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Let's Watch "Let's Play Dead to Rights"
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Let's Watch "Let's Play Dead to Rights":

In the beginning, Goggle Fox started a liveblog of a Let's Play of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). And it was good. She brought out all the great humor of the LP itself while adding a layer of more sane criticism of the game that made the whole thing a joy to read. It was a long road and for a while it looked like she wouldn't make it, but she recently finished the whole thing, in the process opening the door to other Let's Play liveblogs. Towards the end, Emperordaein expressed his wishes to do one of the equally hilarious LP of Dead To Rights by Slowbeef and Daibetus, but quickly decided against it and offered up the project to anyone willing. Well, I'm answering. This thing quickly became one of my favorite Let's Plays ever, up there with the epicness of Sonic 2006, and I'm very eager to revisit it.

So, full disclosure stuff: I've watched this entire LP before, and have also played the game. I got pretty far, but was trapped by one particular boss who I'll point out when the time comes. And technically, this isn't a very good game: it's got lousy acting, an insanely complicated plot involving near James Ellroy levels of Thirty Xanatos Pileup , and a primary game mechanic blantantly ripped off from the far superior Max Payne. What kept me going is that ripoff or not, it's still a pretty fun mechanic, plus I was morbidly curious to see just how insane the story could get. So thanks guys for letting me finally see the ending to this thing; it was weighing on me for a while.

My predecessor in this area turned out a great piece of work; hopefully I can live up to it. Let's start this bad boy.

edited 26th May '10 8:34:18 PM by Eegah

 
Chapter 0

Yeah, the chapters don't have names in this one. And one thing that's kind of nice about it is the two guys seem to have agreed beforehand not to talk over any of the cutscenes. This helps a lot with being able to follow the story, and believe me, we'll be needing it.

The first video is simply the game's opening cinematic, so no commentary yet. Our hero Jack Slate is in a library reading a book on Houdini, when some gang members plant bombs around the place. He leaps into action, with some cool maneuvers like shooting a fire extinguisher and riding a sliding bookshelf ladder, until he faces off against the gang leader in the parking lot. Meanwhile Jack's dog Shadow has broken in and carries one of the bombs to the fight, distracting the bad guy enough for Jack to finish him off and disarm the detonator. The other cops get in and all take aim at Jack, despite him wearing a clear police jacket. But then he just walks away, so no harm no foul.

So did you get all that? Good, because it has nothing to do with anything else. Though soon enough you'll be wishing for the beatiful simplicity of this Batman Cold Open.

edited 26th May '10 8:47:55 PM by Eegah

 
 3 Emperordaein, Wed, 26th May '10 9:56:17 PM from Australia Relationship Status: Hugging my pillow
Praise the Sun!
I happily accept your Live Blog Eegah. And I wish good luck to you! Make everybody who even played the game or watched the Lets Play proud! I am fine with you taking this up. Any attempt I would make would not do this LP justice. Plus I still have my own Live Blog to get working on.....

I never actually played the game, but I quickly learnt everything I needed to know from this LP. This game makes the plot of Modern Warfare 2 look like Final Fantasy VI. It also is jammed pack full of WTF moments.

Slowbeef and Diabetus are two of the greatest LP'ers out there, and I think this is their best work.

So.....How about we Take up our grievances with City Hall....

PS. I am curious to know what the plot of Dead to Rights Retribution is like compared to this. Seeing how stupid the first was, I want to know what Retribution is like.

edited 26th May '10 9:59:45 PM by Emperordaein

 4 Ponicalica, Thu, 27th May '10 12:02:40 AM from facing Buttercup
Chapter 1

Slowbeef and Diabetus don't introduce themselves, which is understandable given what big names they are from the whole Retsuperae thing. A bit more irritating is that they don't properly introduce their dynamic for this game: Slowbeef is an expert at it, while Diabetus is seeing it for the first time. They're also watching a prerecorded playthrough by Slowbeef; it takes away some of the immediacy from LPs like Sonic '06 but I can definitely see why you'd want to know just how long recording is going to take. Plus, they still come up with plenty of great stuff.

Diabetus is hung up on the library fight. Oh honey, you'll learn to let that go soon enough. We're watching the opening credits, which cut back and worth between old time newspaper articles about the gold rush and loving panning shots over police guns. It clashes horribly, as you'd expect. Slowbeef notes that the game was made by Namco Hometech, the company's western branch, as you can tell from the distinct lack of Japanese names we're seeing. Though one of the artists is named Behrooz, which makes me wonder if he suddenly disappeared from the office after getting his neck sliced open. Slowbeef also brings our attention to how eleven people are credited for the level design or additional level design, though that doesn't come into play until pretty late in the game.

