Game Feature

The Weekly WTF: How ‘Do Not Believe His Lies’ Was Even Too Freaking Weird For the Internet

Do Not Believe His Lies

Just about anything can be done via the magic of mobile. As the interwebs like to say, there’s a freaking app for that. We’ve already seen a cutesy toontastic game that teaches women to masturbate, which shows you the kind of open field we’re dealing with here.

Sure, Apple’s lawyer-bots have to prevent some pitches from ever seeing the light of day. Still, though, the relative ease and cheapness of development here lets all kinds of batshit crazy flow. Mind-mangling puzzler Do Not Believe His Lies, for instance.

This one hit the App Store last July, and has reportedly never been finished. Some believe it to be impossible to do so, and everybody believes that it’s creepy as all hell. Let’s take a look.

The game begins, as Kotaku reports, with a black screen displaying a simple message: We were expecting you. Your journey begins now. We await you on the other side. Good luck. You’re then told that the first code is hidden on an otherwise blank-looking screen. It starts off gently enough, with you just needing to increase the brightness to read the message, but it soon becomes unhinged.

Do Not Believe His Lies 2

Each little riddle leads you to another. You’ll have to interpret morse code and all kinds of madness to make any progress here.
‘One of them involves watching creepy video,’ the ‘Taku’s own Patricia Hernandez goes on. ‘Many require cracking codes, knowing different languages, visiting specific websites and finding a hidden message, checking constellations, using chemistry, using music theory, and more. It’s insane.’

The puzzles themselves are totally bizarre, and have stumped much of a dedicated crew of gamers trying to crack this baby. But it’s the solutions that earn Do Not Believe His Lies a place in WTF history. With each little mystery solved, you’ll get a brief line of text. In its way, this is the ‘plot’ of the game, and it’s going to some creepy places.

From the mysteries that players have managed to decipher, the text we have is: ‘The first time I saw him there, I was just a child.’ There is also ‘He keeps showing up,’ ‘in my dreams,’ ‘I cannot escape him now.’ Imagine it as the creepiest effing Professor Layton game in the universe, and you’re just about there.

What the hell’s the deal here? Where is this going? Who is this dodgy dude? None of these questions will probably ever be answered, but a dedicated band of freaking confused gamers are on the case. For more on this, hit the link.

Forget Call of Duty, Real Men Need the Retro Love: Battletoads

Battletoads

Yep. Battle-mothereffin’-toads. Almost 25 years later, this one still brings gamers out in a cold sweat at the very mention of its name. If you’ve ever woken from a harrowing nightmare shrieking not the bastarding hoverbike level!, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Battletoads is pure, unadulterated hardcore.

Only those with balls of steeliest, steely steel need apply. Let’s take a look.
Read more… »

The Weekly WTF: The Murderous Monkeys of ‘Ape Escape’

Ape Escape

Super-intelligent monkeys? No thanks. These hairy bastards are smarter than a lot of us as it is. Augmenting their braintastic is just asking for trouble. Didn’t you see Planet of the Apes? It was Earth all along, mothereffers. That’s what smartified monkeys do, and we don’t need any of it.

So when your local beardly mad scientist develops an intelligence-enhancing helmet, keep it away from any circus chimps who might be lurking about. They’ll only become time travelling megolomaniacs. And if you don’t think that sounds like a badass premise for a video game, you haven’t met Ape Escape yet.

Yep, this was a thing that happened. This platformer hit the PS1 in 1999, and cast you as a young dude named Spike. Your furry-assed nemesis is Spector, who has innocently stumbled on the professor’s Peak Point helmet and been turned both super smart and batshit crazy by it.

Like any brilliant-if-slightly-pervy-looking scientist, our ol’ buddy has also developed a time machine. Hijacking that too, Spector sends an armed of similarly helmeted super-simians through time to eff with history and create monkey world. Or something. The old dude’s no use, because he’s freaking old, so Spike heads into the machine himself to bring the monkeys back to their own time and stop Spector.

