Now, time was secrets was the blood of videogames. This was before the internet ruined it all, and Gamefaqs.com let you look up the skirt of any game you pleased, games that deserved better. I can remember coming into school, knapsack in hand, so excited about talkin’ videogames with the other boys that I felt fit to burst. Why, I remember one day when Pretty Joe Moses told me his wizard had come back from the dead in Nethack, and I wet myself! No shame in it.
These days, I tell it true that there ain’t no secrets. I don’t know how these kids today do it, but it seems a game ain’t been out for 10 minutes before some freak from Taiwan or France has uploaded a video of the hidden ending to YouTube. You seen that chart someone made of all the weapon damages from Left4Dead2? That’s stuff’ll make your kidneys rotate 180 degrees, I tell you what.
I saw that chart, I said to myself “Oh my God,” is what I said. I said “Hell!”
You still listening?
Well, I got a secret. I got a secret no-one else knows. Oh yes, mmm, the old dog got a tooth and some spit to lose yet.
You ever play that Armored Core 4? Or the upgraded version they released after, Armored Core: For Answer?
Listen good now. These games, they got short levels, real short. They’re short so you can play ’em again and again for the good rankings, see. I’m talking maybe 2 minutes start to finish, sometimes 4 minutes tops.
Something else this game has is the worst music I’ve ever heard! This stuff is like soul poison. I got no idea which graveyard they raided for the guy that did these songs. Or more likely, this being Japan, more likely they made the guy who did the gun sound effects to do the music too.
So I’m thinking to myself, maybe I can play my own music when I’m playing Armored Core 4. Each level is about as long as a song, right? That ain’t no trouble. So I turn on my stereo and I does just that.
Best decision I ever fuckin’ made.
The game is transformed! Best fucking game I’ve played all year! I’m telling you!
See, not only have you got these astonishing graphics of robots dashing this way and that, firing bags of misiles and spittin’ bullets and lasers, now you have audio that can match up. You put on one of the more dramatic Justice or Queens of the Stone Age tracks, or some Gui Boratto, Hell, some Ladyhawke or Calexico or Mstrkrft, whatever you like, and suddenly you got something spectacular. The most dramatic, ass-kickin’ game you can imagine.
And the thing is, the real Holy thing is, this is a hardcore game, right? That’s why it reviewed so badly. It’s all closed-off and about fine-tuning your robot like you would a racecar. Well, when the missions themselves become this exciting, suddenly you’re given the incentive you need to get into the game proper!
And shit! There’s a whole sub-game in there about finding the perfect track to go with each level as you try them again and again. There’s this one missionwhere you defend a bridge from dozens of flying robots, then leap off the bridge to blow up a speeding train? I tell no word of a lie, Tangled Up In Plaid by Queens of the Stone Age matches it perfect. Just as you leap off the bridge and go blasting sideways to strafe alongside the train, the solo kicks in. And this guy’s wailing on this guitar like it was his cheatin’ wife, and you’re shooting rockets and lasers and whatever else at this train, just fillin’ it with hurt, and let me say that if you don’t get a hard-on at that particular moment then you LESS than a boy!
Phew, I’m done tired out. You shouldn’t have got me worked up like that.
I think a nap’s what’s in order. Yeah, you just close the door behind you on your way out. And you play that game! You play Armored Core 4. It’s really kinda pretty good. You should play it. You really… you really should…