Slowbeef claims to be a fan of the game, and says he'll spend most of these videos defending it despite its more ludicrous elements. Yeah, that won't really pan out. Now we reach the credits for the two people who came up with the story, the one guy who wrote the script, and one more rather inexplicable credit for "script adaptation." The guys are just as mystified as I am: "So these two assholes come up with the story and they give it to one poor guy, who's like 'Hey, write this.'"

The game finally begins for real, with a quite pointless zoom into a police photo to introduce us to Grant City. Jack goes through the usual hard boiled noir introduction to the place, which isn't nearly as good as the stuff from Max Payne. Hell, even Rorschach's deliberately overwrought and pretentious narration was better than this. The best part is "The leaves were changing from go green to caution yellow. Pretty soon they'd be danger red, and then dead brown." Kind of stretching the metaphor at the end there, don't you think? Oh, and the cutscene ends with a shot of a traffic light just in case we didn't get it. By the way, Jack is voiced by Chris Bruno, the closest thing the game has to a name actor. He's a former mixed martial artist who played Walt Bannerman on the USA series The Dead Zone, which I never watched so I can't comment on how good he was. Though I imagine it was better than this.

Jack gets a call about gunfire, and smashes through the gate of a construction site. "Jack really doesn't like construction." So here we have the tutorial level, which is quite necessary given the varied techniques the game features. Much of the commentary here is Slowbeef giving more descriptive explanations for each of them.

Jack spends the level fighting guys dressed as construction workers. Though if you consider that their health bars identify them only as "worker" or "foreman, " plus how the plainclothes-wearing Jack never once identifies himself as a cop in the whole level, things can take on a pretty dark undertone. Anyway, the first guy is taken out with Jack's dog Shadow; he can kill a single enemy and give you their weapon, but then needs 30 seconds to recharge. And it can be kind of disturbing to watch, as the animators really go to town in showing Shadow viciously ripping people's throats out with blood spraying everywhere.

After we learn how to just shoot people, there's the first piece of quality Narm: one guy sneaks up behind Jack and says "Drop it, " and Jack instantly throws his gun to the side like it's on fire. "All right, you got me." Then we get IMO the game's best original element: certain button combinations will give you "disarms" in this kind of situation; the one we see here just has Jack grabbing the guy's arm and pulling the trigger into his head, but Diabetus is still pretty impressed. "You dis-headed him!"

Now we get to the real Max Payne ripoff: Jack can enter bullet time, which works exactly the same. Still pretty fun, though. Next is "wall mode, " where you can edge up against a wall and peek out; this combined with auto targeting really makes things a lot easier. By now Slowbeef has to insist the game is much harder than you'd think from this level, and I definitely remember it has a pretty steep difficulty curve after this.

Jack tosses a propane tank and then shoots it in the midst of more enemies, and Slowbeef points out that Jack narrates what the player should do at the same time that text boxes point it out with specific controls. "Dead to Rights does not think much of you." "It could be worse, the enemies could be telling it to you."

Jack shoots down a crane to make a bridge to the next area: "Not the most subtle way to get across, but hey." The guys are just as confused as me whether that's supposed to be a Bond One-Liner. Suddenly he decides he needs to break through a fence, and the only way through is to break into a bulldozer. And so we enter the lock-picking minigame: five wheels that spin increasingly faster, and you have to tap the button when a rod on their side enters a boxed-in area on the right. Missing one means you go back to the last one. Later uses of this puzzle have a time limit, but here it's just boring. Slowbeef says these games are pretty fun with one exception; I beg to differ and, spoilers, so will Diabetus.

For some reason, the game chooses this point to tell you about your health bar and weapon selection. At least Jack isn't joining in. We're also shown the human shield ability when one guy bizarrely runs right up to Jack and then just stops. And if your shield isn't killed by the time all the enemies are taken out, Jack just shoots him in the head. "You boys should take up your grievance with City Hall!" The guys are a bit more impressed by that line, just for how much of a Jerkass Jack just became. "Are you sure you're the good guy in this game?"

We control Shadow for a bit to open more of the path, which Slowbeef suggests you use to trick your little brother into thinking he'll be playing too, by leaving out that Shadow is a dog and not a ninja. And then just to be more insulting, the game doesn't trust you to open the path yourself: after walking through a couple pipes it moves to a script of Shadow knocking a barrel down a scaffolding so Jack can climb it. Nice to know just how much you respect us, Namco.

Next is a locked gate, so Jack heads to a nearby trailer, along with a quite gratuitous bullet time kill. "Can you bullet time your way into the port-a-potty and take a dump?" "Heh heh heh. (beat) Yes." Inside the trailer is a key, which just makes me wonder why Jack couldn't pick it. It has to be simpler than the bulldozer lock.

