Publisher: Take-Two Interactive
Developer: Cat Daddy Games
Release Date: October 11, 2005
Being a reviewer for WorthPlaying is a pretty sweet gig; Judy and the other editors have near-infinite patience with the motley bunch of us, and c’mon: I get to write about games! I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to check out some really cool games in my short time here, and writing about my experiences with said games is always a pleasure rather than a chore.
Of course, even bad-bordering-on-evil games need to be reviewed, so my masters at WP offered me a terrible quest, at the end of which untold glory awaited me. I gathered all my courage and strength, kissed reality goodbye, and dove headfirst into the malevolent depths of one of the worst games I’ve played in years. Some know it as Satan, some whisper of Beelzebub, but The Beast itself prefers to be called SPLAT Magazine Renegade Paintball. Fear the name, mortals.
I know I learned to.
Paintball is basically a real-life video game. There are many different game styles and variations, but the sport boils down to shooting the other guy/gal before he/she shoots you, which could describe a good number of games released nowadays (see 50 Cent Bulletproof and other assorted garbage). In practice, paintball is an exhilarating simulation of war, but as a video game it leaves a lot to be desired.
Just looking at the retail packaging can give one a sense of just how little work went into this game. The front cover (featuring a player whose teammates apparently hid a mustard bomb inside his gun) is saturated with color, making it look as though it was designed by an insane painter who forgot to take his meds. The back of the box (as well as the manual) showcases agonizingly unfunny puns, as well as questionable copy editing ability on the part of whomever greenlighted them.
Ever walk into a game store and notice how your eyes automatically screen out potentially awful boxes, such as anything containing the phrases “Tomb Raider” and “Army Men”? I shrieked in terror when Renegade’s packaging literally vanished from my hands as my brain violently rejected its existence.
When you first switch it on, Renegade makes the player choose from a group of professional paintballers as the skin for your character. Seeing as how I had absolutely no idea who any of them were, I chose an attractive woman as my avatar, attempting to ignore the poorly written, oft-misspelled “interesting facts” below the pictures. To my disappointment, her in-game appearance resembled a character from the N64 classic Goldeneye 007 more than her actual picture. After a few seconds of switching around, I realized than every character was the same, with slight differences in paintball gear and long hair for the women. It was around this point that I realized exactly what I’d gotten myself into.
Several options greet you from the main menu, including a career mode, arcade mode (described as “paintball pandemonium” in the manual, those wacky guys!), as well as Xbox Live support. It goes without saying that Renegade’s Live community is as barren as a nuclear winter, so I jumped into the career mode. This is a misnomer; from what little I could see through my tears of horror, career mode is just a bunch of challenge rounds with a most certainly unsatisfying conclusion.
During a game, the computer-controlled bots are given asinine nicknames that only a 13 year old would find amusing, such as “G@mr Jim” and ”Fragger Corey”. I kept expecting “U G0T P0WNZ0RD!!!!!!!! ?” to pop up on my screen whenever I was hit, which was often, thanks to the awkward control scheme and my rigor mortis-afflicted character. I unloaded on a foe at pointblank range and managed to miss every time, while he walloped me with a single shot. I’m pretty sure this has less to do with me sucking than the indifference/incompetence of the design team.
Graphically, Renegade looks like it belongs on the PlayStation 1; aside from the menus, the game showcases blocky textures, severe clipping, and laughable character models. Just like a real game of paintball, whenever a player is hit in Renegade, he ceases his zombie-like shuffling, raises his gun into the air, and vanishes into oblivion, only to be reborn elsewhere through the mysterious power of the paintball gods. Everyone out there who hates Microsoft with a passion should cease their message board rantings; the fact that the Xbox is forced to read the SPLAT Magazine Renegade Paintball disc is insult enough.
Every inch of this game is permeated with generic heavy metal instrumentals, which I actually kind of enjoyed the first twenty times I heard each one. It’s painfully obvious that Renegade was made for (and by, from the looks of it) males in their late teens and early twenties, who either don’t have it in them to go paintballing or are obsessive fanatics of the sport.
The aforementioned music (a teenage metalhead’s idea of rockin’ tunes), as well as frequent shots of gun-toting hotties wearing dental floss, only serve to prove my theory of Renegade’s catering to adolescents. There are approximately 3 sound effects in the game: the “thupp” of a paintball gun going off, the “thwack” of a high-velocity chunk of paint slamming into your character, and the “rippp” of your hair as it painfully exits your scalp while attached to your fingers.
The only reason I gave SPLAT Magazine Renegade Paintball any points at all is because it technically works when inserted into your Xbox. I wouldn’t recommend doing this, however; not only is this game absolutely atrocious, but you generally don’t want to give a machine a reason to hate you. Even fans of the sport should stay far, far away from this “game”; spend the money on a day of actual paintball instead. As for me, WP’s “Drive Me to Murder” project is well on its way to success.
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