Day 159 – Abuse

This is one of the more obscure games on this list. Abuse was made in 1995 by a small developer called Crack Dot Com. It was the only game they ever completed before going bankrupt. The company involved a few people who worked on Doom and the game itself is seen as something of a platform version of that game. Its not really an Origin game in any sense of the word except for the fact that Origin distributed it. This is good enough for me to give it a go and the Origin logo is at least on the box and CD which is more than can be said for the Janes games.

The storyline for what its worth is that the gene responsible for violent tendencies has been discovered and is named Abuse. This gene is highly infectious (yes I know this doesn’t make sense) and has got loose in the prison facility I have been falsely incarcerated in. I’m the only person imune to it and have to work my way through all the mutated guards and prisoners, stopping the release of the gene to the outside world in the process.

At this point I may as well just forget the plot as it is completely irrelevant to the game which is a simple platformer.

There is a tutorial level where I’m walked through all the games basics. Its all the usual things….

running around, using lifts, etc…

The games one and only novelty is the control system which uses one hand to move my little prisoner around and then I use my mouse at the same time to move a cursor on the screen to aim. This is a really strange system and takes some getting used to. I do quite like it actually though and it makes this game stand out a bit from any other platformer.

The first mutants I have to kill are flying around. They don’t take many shots. I’m stuck with the games most basic weapon for now – this has unlimited ammo but I can also pick ammo up for it which doubles my firing rate until it runs out again. There are 6 other weapons I can collect as I play through the games 21 levels.

Near enough every element of the game is introduced in this starting level, from simple switches to open doors and the like….

to teleporters that take me somewhere else on the level.

There are also powerups which I can grab – these give me some ability or other until I run into an antipowerup. To use the new ability I just right click – this one makes me run really fast.

The game features explodable scenery in places which opens up new areas.

Usually this can be spotted by looking for cracked walls but this isn’t always the case.

There are only a small variety of mutants in the game, although these do have sub varieties. By far the most common at least for today are these ones here that look like the creature from alien. They jump around and crawl on the ceiling as well just like in alien which means I have to keep adjusting my aim. There are numerous types of these that have different weapons – the same weapons I can pick up later on.

I’ve got a grenade launcher at this stage which launches grenades in a parabolic arc so I can shoot over ledges and the like.

Aside from the mutants the building has security turrets – again these come in all varieties. These ones I can turn on to kill off a wave of aliens.

The game features the usual collectable items, hearts for health, and the various types of ammo. When I reach a security station I can use it to save the game – there are quite a few of these on each level so I never have to play through too long a section at a time without being able to save.

The graphics in this are not bad – there is some variety with outdoor sections and the like also but for the most part its grey corridors.  This is a 1995 game though and its a far cry from the technical wizardry of System Shock or WC3. The entire game actually fits on 2 1/2 floppies.

I work my way through the first few levels – I run into a couple of different opponents in the form of a sort of tunnelling machine + these really large mutants who just stand there throwing grenades.

There are also little circles like the one above which I can jump into and they propel me upwards – I can fall as far as I like in this game without getting hurt which is just as well given some of the drops.

I work my way through a few levels – occasionally I get an area like this which looks a bit different but for the most part its all the same. The mutants always attack in big groups, the game appears to be going for scares with them popping out from nowhere all the time (in the manner of Doom) but you just stop caring after a while. The sound effects are excellent and the potential for a tense platformer is definitely there but with nothing new to see and the relentless barrage of mutants it stops having any effect. For this game to make you jump after the first 10 minutes you would need to have the memory of a goldfish.

I come across these giant bouncing mace head things which I have to run under. In some areas these break up into smaller bouncing spheres after a few bounces – what these are doing in a prison I have no idea.

I’m really struggling by this stage to find anything else to say about this game. I play a few more levels and there is nothing new – just loads more corridors and loads more aliens. The difficulty level is high and my progress is slow but its usually possible to get through each area without needing more than a couple of replays.

That is until I get to a stage with these flying mutants that throw fireballs at me. These things can kill me in one hit before I’ve even seen them coming – I try about 30 times and can’t even kill one of the 4 of them.  They don’t wake up until I’ve killed off some other mutants so I eventually work out that I can just go in and throw a load of switches and run away. I guess it was a puzzle of sorts but after 10 levels of this my brain has switched off.

The difficulty continues on this level with this irritating jumping bit where I have to get through all these mines in one jump. This takes a few attempts.

The monotony continues when I have to clear out this room of turrets. They are in pairs in the rampart like floor and ceiling – I have to walk to the edge and take them out carefully or I get blasted to bits in about 2 seconds. Not a problem you think except there must be about 50 of these things in a neverending room where I just do the same thing over and over. This is the platform equivalent of that story room in the neverhood with the 60 odd screens.

To give an idea of the numbers of aliens I’m having to contend with this screenshot shows a typical death scene. They appear in waves like this over and over .

You may have gathered by now that I’m not really enjoying this game all that much. It was ok to start off with but its just another brainless platformer at heart. If I’m going to play a platformer I’d rather be playing Mario, Sonic, Jazz Jackrabbit, Another World, Flashback, Prince of Persia or numerous other better games. It would be ok in small doses I suppose but its really not my thing. Its not actually a bad game as such but I’ve seen it all after the first 15 minutes. I got about as far as Level 13 I think so I should be able to finish it up in a couple more hours with any luck.

This game feels very much like a shareware title to me, or even a good amateur game. It just doesn’t have the polish I would expect with a commercial release – its the sort of game where if I just played a level a day I might enjoy it to some extent but I don’t want to take a month over this. More effort should have been made to change the gameplay around a bit and maybe add some sort of plot elements where  I have to fight my way to a given area to perform some task, etc… What could have been a reasonable game ends up being mediocre due to endless repetition. Unless I run into something new tomorrow’s post is going to be a very short one.

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