Ape Escape 2

With some fancy-ass gadgetry, natch. Among other things in the professor’s lab, Spike found himself a spangly ‘time net.’ This may look like just like a regular butterfly net, but we’re assured that it has far more doohickeys, whatsits and teraflops inside. With this, you can catch the apes marauding about the levels and insta-beam them back where they came from, sans helmet and madness. You also have a stun club, a lightsaber-y weapon to bash your foes (all of whom haul ass away from you on sight) and make them an easy catch.

So, to recap, we’re bashing time travelling super-monkeys in the face with a lightsaber. On the back of a dinosaur, at one point. Nothing screwy so far.

Your objective in each stage is to collect a certain amount of them. There’s no end point to reach, no Mario-style flagpole or any of that BS. Ape Escape has no time for that. What it does have is some of the most brilliantly varied levels platformers have ever seen, thanks to the time travelling malarkey. From prehistoric volcanoes to Medieval castles and futuristic cities, you’ll go everywhere and anywhere.

And you’ll bring some crazy shit with you, too. As you progress, you’ll unlock more of the professor’s gadgets, like the propeller dealie you spin in one hand and fly with. As you acquire them, more of the previous levels will be accessible with them, so backtrack-ery is in order to collect all those monkeys.

All in all, nothing defines that what the hell am I doing with my life feeling quite like chasing a special ops monkey with shades and pistol up a cliff. Good job, Ape Escape.

Forget Call of Duty, Real Men Need the Retro Love: The Simpsons Wrestling

The Simpsons Wrestling

Yep, I’m afraid so. Strap yourselves in, gents, this one’s back for another round.

If you’re a follower of all things gametastic, you’ll know the horror of the licensed game. Usually, these ballaches are trotted out to coincide with a movie release, so fast that the developers forget to put any actual gameplay in there. Mostly because impressionable moms will buy them for their kids regardless, if they have Pirates of the Caribbean or Star Wars or whatever on the front of the box there.

I can only imagine the clogged underworld u-bend where Satan found Superman 64. But when he chose to inflict it on us, he started a precedent that continues today.

Still, as we know, there are different shades of shit. While some games-of-the-movie are irredemably awful, some are just plain bad. You might even squeeze a little fun from them. One barely passable example? The Simpsons Wrestling.

This one hit the PlayStation in 2001, courtesy of Big Ape Productions. It’s a simple enough premise: Springfield is in the grip of wrestling fever, and everyone’s at it. Lisa isn’t above wanging papa Homer in the face with her saxophone to come out on top.

On the one hand, it’s all familiar fighting game fare. You choose your character and proceed through rounds against everyone else. There’s an ‘end boss’ of sorts, and you’re done. It’s all health bars, special moves, all of that good stuff.

The Simpsons Wrestling 2

It isn’t, however, very wrestle-y. You’d be forgiven for expecting it to be, what with that huge eff off Wrestling in the title, but nope. There are two Springfieldites in a ring, sure, but bouts play out more like a beat ‘em up. Each character has a standard jab attack and two specials, one with more cooldown and generally more power than the other. Krusty’s custard pie projectiles, Flanders’ homing bible, Barney belching out a toxic beer cloud, that sort of thing. There are also some half-assed aerial attacks and limited use of the ropes.

All in all, button-mashy spammable attacks rather than moves. All of these work on a stamina system, with stronger hits needing more meter. You can also collect power-ups that appear around the ring. In short, liberties are being taken. Most egregious of all for the wrestling faithful, opponents hit the deck belly-down, and can only be pinned from that position. Blasphemy!

In its way, The Simpsons Wrestling is pretty damn faithful to the show. Every fighter is voiced by their original actor, and have their rings in their own familiar locales (Apu’s Kwik-e-Mart and such). In the background, you’ll see a range of cameos from more obscure characters like the Stonecutters. This is a neat little touch, and one that fans will surely appreciate.

