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Review: Titan Exodus
Well, here we have a space shooter from Jay White, the maker of Shikun, a cute game which was, unfortunately, not exactly a wild jamboree of fun and good times. One would hope that Jay White learned from his last game, removed what was bad about it, improved upon what was good, and came out with a superior product. Then, one would play Titan Exodus, and one’s hopes would be summarily crushed.
The game involves a lot of trying to squeeze a small ship through even smaller openings in caves. I believe the meeting down at Spaceman HQ went something like this:
“Sir! We’ve detected a strange collected of unanimated sprites floating slowly toward the entrance to their cave dwelling!”
“Then for all that is good and holy, we must send four space ships down there to fly at very low speed through tiny openings in the caverns to destroy this strange race of beings and buy upgrades at a shop somewhere.”
“Sir! The lead ship crashed into a wall and the creatures are feeding on the charred remains of the pilot’s will to continue playing this game!”
“God help us all…”
Now, maybe if the technology which allows the computer-controlled wingmen to fly through rock unharmed could somehow be harnessed and built into the player-controlled ship, which would seem, in all other ways, to be more or less identical to the other ships aside from this key cavern-navigating ability, this game would be more fun. But not much more fun.
The first time I played, I got killed by a gun that my weapons seemed to shoot through without harming at all. The next time I played, I had just successfully cleared a rather narrow opening and was then killed by absolutely nothing. The next time I played... oh, wait. I deleted it after that. In short, the next time I decide to fire this game up, I'm going to just go outside and slam my testicles in the car door instead.
Now, the graphics are alright. They’re retro, I guess, which is fine since I’m 187 years old. But having seen what Jay White did on Shikun, it’s a considerable letdown to see him pull this ugly mess out. The sprites are barely animated. The sound effects sound like a cardboard box full of styrofoam chips and broken glass being shaken. The music is neither terribly bad or terribly good. The presentation, well, there’s a short clip of what I eventually realized was the ships flying through a tunnel to their doom, but there’s no story, so basically, you’re just killing time here. And it won’t be a whole lot of time, because this game will probably be much more likely to have you saying, “What the fuck just killed me?” than “Oh, wow. This game is awesome!” Within ten minutes, you’ll either be voicing a relief at having just deleted the game, or wistfully recalling the last time you played Gradius. Maybe both.
Now, before anybody comes crying to me about how this review is unnecessarily cruel, let me explain something. I believe that Jay White has the ability to make better games. I believe this game is a big step in the wrong direction for him. I believe he needs to spend more time thinking about what kinds of things would be fun, and less time about what kinds of things would be challenging, because if I wanted an unrewarding challenge, I would just go to work and try not to fall asleep. Take the graphical style of Shikun, give the player something fun to do, and then reward them for doing it, because nobody plays games to have a lousy, frustrating, irritating time.
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