Past the gate are some short stacks of boxes, the perfect place to learn about ducking. For some reason there's no wall mode for ducking, so Jack just has to keep popping up to take everyone out. Slowbeef also demonstrates the shotgun, despite being at pretty short range.

Jack kills one last guy ("My favorite character!") which the editing kind of makes it look like Shadow did. He then enters the building skeleton and finds the body of Frank Slate, his father. Roaring Rampage of Revenge time! But first Jack narrates some more, with Chris Bruno managing to almost show some emotion a couple times. We learn that Frank was accused of some "bad things" but always insisted he was innocent. Plot point!

Jack talks to an older cop whose name we don't learn (remember that for later) about how the prime suspect for this is a mobster named Augie Blats. "Justice may not be smart, but it should be honest. I was about to do something real stupid." Wait, those are two seperate ideas.

The game's controls scroll by as the guys are still fascinated by that City Hall quip. "I'm going to write a strongly worded letter!" Diabetus also has issue with Jack letting his dog do most of the work. Soon you'll be wishing that was your only complaint.

edited 27th May '10 8:59:10 AM by Eegah

 
 6 Emperordaein, Thu, 27th May '10 1:33:47 PM from Australia Relationship Status: Hugging my pillow
Praise the Sun!
I honestly have no idea why an entire construction yard is armed to the teeth with Pistols and Shotguns. Okay, it does make sense later in the game (Loosely) but still....

Next Time: We see the worst mini game, and we see a celebrity voice Impersonator! He's Un-FUCKIN Believable!

edited 27th May '10 2:38:22 PM by Emperordaein

 7 Ponicalica, Thu, 27th May '10 3:07:02 PM from facing Buttercup
I've started to watch this LP. God damn this game is Narm incarnate.

And yes, it's "worst minigame" time coming up. That minigame is...I don't even know how to describe it.

edited 27th May '10 3:10:11 PM by Ponicalica

 8 Shrikesnest, Thu, 27th May '10 3:10:48 PM from my nest of thorns
Small, vicious
This is the single best LP ever made. I wish Slowbeef and Diabetus would get together and make a show together or something, because they're much funnier together than they are individually.
"Pale Ebenezer thought it wrong to fight, but Roaring Bill (who killed him) thought it right." - Hillaire Belloc, The Pacifist
 9 Emperordaein, Thu, 27th May '10 3:26:43 PM from Australia Relationship Status: Hugging my pillow
Praise the Sun!
I have noticed that this game does not seem to have it's own page. I can't really make it since my only knowledge of the game comes from this LP, so my opinion would be unfairly skewered. Also, there is very little mention of this LP on the Lets Play page. I added the entry on it, and the only thing on CMOF is my entry, which was "The entirity of Chapter 14" (That's a long way away, but suffice to say it may be the best part of the LP).

When we all see that mini game, you will know why it was put in the game.

This thred will be filled with cheesy Jack Slate one liners, Won't it?

edited 27th May '10 3:27:40 PM by Emperordaein

 10 Myrmidon, Thu, 27th May '10 3:32:50 PM from In Antartica
 11 Emperordaein, Thu, 27th May '10 3:53:51 PM from Australia Relationship Status: Hugging my pillow
Praise the Sun!
^Errrrr.....Ponicalica already provided a link. And I was talking about the TV Tropes page.
Are retsupuraes/ribeburogus forbidden on this forum?
 
Antiques collector
^You mean riffing on other people's liveblogs? If you want to do it go right ahead, but remember that any and all forum wars that erupt are entirely your fault.

I may watch this soon.
There will always be one MORE thing.
Chapter 2

Jack helpfully fills us in on Augie Blats, a Villain with Good Publicity by way of the occasional piece of philanthropic work funded by his criminal activities. Now he’s got a private room at a nightclub called The Den of Iniquity, so where else should we look?

Quite abruptly, Jack runs into Hildy, an employee of Frank’s who needed more money than he could pay so now she’s working as a stripper.

Hildy: You won’t tell him, will you? It’d probably kill him.

Jack: Don’t worry about it. He’s already dead.

He’s really broken up about this, isn’t he? Max Payne clearly felt the pain of his family’s death even through being in stoic denial mode for most of the game, so we were able to sympathize with him and want justice for that loss. But why should we care about the death of Jack’s father if he doesn’t? Hildy offers to “distract the bouncers” so Jack can get in.

