Another week, another batch of peculiar and sometimes frankly bizarre attempts by the general public to become the next Markus Persson (creator of Minecraft). Last month we had a game that involved EGA video clips of a man putting a gun to his head and pulling the trigger. For your entertainment, sicko. Yeah, feel the shame that you sighed with relief and, perhaps, perverse sexual pleasure, when he crashed to the table. It was just a pity pixellated 16-colour blood didn't spill from his shattered cranium, wasn't it? This week, we have a game about two Siamese twins attempting to free themselves from each other by collecting organs. Next time, who knows? A game about a wheelchair-bound samurai racing around a shopping centre, slicing the heads of babies? In the world of independent games development, nothing is sacrosanct, except perhaps quality control.
So yeah, Siamese Enemies is very, very strange. It's also a game for two players, one for each of the conjoined combatants. To win, you have to do two things – first, collect scattered human organs and stitch them onto your side of the double body, and secondly, damage your twin's body at the same time. There are two objectives to reach – the first is the operating table, where you get sliced in half, and then the second is a race back to your mother. The more organs you've got stitched onto yourself, the faster you can make it back to your parent. It's crazy, but well worth a go if you can get someone as demented as yourself to play it. Go download it from developer Krimelo's blog right now.
Usually, the American superhero boots the evil Russian bad guy up the posterior, biffs him in the face and then pours molten lava down his throat as a finishing touch. Things along those lines, anyway. In Red Riot, you play a budding Ivan Drago dealing with a veritable banquet full of delicious enemies to blast and destroy.
As you destroy the aliens, tanks and other enemies, while wearing a skin-tight spandex outfit and sporting hair that looks like its been drawn on with a felt tip, our Russian roustabout moves around using the WSAD keys and fires using the left mouse button. A tap of space changes weapons and you can spend credits to upgrade or purchase new weapons. It's a classic side-scrolling shooter and it feels good, controls well and is a decent blast. It's a bit strange that there's no health bar, with only a couple of indicators that you're close to death, but other than that, it's a good 'un. Give it a go here.
Zombies, eh? Yeah, they've been done to death (pun always intended). This surprisingly deep effort involves running down the undead buggers in a car, sort of like Quarantine, the old GameTek taxi game that, er, didn't have zombies in it. It was the first game I thought of though, when I saw Road of the Dead. The army is after you and the zombies are in your way, so drive in a straight line and only move to dodge the military's attacks. If you die, you get credits to spend for your next go, making it more likely you'll succeed. It's an innovative way of getting the player back for another shot, a problem so many indie games suffer from. Check it out here.
Geese don't appear in games that often. Anyone familiar with my previous job history will remember Steve Hogarty's Hat Game (PC Zone, various issues) which had some geese in it, one particular column devoted entirely to their AI routines. Perhaps running with Steve's ball, Chase Goose 2 by Hideous is about one of our feathered friends attempting to escape a giant, blocky snake creature with a monobrow. Controls are simple, alternating the left and right arrows to waddle along, before throwing extra ones into the mix as time goes by and the complexity increases, before mathematics problems and other such things are dropped on you. It gets difficult surprisingly quickly, trying to keep up a rhythm with your right hand making it challenging to keep focus on what key your mean to be pressing to keep your goose alive. Not necessarily one you'll always be coming back to, but a funky little number nonetheless.
Classic time and this week we've got perhaps the best Left 4 Dead (1 or 2) custom campaign for your delectation. Famous in the community, the difficulty of getting enough people together to play custom material for L4D means even such a great collection of maps has remained unnoticed by the vast majority of players. A custom Versus game? Forget it. Those issues are for another day, though, so for now we'll just celebrate Death Aboard's greatness.
Making a mockery of some of the official add-on campaigns Valve has given us over the years, Death Aboard has been around for a long, long time – August 2009 for its final version on L4D1 in fact – and is still better than anything like Crash Course or The Sacrifice. It's got 5 maps instead of the 2 or 3 Valve have been delivering, plus it's very well designed, very challenging and has some brilliant ideas that are implemented extremely well. Each level is different enough to be the highlight of any other custom campaign, and the finale is fantastic (if very hard).
You start off in a prison, before making your way towards a dockland area and onto a large oil tanker-type ship. The finale takes place in and around a lighthouse, with sheer drops and perilous chasms awaiting the unsuspecting survivor. It doesn't do too much in terms of custom textures or artwork, but it doesn't need to with level design as good as this. Valve should really, really take note and get this released as an officially supported campaign. It really is that good.
That's all for this week, check back again next time to see if someone really has made that baby-killing samurai game.