The game does have its moments. The final rounds vs Kang and Kodos, Smithers wailing (Waylon-ing) on you while Burns throws nukes at you in the power plant stage… There are some mildly entertaining unlockables too, like the Itchy vs Scratchy matches and the ridiculous weapons they have.

The Simpsons Wrestling is a hard one to place on the licensed game shitometer. It looks like hell for sure, and is as simplistic as they come. But it’s still relatively playable, and is much less offensive than some offerings we’ve seen.

The Weekly WTF: When ‘Elder Scrolls’ Mods Kill (Kinda Sorta)

WTF- Morrowind Mod

Modding is a huge part of PC game-ery. The possibilities are endless, and usually completely freaking ridiculous. It’s usually a because I can, that’s why sort of deal. Ever felt a hankering to swim though a completely submerged city in Grand Theft Auto? Or dick about with a selfie stick and Instagram filters in Doom? Of course you haven’t, but you can.

Generally, it’s all harmless enough. Pretty damn technically impressive sometimes. It can take a turn for the pervtastic, what with nude mods and enhanced jiggle mods and that sort of business, but we’ll excuse the lonely gauchos who devise such things. If someone decides to dedicate months to removing that pixely blur from showering Sims, who are we to judge?

With big ol’ expansive RPGs like The Elder Scrolls, there are whole communities of nerdly creators doing their thing. Which is all well and good, until… THE DEATHS START. Hold on to your asses, gentlemen, it’s the tale of Morrowind Mod jvk1166z.esp.

Supposedly, this one started life as just another suspected virus. If you tried to install it, your copy of The Elder Scrolls 3 would be completely wiped on booting. For some 300+ hours players, that’s a goddamn horrifying curse in and of itself, but it gets worse. In some mysterious, lurid corners of the internet (not the ‘give us your credit card details to see GILFs violate their poodles with cucumbers’ ones, different lurid corners), jvk1166z.esp. has itself a nightmarish reputation.

WTF- Morrowind Mod 2

When you did manage to get the damn thing to work, you found that the mod has some really creepy effects. If your character remained stationary for too long, their health would drain away. If you went to take a leak or something and died in this fashion, a new guy would appear in the game. Players knew him as… The Assassin.

According to listverse, the Assassin is the kind of guy who’d make Slenderman sleep with his little Thomas the Tank Engine nightlight on:
‘He appeared to be a man except his legs and arms were long and bent like a spider. Players began to notice that if you paid close attention the player could see the assassin around corners or scurrying up the walls, but only for brief moments.’

No effing thanks.

The legend states that spending too long with jvk1166z.esp caused players to hallucinate and obsess. A new dungeon it added to the game had a door which could not be opened. Affected gamers would spend days on end, fixated with trying to get it open. More importantly, they’d see the Assassin crawling along their walls and ceilings in real life. I’ll leave you with that image.

It’s all BS, natch, but this mod actually exists. It’s probably not haunted and/or evil, but you won’t catch me downloading it.

We’ve Been Here Before: ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ PC Delayed to April 14, Heists Hitting Consoles March 10

Grand Theft Auto V PC Delay

Remember the story of the boy who cried wolf? When there eventually was a wolf, nobody cared and he got his face chewed off. Or, y’know, something to that effect. The moral was don’t be a big ol’ lying asshole, anyway.

So when Grand Theft Auto V finally does hit PC, you’ll excuse us for not quite believing it. By then, we’ll all be OAPs anyway, and the game will be obsolete. Either because we can’t fandangle a mouse or controller with our arthritic hands any more, or because PCs will have been replaced by tiny nanochips in our foreheads.

The same’s true of the much ballyhooed heists, really. Snow across Los Santos and all these other spangly holiday updates are all well and good, but the heists have been ‘coming soon’ for months now.

