Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Sorry, you've just caught me watching Plan 9 From Outer Space. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. It's quite crap, and possibly the funniest film ever made. And lucky for you out there in Punterland, it comes free (free! free!) with Plan 9 From Outer Space - The Game. Well, not really free 'cos the game costs a hefty £35, but you get the idea.
And how crap is Plan 9? Here's a "do it yourself" visual aid to help you find out just how embarrassing this movie is. Pop downstairs and have a rummage in the fridge. Get some cheese, or if you haven't got any pop down the shops and buy one. Now, wrap the cheese in a damp rag and leave it in the sun, or behind a radiator. Leave it for six months. Unwrap the cheese and take a big sniff of that lovely aroma. Plan 9 From Outer Space is twice as cheesy as that.
Indeed, this could well be the only game to actually have an excuse for being crap. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your point of view, Plan 9 - The Game isn't immensely crap really. But it's nowhere near as good as it should've been.
Time to zip up our lycra Reviewer Man costumes and use our amazing Nit Picking Powers to find out exactly what's going on. Ker-ziiiiip!
Rather than going for the obvious film licence approach of taking the plot of the film and scrunching it about so it fits within a dodgy platform game, Gremlin have chosen to use the making of the film as the background to the game.
You've been hired by the producer to track down the missing reels of Plan 9 From Outer Space and return them before the gala opening performance. Of course, it'd probably be better for all involved if the reels were left to rot where they lie, but hey, that wouldn't be much of a game would it? So locating the reels it is.
And for some reason they've been scattered right around the globe. Which makes your job a it more difficult than the 'rummaging in a store room for half an hour' you were looking forward to.
You start at the producers' office and, well, you've got to sort of pick up clues to allow you to find new locations and eventually the six canisters o film. Examine the surroundings, pick up objects, that sort of thing. You know the kind of stuff that's involved in these games. Elvira 2 is probably your best reference point here.
So what's wrong with that then? Weeeell, I would've enjoyed this game a whole lot more if there wasn't a sense of claustrophobia about it all. Each location is severely limited, with maybe one or two objects that you can pick up.
Plus, there are too many instances where the game decides you can't do something that you should, ideally, be able to do. For instance, there's a cigar box. Does it serve any useful purpose? How am I supposed to know? I tried to open it and was told it wasn't possible. Why?
The same thing applies to far too many other objects and people. You want to experiment and try different thing but the game just tells you that you can't. Very frustrating.
Let's face it, with those sort of restrictions, advancing through the game should be a doddle. After all, with relatively little brain power you should guess what objects to get. But the game decides to scupper you once again by having far too many instances of "sudden death".
If you don't have the right object at the right time, or if you do have the wrong object at the wrong time, it can be game over without any chance to rectify your mistake. And if you forgot to save the game then you're likely to rip huge chunks of scalp away in frustration.
Which, sadly enough, leads me on to yet another niggling little niggly thing. You can install the game with no fuss on your hard drive but when you come to save the game you have to format a disk and save to floppies. Kinda defeats the object of the hard disk really, especially when there's not much swapping involved if you do play from the original floppy disks. Grrmph.
Now I know this is all sounding a bit negative, you must think I'm wearing my "grumpy trousers" or something, but that's exactly my point. Plan 9 From Outer Space has got all the qualities it needs to be a great adventure, but there's always some little bug cropping up to spoil it for you.
LIke the fact that sometimes the game tells you that you can't carry anything else, but if you buy something or find something while searching another object it goes into your inventory without any trouble at all. And when you drop objects they vanish, so you've got to be very careful. Moan moan moan. There I go again, eh kids? IF I sound a bit narked then it's because I am. This could've - and should've - been a brilliant game. The graphics are good, there's a kitsch B-movie soundtrack and a few decent FX.
The licence has been dealt with in a fresh, and exciting way, and the humour embraces both the unintentional guffaws of the film and plenty of mickey taking at the film's expense.
It's just a pity that the game doesn't stand up very well as an actual adventure game. A sound idea, but fundamentally flawed I'm afraid.