And welcome to minigame purgatory. It’s not quite Sonic ‘06’s billiards puzzle but it’s still very painful. Slowbeef says that many reviews of the game praised its variety of minigames, then added that this was the one exception. I don’t know if I believe that as most of the minigames are pretty dull on their own, and it’s just that this one reaches an even deeper level of pain. This is the game, in its entirety: symbols of the buttons scroll by slowly across the bottom of the screen, and you have to hit each one once the symbol enters a box in the middle. This helps Hildy dance sensually enough to distract everyone, though I have no idea how.

Slowbeef also comments that the game being “sexy as hell” is its only reason for existing, and for me it doesn’t even have that going for it. I’m a straight male, but as I said in my review of Heavy Metal at the Agony Booth, animated nudity just does nothing for me. If someone is that desperate to see a nude woman they can just draw one themselves rather than paying for the privilege. The guys also tear into how the scene doesn’t even make sense in-universe. For one thing Jack spends most of it standing and watching (“This is the best idea I’ve ever had!”) and it’s also very unclear why this would distract the bouncers. Is Hildy really that much sexier than all the other dancers that they’d all ignore their jobs to watch her? And there’s not even any stripping involved; she comes out already down to her underwear and she’s still wearing it when the show is over. Finally, Jack kills so many other people in the game who are only tangentially involved with the bad guys that it’s pretty weird that he doesn’t just blast his way in. Definitely the low point of the game right here, and that’s really saying something. At least they hit it early.

Oh and by the way, it’s not demonstrated here and Slowbeef gives a joke answer when Diabetus asks so I’ll explain it: if you miss a button, Hildy gives an orgasmic moan. Seriously. That’s what makes her less enticing to the bouncers. I’m actually surprised Slowbeef didn’t show that off; it could only have made this funnier.

Finally it ends, but Jack’s still stymied by…a velvet rope. This level can officially not end soon enough. Jack can’t get onto the dance floor so he goes upstairs, with a gratuitous backwards jump back down them just to show off. Seeing the room full of people (apparently Hildy wasn’t much of a draw for them) he pulls the fire alarm (though first Slowbeef demonstrates that you can’t jump over the ropes either. “I just jumped right into it face first. That’s the problem.”)

And once everyone leaves, Hildy is captured by some random guy. Huh? Last we saw she was heading backstage, and now she’s on the dance floor still in her underwear? This is clearly all just about the skin, especially since the cutscene finishes with the guy letting her go as soon as Jack arrives. And like I said, it does nothing for me.

Jack: For god’s sake, put some clothes on.

Slowbeef: Yeah, woman. Then make me a sandwich!

Diabetus: Then take it up with City Hall.

That may just enter Memetic Mutation territory after this. More guys arrive and the fight is on, and for all the good that first level did in teaching you the game mechanics, it forgot about hand to hand combat so instead we just get a brief text box of the controls. This includes throwing, a textbook The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard as it’s tricky to pull off and does negligible damage, but does quite a bit more damage to you. Though I have managed to block it a couple times, so it’s not impossible like Slowbeef claims. He’s dead on about the fight engine’s primary problem, though: Jack zeroes in on one attacker at all times, leaving him wide open to the side and rear, and if the enemy AI was better and took more advantage of that, these fights would be damn near impossible. Plus, the enemy labels are now “supervisor” and “event staff, ” so once again this could be Jack just beating up innocent people trying to stop their club from being torn up.

After the Mooks go down, we get the boss, Boris. He has nothing to do with the story, and is clearly just here for the sake of having a boss. Jack even has to awkwardly fill in his backstory with the mid-fight banter, which is that Jack sent his brother to jail. Rather awesomely, this happens directly after Diabetus asks if we’re supposed to know what’s going on here. Slowbeef comments that it seems like many enemies don’t want the game Let’s Played, given how often they attack at bad angles. Not really sure I follow. He also takes the time to point out the adrenaline meter that powers bullet time, and also goes down when you block an attack. If you’re ripping off a primary game mechanic, why not go all the way?

Jack: Come on Boris, let’s see a little soft shoe.

Boris: (throws Jack)

Diabetus: Well done.

Slowbeef: That was a pretty ill-timed taunt.

But it’s not enough and Boris goes down. Jack takes his gun…wait, what? He had a gun the whole time? But it’s a good thing he did, as suddenly more enemies run in and now they have no problem shooting at Jack. “Now they all remember, oh yeah, we have guns.” We get a shotgun disarm (yeah, I just remembered the kind of gun also determines the disarm used) called the Peek-A-Boo, where Jack does a reverse headbutt to the guy’s jaw and then kneels down before shooting him in the face over his shoulder. “That’s a very innocent name for something so horrifically violent. Peek-a-boo, I’m gonna blow your head off.”