But anywho, those are the breaks. Here’s the fresh batch of dates. The PC edition has been bumped back to April 14, which is possibly another tentative placeholder. On consoles, meanwhile, it does seem fairly certain that multiplayer heists will hit as scheduled: March 10.

Damn it, Rockstar. You’re a bigger tease than Katy Perry.

Via Destructoid.

Forget Call of Duty, Real Men Need the Retro Love: Eternal Darkness

Eternal Darkness

Let’s not be snarky about a 2002 release counting as ‘retro.’ When you’re a renegade badass cruising into the mouth of hell on grandpa’s mobility scooter, you have slim-to-zero effs to give about trivial matters like that. And I am one. That’s so me. I won’t even apologize for starting that sentence with ‘and’ back there.

So, to business. Nintendo’s cutesy GameCube didn’t quite set the gaming world alight back in the 2000s. It got a nice crop of first party classics, granted; that’s what these guys do best. At the same time, though, there wasn’t a lot outside of Mario, Link and co. Third party support has long been a weakness of their consoles.

Ports are one thing, but exclusives from outside are as rare as sightings of Bigfoot having his wicked, hairy way with a unicorn in your backyard. Which does happen. So did Silicon Knights’ Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem.

This survival horror has a Quantum Leap-ish, protagonist-hopping deal going on. You begin as Alex Roivas, a young woman investigating her grandfather’s fancy-ass mansion for clues to his murder (because the police themselves are being assholes). While cruising about the cavernous house, she finds a hidden room containing a mysterious book, The Tome of Eternal Darkness. Which is where it gets ugly.

Eternal Darkness 2

Reading from this human-flesh-bound book, she learns of mankind’s millenia-long struggle against the Ancients. These vast, powerful beings look like something that would give H.P Lovecraft nightmares, and they’re out to seize control of the cosmos. Fear not, though, because Alex’s ancestors and their buddies have been working against them behind the scenes.

Each chapter of the book serves as a stage of the game, is set in a different time period and stars a different character. The first tells of studly Roman centurion Pious Augustus, who started all this shit off in the first place by reviving one of the Ancients’ lost artifacts in 26 BC. He is possessed and corrupted by it, and then becomes the antagonist, trying to summon his big ol’ slavering master and destroy the planet in the process.

After his encounter, we move through the timeline and play as everyone from a Persian swordsman in 565 AD to a World War I soldier. Each has their own little piece of the story, which all fits together as a whole. Some of them even meet each other, and it’s all very clever and converge-y and all the rest of it.

Between chapters, you return to the ‘hub’ (the mansion, as Alex), where a little Resident Evil- style light puzzling and exploration turns up the next page. And so it goes on, until Alex’s own timeline meets with Pious’s in the year 2000 and she has to whup his undead ass personally.

Eternal Darkness 3

Whichever member of this motley crew you’re controlling, the gameplay is unchanged. It’s all very Resident Evil around here, in the puzzling and inventory-wrangling, but with a couple of crucial additions that set it apart. The biggest of these is magic, which each character can cast for a variety of effects. You can simply enchant weapons to increase their power and heal yourself, but it gets much fancier than that. By the end, you’ll be summoning hulking Horrors and effortlessly finding hidden secrets.

The second, and possibly most badass, innovation is the Sanity system. Your sanity has a meter just as HP and magic does, and it’s depleted whenever you encounter one of the stage’s enemies (if you’ve ever seen any of these crazy bastards, you’ll know why). There’s a spell that can refill it, and you can gain a little back by performing a finishing blow on said enemy, but you don’t want this dipping too low. As you lose sanity, all kinds of special effects will occur. Unseen babies will cry in the background, your character will hallucinate, and you’ll even see a message on screen reporting that your memory card has been formatted.

Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
was one of a kind. It did a great job of switching between characters and keeping the story together and engaging, which is an easy thing to screw up. It was a taste of Ye Olde survival horror, and also brought something new to the idea. It’s a little obscure, but this one’s got cult classic written all over it.