Friday, April 20, 2018

The Apotheosis Project

- or: "how I wasted three bucks"

Hadn't played an old-timey adventure game in a while, and while weighing various titles from my GoG collection I remembered I'd already installed The Apotheosis Project last year when I picked it up as part of a package deal or whatnot. And now I've uninstalled it.

There's not much to say here. Gameplay mechanics are standard 1980's fare: lots of 2D pixel-hunting and "use key on door" type of stuff. You can also switch between two main characters, a less common but still well-rehearsed gimmick. I've seen worse. It's the aesthetics that make this a waste of a gigabyte's worth of memory.

For one thing the voice acting, crucial in a genre with otherwise very sparse features, is just horrendous intern-quality read-throughs, managing to be at once overly dramatic and bland. One. of. the. FIRST. villains... talks. in. NOTHING but... dramatic! pauses. Thankfully he vanishes after his first scene, but the rest are about as bad. I'm halfway expecting one of them to say "I did not hit her, it's bullshit... o hai Mark"

I suppose I could stand bad voice acting if the lines being acted were in themselves worth hearing, but the writing makes most indie games sound like Hamlet. Most is just utterly redundant, adding neither color nor illumination to your visible surroundings. I hover my mouse over a red button. The floating text says "red button." The voiceover description? "It's a red button." The rest is fourth-wall-breaking exposition, mostly redundant.

Maybe you think logical consistency might salvage such a mess. Nope. In that same second scene you're supposed to save your partner from a prison cell guarded by the standard-issue One Inept Guard. Pressing the giant red button causes a trap door to open and sets off an alarm, klaxons blaring, red-and-blue warning lights flashing, the works. The guard runs in, ignoring all alarms, and falls through it. Mission accomplished. The voiceover? "Oh my god. What an idiot." I assume you mean the writer.

Maybe you're thinking this is a comedic spoof of such games, but every development is presented in deadly serious scenery-chewing dramatism. There's even a "Noooooo!" to rival the infamous Darth Vader cherry topper to the Star Wars prequels.

Ladle on some good old-fashioned misandry while you're at it. There's a stuck drawer. The male character needs to force it open using "brute force" (direct quote) and he pulls out what he says is a "useless piece of paper." He needs to hand it to his female colleague so she can figure out that the words "5 right 4 left 8 right" might just be the combination to the one and only safe on the wall next to the drawer. Because, you see, boys can't read. They're stupid.
Going through these steps awards achievements named "she's the boss" and "female superiority." The heroine's line upon opening the safe? "I've opened the safe using the combination that I found MYSELF." No, really, caps lock included, with verbal emphasis to boot.

Aaaaand that's about enough of that.
So, as it uninstalls, I have to ask: who initially financed the production of this retarded piece of trash and why is it getting packaged with much better games like The Cat Lady?

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