They finally get around to addressing how Jack might not really be in the right here, which gets Diabetus to bring up how during all this useless fighting he’s forgotten what Jack actually came here for. “He forgot all about his father. He just wanted to see a stripper dance.” Another disarm, which another enemy right next to them just watches. “Even that guy with the shotgun was like, ‘I want to see what he does here.’” Ammo starts getting scarce, which brings up the pretty annoying bug that when his gun runs out, Jack freezes in place in the “blocking” pose. “I can block punches. Bullets are like that, only smaller.” The fight ends when for some reason two random guys get their own entrance cutscene, and Jack actually parrots their own line “Take him down” before blowing them away.

New boss in Boris’ brother Dimitri. Is this the same guy Jack sent to jail, or a third brother? No one knows, and it has nothing to do with anything anyway. Just one more pointless boss. Thankfully, Slowbeef takes him down in seconds with an exploding canister followed by a bullet time dive, though the game targets a random enemy in the background briefly who’s out of range anyway (that’s what green crosshairs mean, by the way; I forget if Slowbeef ever explains that). This nets Jack an elevator card, as Diabetus is already starting to have trouble following the story. Hoo boy.

Upstairs, there’s a guy you’re meant to use as a shield but Slowbeef just demonstrates stealth kills, where Jack seems to break the guy’s spine with a single punch. “Ow, my sternum!” As he moves down the hallway, we get our first look at the game’s penchant for spawning enemies behind you, and this time is worse than most as they appear in a little corner that they could never have entered in the time they have. Little exchange about how the building above the Den of Iniquity is apparently offices before Slowbeef screws up a kill with a real time dive rather than bullet time. Though he does get a human shield out of it, so it’s like he’s making up for going off-script before. Plus, our best look yet at the rather…awkward human shield walking animation. That mook’s hips are swaying just a little too much there.

Another City Hall riff, then Jack enters Augie Blats’ office. He’s playing poker, though apparently with invisible cards. Was 4Kids involved with this level? Oh, but then there’s the real joy of this section: Roger Rose, who voices three equally funny characters in this game. The first is Blats, who he gives a terrible Christopher Walken impression. It’s so Narmy that both guys let out a little giggle despite their usual silence during cutscenes. Blats escapes while his men open fire, and Slowbeef brings up an article or something where the game’s creators said they just let Rose have fun. Diabetus lets out his own Walken impression that’s apparently something of a Running Gag of his; I haven’t watched enough of his stuff to really know.

The fight moves back into the club, where Slowbeef brings up the strangest thing about Blats: he only has two lines that he keeps repeating during this sequence (“Get the freak” and “Someone get this nutjob cop off my tail”) but Rose did several different deliveries of both, some if not all of which ended up in the game. My guess is they were trying to trick us into thinking the writing was a bit deeper. More shooting, then Jack has to hit a button and race over to the exit door before it locks again. Why a strip joint would be designed like this is anyone’s guess. And Slowbeef is eager to tell us that if you don’t make it, Jack repeats the same explanation every time you try, “like you’re retarded or something.”

Now we’re on the street for the first time, which is where the game starts to get hard. There’s a very low cover-to-space ratio, and the game constantly spawns enemies behind you. At least it’s plausible this time, though the guys who spawn on top of awnings, not so much. As well, every single time the game returns from a cutscene, the camera manages to be pointed the wrong way. Which is made even worse because in chase scenes like this there’s periodic shots of the guy you’re chasing just running away some more, for apparently no reason other than the Camera Screw.

“Where is this, by the way?” “Uh, Grant City.” “Where’s that?” “Grant City is in America.” “Just America?” “It used to be called Anytown USA, but they changed the name to Grant City.” Never change, guys. Slowbeef starts using Shadow, and with the novelty gone Diabetus notices how vicious he is. “Do you feed that dog?” “Well, no. That’s the whole trick, you see.” He also notes how that animation undermines some later scenes where we’re supposed to feel sympathy for Shadow, but I’m enough of a dog guy that they still work.

At 18:45, there’s a quite disturbing bit where the camera clips into Jack’s head and we see a reverse angle of his pissed-off face. The guys don’t comment on it, but Icerama108 kindly pointed it out on Viddler. Thanks for the nightmares. “I think I’ve discovered the subtitle for ‘’Dead to Rights’’: Never go to Chinatown for any reason.” Slowbeef messes with his head a bit after that by saying the game actually goes to China later. Um, not quite. I really don’t get why he said that; maybe he just forgot.

