I work for a company that runs local newspaper sites around the country, and nearly half our visitors still use IE 6. We design accordingly. Seventy percent of our visitors come from search engines, almost most of which persist in going to Google and literally entering our URLs in the search box. We hate it, but know better than to try changing their bad behavior- only government is that dumb.
Going along to get along, and giving people what they want is a time-honored tradition amongst all forms of media, the video game industry not excluded. And it's not because we're a bunch of cowards- it's because it works.
Which is why titles like The Club don't come along every day. Albeit an unfinished product, The Club innovatively challenges gamers by forcing them to play the done-to-death 3rd person shooter in a completely non-intuitive, often frustrating manner. Like a Tolstoy or Kingsley Amis novel, The Club must be played for hours before it has any hope of being understood, much less enjoyed.
As each event in The Club's killing olympics is based on score, and, above all, score is based on a combo multiplier that decreases increasingly faster as it grows, you must continue fragging without hesitation, but also space out the kills just enough to buoy the multiplier across distances and time trials.
In gameplay terms, this means actively unlearning everything you know about the shooter genre: instead of taking cover, you should take the hit. Instead of searching for secrets, you should search for the exit. Don't walk, or sneak, or crawl or jump or lean. Run. If you're not running, you should be sprinting. Don't reload between firefights- if you have time for that you're not getting in enough firefights. Shoot everyone that moves, but remember not to shoot them all at once.
What often makes the difference between first and second place in an event is memorizing the location of combo-boost skulls hidden throughout the level, disciplining yourself not to blast them until the right moment, and recognizing when that moment is. You'll get a certain number of "attempts" in each event, and should expect to use most if not all of them, even if you can make it through on the first try. Believe me, the satisfaction of deriving and honing a routine, and then flawlessly executing it like some kind of dusted figure skater is worth the repetition.
In later stages you'll balance the use of attempts for practice against hedging your bets on the likelihood you'll be killed, which is especially fun five events into a tournament and struggling to claw your way past second place. Do you play it safe and go for the silver, or risk losing your last attempt and thus the entire tournament?
Sure they cut corners. The Club lacks sufficient difference between events and characters. It squanders the opportunity to create rewarding and succinct tournament storylines, like Tekken or Twisted Metal. Characters never interact or directly compete with each other, and you can't punch people. But this could all be rectified with a sequel, and The Club truly deserves one.
If you haven't expanded your horizons for mindless killing yet, I recommend you do so.
Posted by Sir Cucumber at 8:07 AM on Wednesday, December 3, 2008