by J.R. "Thor" Antrim
All my life, I've waited for someone to blow up Australia.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Australians. They're generally a warm and friendly people. I just want to live out my dream of racing through an endless desert, pursued by mutants in a land where oil is gold, and I don't much like the idea of going to Texas.
Unfortunately, Australia is a member of the South Pacific Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (AKA the Treaty of Rarotonga). Like all members of the SPNWFZ (or "spinwiffs"), they politely ask non-members not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against them — a noble gesture, but about as effective as yelling, "Oww, quit it!"
And yet no one has even tried to blow them up! Not once! It's unbelievable! Australia is a wild, deserty place filled with mutated wildlife (okay, kangaroos), and If somebody dropped a bomb on them, no one would even notice.
Australian developer Ratbag has found the answer. In Powerslide, instead of nuclear fallout, the ozone simply disintegrated. And instead of fighting for fuel, you race for the ultimate prize: fresh fruit.
The characters are a wacky band of photoshopped programmers, covered in dirt and Kai's Power Goo. They're also feral. All of them. The folks at Ratbag are obsessed with the word feral. It's a nice enough word, means wild and untamed. Which is a good way to describe their use of it — wild and untamed.
|There's Colonel Slanders, a former pidgeon breeder turned "feral entrepreneur."|
|Radiation... um... Boy... has post eco-disaster genes and a "feral attitude".|
|Boris, a mobster with a flesh eating disease, sought help from a "feral" doctor. In gratitude, he stole the Doc's parts, Frankenhooker style.|
|Fleeing execution, Pablo Martinez was dumb enough to hire a "feral plastic surgeon" who made him look like Steve Tyler.|
|And then there's Feryl here. |
Need I really go on?
Guys, I understand. There was a time when I couldn't write a paragraph without ending it, "Blarg!" Blarg was like my very own period. I used it to end every sentence. Even if it was highly inappropriate. "Sarah, the hospital called... your grandmother just suffered a stroke. Blarg!"
How do I begin to describe Powerslide's gameplay? It's a racing game. You try to go in circles, faster than the other guys. The graphics are pretty and there's not much else to say. Unless you're Greg Siegele, CEO of Ratbag: "In Powerslide you can drive anywhere. There are no invisible walls or track side facades holding the player back. It is a coherent 3D world." Yeah, thanks buddy. I'll remember that next time I get stuck on one of the visible walls.
And then there's Richard Harrison, Chairman and Technical Director: "If your tyres have the adhesion to get you there, Powerslide won't stop you from visiting any region you wish."
Yes, he said tyres. That's how they spell it in the instruction manual, the character bios, even in the press release! That's unacceptable. That's inexcusable. It's a freaking racing game. It's like misspelling car.
This just in: "Tyres" is the accepted British spelling. And I'm a bloody idiot.
The press release also mentions a feature that was scrapped at the last minute: A plug-in which granted the ability to create your own character. Blarg!
Undaunted (though discouraged and thoroughly disheartened) I set out to create my own character. I don't need your damn plug-in! I'll use whatever tools are at my disposal.
Note to self: Calling your girlfriend's copy of Cosmopolitan Virtual Makeover a "tool" is like calling lipstick a "drill press." Stop it before you hurt and embarrass the ones you love.
J.R. had a dream. A dream about being just like his hero, Mad Max. He installed a V8 engine in an old Sega arcade racing machine and hit the outback in search of Tina Turner. J.R. is protected from harmful UV rays by his goggles, a fine crust of dirt and his natural charm.
For all the feral-y strange writing, Powerslide does have the best sentence in gaming history. One of the characters, Mal Burro, was a spokesman for a brand of cigarettes made from the fur of desert donkeys. "Unfortunately, years of ass-wool smoking have turned his mouth, chest and lungs into hard black crystals, and now he carries a blow dryer to force in the oxygen."
If that isn't feral enough to burn your tyres, I don't know what is. Blarg!
- J.R. "Thor" Antrim thinks Australians are fantastic.
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