“Remember when I said I wasn’t going to abuse Shadow? I Lied. This is 80% Shadow.” By the time Jack reaches the end of the street and heads down an alley his health bar is almost empty, not helped at all by another cutscene Camera Screw made even worse by the narrow space. “If only you had a stripper to distract these guys.” Luckily, the game is nice enough to give you a health pack (which fills the bar up completely) at the end of the section.

Finally, Blats runs into a hotel and we’ve reached the last part of the level, fighting off the thugs in the lobby. Which Jack helpfully points out; seriously, how dumb does this game think we are? Slowbeef throws another canister, but says the move isn’t as useful as it looks as you’re left vulnerable to anyone attacking from another direction. I can definitely vouch for that. He also shoots one on the wall but points out that any time that happens it’s pure luck. More awkwardness ensues as the game seems to think this part is a lot harder than it is, and you’ll be stuck at the opposite end of the room from the enemy spawn point. This means a lot of tedious running up and fighting the guys, then running back so more will spawn. And apparently luggage carts are indestructible; good to know.

Jack gets in the elevator after killing everyone, but finds Blats gagged and tied to a chair. He’s then shot in some vague nonfatal area by Patch, a guy who looks like he’s straight out of a shounen anime. He’s got an eyepatch (his parents must have been psychic!), a red suit with cravat, and purple hair, plus a ridiculous looking gold gun. He also talks like Zhang He from Dynasty Warriors. Still, he’s not boring, I’ll give him that. He kills Blats with Jack’s gun and then puts his own in Blats’ hand (yeah, I’m sure it looks like something he’d use), and then informs Jack that his boss doesn’t want Jack dead. Apparently just because killing a cop would bring too much attention to them, never mind everything else that happened tonight. He also feels the need to confirm that Blats had nothing to do with this; look, this game is clearly for adults. I know the story is complicated but you don’t need to handhold us! Although it is nice to know this level was a complete waste of time for EVERYONE!

Gag credits that say Slowbeef played Jack and Diabetus played everyone else. I don’t really get the joke. They talk a bit about the nonsense of Patch’s reasoning for leaving Jack alive, but don’t mention that now he’ll have to take things up with City Hall himself.

edited 28th May '10 10:00:11 AM by Eegah

 
 15 Ponicalica, Fri, 28th May '10 10:32:06 AM from facing Buttercup
Oh and by the way, it’s not demonstrated here and Slowbeef gives a joke answer when Diabetus asks so I’ll explain it: if you miss a button, Hildy gives an orgasmic moan. Seriously. That’s what makes her less enticing to the bouncers. I’m actually surprised Slowbeef didn’t show that off; it could only have made this funnier.
...
 16 Myrmidon, Fri, 28th May '10 2:09:57 PM from In Antartica
The Ant King
animated nudity just does nothing for me
It does do something for me, but this mini-game doesn't. I think it's the dated graphics.

Also Patch is the greatest character in the history of video games, with the possible exception of Andrei Ulmeyda.
Kill all math nerds
What.

What the fuck is this shit?

I haven't seen the vids, but based on the talk in this thread it sounds like Max Payne with brain damage.

Does that sound about right?
 
 18 Emperordaein, Fri, 28th May '10 3:06:26 PM from Australia Relationship Status: Hugging my pillow
Praise the Sun!
^Although.......Here's the thing. This is spoilers though for later.

Patch is seemingly introduced as a primary antagonist early on, he is eventually given a character trait, and overall, he seems to be high up on the villain chain. Also he has a rad voice. (Although the Gold Gun was done much cooler with Dr Peace from No More Heroes) Now with all that in mind, fathom this:

He does not have a single line of dialogue after that cutscene.

Honestly, I find it hillarious that killing Walken (If you want to see more real Walken, look here) got Jack in prison, but the mass homicide did not. He gunned down, what? 80 people alone?

My favorite line from this Episode is Diabetus explanation of when the guards are distracted by the Stripper. "It's their first day. All of them"

—->Slowbeef: "Oh my god! This bar serves drinks!" —->Diabetus: "Oh my god! Those women take their clothes off!"

I actually like Hilde's voice actor. She actually seems to have emotions, and she doesn't seem to do that bad a job.

After the Mooks go down, we get the boss, Boris. He has nothing to do with the story, and is clearly just here for the sake of having a boss. Jack even has to awkwardly fill in his backstory with the mid-fight banter

The Dark Id of Lets Play Resident Evil fame referred to this as "Jack Krauser Syndrome" (Okay, not like that, but more or less).

Charlatan: Bingo.

We will also soon find out that Grant City has a shocking number of British immigrants.

edited 28th May '10 3:21:02 PM by Emperordaein

I haven't seen the vids, but based on the talk in this thread it sounds like Max Payne with brain damage.

