, the Blue Jellyfish Thing, that rushes in a straight
line at you, then bobs up and down shooting at a ridiculous rate, and
The Reddish Flying Thing That Comes At You From The Side And Occasionally
Shoots Too. As the name suggests, this particular creature deviates
from the time-honored method of rushing straight at you, instead coming
in from the side of the screen, makes a wide left turn, and exits again
after shooting twice. The sheer VARIETY of these enemies is overwhelming.
Especially to people who like to compare and contrast the AI of the
ghosts in Pac-Man. Once in a while, the Cockroach of Doom will show
up as well, usually on the screens where you're near a wall. Seriously,
it killed me twice before I figured out I could actually avoid the thing
by moving up against the wall and letting it scuttle past. This is because,
despite all his sophisticated equipment and la dee da weaponry, he
can't shoot sideways. So, if restricted to straight-ahead fire,
you can at least turn and shoot, right? Wrong. You can't move and fire,
so the crawling bugs coming from the left side of the screen (take my
word for it that it's ALWAYS the left side) are free to trample you
as they please.
you sold yet on the premise that this is, in fact, the pinnacle of electronic
gaming on this world? Or The Ultimate Game on Planet Earth, if you will?
No? Then let me enlighten you to the wonder that is the CAVE OF ANNOYANCE.
Of all the caves in the game (of which you aimlessly wander about in),
the one you enter by falling through the floor is the most, well...
annoying. You fall for maybe three or four screens, the walls flashing
in wild colors while terrifying, screechy music noodles. I'm not even
sure if it qualifies as background music, come to think of
it. It's more like the sound the spinning blades of a food processor
would make as you scrape the whole machine up and down a blackboard.
The image at right fails to capture the scope of how annoying it is.
It would probably take a Flash animation or something to get the animation
with sound, but Flash animations are generally of higher quality than
the visuals in this game.
nothing else, Foton: The Ultimate Game on Planet
Earth (!!!1!!!) proved that the best
way to fail miserably is to aim too high. Kind of like the legend of
Daedalus and Icarus, only more like a video game. And this game is more
like Daedalus than Icarus, as Kid Icarus was pretty good. Before I try
and come up with another horrible metaphor, I'll close by submitting
that, if this game sees a next-gen remake (like Rygar- FOR THE
LOVE OF GOD GIVE ME BACK GUARDIAN LEGEND IF YOU HAVE THE TIME TO REMAKE
THAT), retitle it something modest. Like FOTON: THE MOSTLY INADEQUATE
ADVENTURE GAME ON PLANET EARTH. Or maybe Turok 4.