A Giant Bundle of Joy…

One of the side effects of this year’s “clear out the backlog” project has been a new appreciation for bundled software.

Usually, if you get any software with a new piece of hardware (beyond, you know, the basic drivers and what-not), it’s, well, passable at best.  It’s “Photoshop Elements” instead of “Photoshop”, or a “3 level demo” instead of a full game.  It’s really there to make you want the Real Thing.

Having said that, I understand that Photoshop Elements is, yes, a fairly decent program.  I think my point remains clear. 🙂

Two of the games I’ve played this year came in bundles… and in both cases, they got shoved in a drawer and largely forgotten about.  The first was Deus Ex, and I don’t think I can express enough times how much shame I have for leaving THAT one unplayed for seven years.

The second was Giants : Citizen Kabuto, from Planet Moon Software.

I’ve heard the name a fair few times, but it’s kind of a nondescript name and it never excited my imagination enough to go and figure out what it was about.  Am I shallow? Well, yes, but I’m man enough to admit it in this case.

Even if I had gone looking for an answer to “What kind of a game is this, then?”, I don’t think I’ve have gotten a very satisfying answer, because it’s kind of a tricky one to categorize.  It’s got some shooting bits, some jet-ski racing bits, some real-time strategy sorts of levels, and several levels where you stomp around the landscape as a Big Damn Giant Monster eating people and crushing buildings with your butt.

Mostly, though, it’s very funny and also very British.  If you’ve never seen the point of that Douglas Adams chap, never cracked a Terry Pratchett novel, never watched a Monty Python movie… it might not be the game for you.

On the other hand, if you are “keen on” British humor and also like blowing things up Real Good, it’s a fun ride.  The single player campaign isn’t very long – it felt, just a bit, like a really drawn-out tutorial designed to get the player ready to jump into online multiplayer – but I don’t think it really needed to be stretched out just for the sake of being stretched out.

Two benefits to being this late to the party:

1) From looking at old reviews of the game, when it came out it was a bug-ridden mess and wasn’t really playable until they released several patches.

2) While it IS a remarkably pretty game for 2000, it’s showing its age a little.  There’s a community-done mod that replaces the default textures with new, hi-resolution textures and really pumps up the visuals.  It’s available at http://www.giantswd.org/.

Next up on the “play list”: Armed and Dangerous, the “spiritual sequel” to Giants.  I’ll be putting down the mouse for this one – I’ve got the Xbox version and from what I hear, there’s no real reason to track down the PC version.

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