Yeah, pretty much. It has some fun moments, though.
 
 20 Myrmidon, Fri, 28th May '10 7:45:13 PM from In Antartica
The Ant King
My theory about this game is that the developers just threw together some old character ideas, models, and levels from games that never got off the ground, and called it Dead To Rights. It explains how disjointed it is, and why so many characters seem like they walked in from different games.
Kill all math nerds
Chapter 3 Part 1

Here we get to the most inexplicable part of this LP: there are long and short versions of this video, and the short one is just the first half and a bit of change of the long one. It even cuts off Diabetus in mid-sentence. Seriously, what the hell? I think some Sanity Slippage may have been creeping in, between this and the China comment.

It’s now seven months later, and a helpful reporter fills us in that Grant City’s mayor, Pinnacle, has rushed Jack’s execution under protest from challenger Gloria Exner. Jack himself has apparently just been sitting on his ass this whole time, but tonight is his date with the chair. He chats with another prisoner known as Preacher, who Diabetus thinks is played by Erik King. He isn’t, though it does sound a lot like him. We learn some more names: Tattoo is planning a breakout for tonight, and Wire Boy claims to know a way to live through the chair. Some real hardened cons you got here. And we also meet Warden Sickle, a character who in his own way is just as ridiculous as Patch. They were clearly going for a Shawshank Redemption-esque corrupt warden with a grudge against the hero, but went way, way over the top with it. Sickle is literally a giggling, drooling psychopath who walks around in a Nazi uniform, and it’s completely ridiculous that he could become a prison warden.

The level begins, and you immediately just beat up a bunch of prisoners. No rhyme or reason, just pure fisticuffs. Here they’re separated into convicts and lifers; the latter don’t wear the orange shirt and have sunglasses. I have no explanation. Also, every time you enter a cell block the camera moves high overhead so that it almost feels like you’re playing a Game Boy, and fighting becomes a bit trickier. Thanks for the new way to Camera Screw, Namco. The guys do a whole skit based on the upbeat music from the news report, but I prefer Diabetus’ comment right afterwards on how the guards are doing nothing to stop the huge brawl. And somehow, it’s from one of the prisoners that you get an access card that lets you into the hallway. I get the feeling logic wasn’t a big sticking point for the writer here.

In the hall Jack comments that he put a good deal of these prisoners where they are. I guess the attempt to give some sense to this is nice. “So are you fighting your way to your execution? I’ve got an appointment with the chair!” “Get out of my way!” “I want to die!” We also hear a conversation that’s just a Kick the Dog for Sickle (not a literal one, though that’s coming) and the guys chat about just how stupid the character is.

Upon reaching the workshop, they’ve moved on to how this prison is like a hotel, with all the cell doors open and everyone just able to wander where they please. Jack needs a key to get in to see Wire Boy, so more fighting! “What did you do to provoke these guys?” “Well, I need a key.” “You told them sewing was for gays.” And may I add, we were never told to go here; Jack was simply railroaded to the workshop by his lack of other access cards. Pretty convenient.

Wire Boy turns out to be a nerdy yet arrogant guy who would in all likelihood get shanked on his first day. His big plan is simply to put battery acid on the chair’s conduits, which will actually shut down the whole building’s power for a bit because the chair is so old. Or something like that. The important part is that he’ll only hand the acid over for 25 packs of cigarettes and advises Jack to start with the gym.

Yeah, this is where the game came closest to losing me. They were doing more good than bad before now. Level one gives a nice overview of the various gimmicks without being too hard, and level two, stripping game aside, is a fun bit of cheap excitement as you try out those techniques in a variety of areas. Then it ends with a hint that the game’s story is more complex than Max Payne’s very simple revenge plot, and ideally the player should now be burning to get out of jail, find out what’s really going on, and bring sweet justice to those responsible. And yet we now have to waste all this time on an inane Fetch Quest for cigarettes. It’s like they were actually trying to completely kill the mood.

On the way into the gym, Jack passes a “Johnny Irish stereotype cop” who figures he wants to leave a good-looking corpse. Are we watching North all of a sudden?

Jack: These guys are the perfect picture of good health.

Slowbeef: Who are you even cracking wise to?

So despite that insulting line telling us to go to the gym, only three packs of the 25 can be collected here. The first comes from a guy named Stinger who teaches you how to resist being thrown. So I was wrong; it actually is impossible in level two. Rather oddly, you have to completely beat him up rather than just break his grip a certain number of times. Diabetus now notices the cigarette counter, which “looks like an Interstate road sign.” Eh, kind of a stretch. They also have time to go over How We Got Here: “Why do you need to cause a prison blackout when it’s not staffed?”

Next up is the speed bag, and beating the record of a bald guy with a Cockney accent. Diabetus makes another stretch by calling him Jason Statham despite the voice sounding nothing like Statham’s. This time you have to tap buttons in different rhythms, scoring 151 hits within two minutes. It’s a little harder than these things usually are as there’s no music, meaning you’re completely on your own to keep the rhythm and adapt to new ones. The guys are soon reduced to a bunch of sarcastic remarks about how exciting this is, before Jack’s last hit is given the What Do You Mean, It's Not Awesome? treatment. Sorry, but hits on a speed bag just cannot look strong as well.

Finally, there’s lifting a barbell, hosted by a guy who’s German…Hungarian…I really have no idea. “This prison is an ethnic melting pot!” This one’s a little more complicated: you have to push one button enough to keep a line in a small area in the middle of one bar long enough for another bar to fill up, which is when you quickly push another button to lift the weights. There’s three levels of weight that each have three stages, and the line on the first bar goes down more quickly the more weight there is. Now this is one that I actually like; it’s decently challenging and has a complexity that keeps it from getting boring but still is easy to grasp once you start playing. The one weird part even has nothing to do with the game itself: the actual weights don’t look nearly as heavy as we’re told, and consequently Jack having so much trouble with them makes him look like a wimp.

Plenty of fun with that fact: “I hit a bag 151 times, I got to level 4!” Then they’re done, with 22 more packs to get. Yeah, that tip really paid off. “Three is kind of like 25, so let’s see if that’s enough.” “Is this enough to get you executed?” Slowbeef briefly gets lost, which he actually doesn’t have nearly as much of a problem with as I did. Everything looks the same in this level (which I know makes sense, but why start now?) and it’s way too big for this part of the story as I said before.

Jack is met by the Tobias Beecher of the prison, who offers Jack another pack to beat up a guy named Mad Dog who’s been threatening him. Wow, a whole other pack? This gets him a new access card, plus a warning that Mad Dog is “one big-ass slice of pie.” Yes, that’s how prisoners talk. “Jack, have you ever heard of haggling? Trying to get more than one pack of cigarettes?” You can really feel the pain in Diabetus’ voice there, realizing how much more of this he’s in for.

More fighting, which actually gives them a bit of Fridge Brilliance: how would you feel about Jack Slate after being locked up with him for seven months, listening to him try to be witty? Another conversation about a prisoner who’s offering cigarettes for beating him at arm wrestling. Foreshadowing! But that’s forgotten when an enemy just starts walking away in the middle of a fight. “I think I’ve made my point.”

It’s cell block B, which means more fighting with that stupid overhead angle. Though now some of the enemies drop cigarette packs, so the Fetch Quest isn’t quite as bad as it seemed until now. Though the guys note that things will improve once Jack’s prowess on the speed bag gets around. Slowbeef gets into how the AI will forget about you if you go upstairs or to the far side of the room; yeah, I had a lot of fun with that one. Then Mad Dog comes down, and we find that Tobias Beecher’s real name is Timmy. “Answer me this: if you were in prison would you ever go by Timmy?” “Not unless I was really gay.” More whiny sketch about Timmy, to cover how this is just a normal fight that just takes a bit longer. And Timmy’s response: “I owe you one, Jack. Word.” Understandably, this is another time they can’t resist laughing during a cutscene.

Seems the prison doesn’t need guards as first aid kits are in most of the cells, and there’s those unpassable cordons around the whole place. That’s the kind of stuff they have to talk about, as the game now makes you walk all the way back to get to C block, with the card Mad Dog dropped. Did the writer just not understand how prisons work? “Automatic doors too.” “Prison inmate, let me through.” More hallway fighting, where Slowbeef notices the lifers’ sunglasses for the first time. Always fun when that happens. Followed by the worst Exact Eavesdropping yet involving a guard whose picture of his ugly girlfriend has been stolen. Komedy!

In the cell block, Jack has to clear everyone out so that arm wrestler from before will talk to him. You mean there’s actually a reason for fighting the whole room this time? This game has some odd ideas of when explanations are necessary. Plus, Camera Screw that gets you walking right back out of the room, but goes unnoticed. Troperrific conversation about how this could be considered a puzzle, and these little detours aren’t even Fetch Quests, but “a World of Warcraft quest within another World of Warcraft quest.” Never played the game, so I have no idea what that means. It’s also the action game equivalent of Forced Level Grinding, a statement I can definitely get behind. At one point Jack hits the space shared by two enemies’ hit boxes and knocks them both down: “That rarely happens, but it’s good when it does.” Definitely. Jack is almost dead by the end of the fight, and apparently Slowbeef decided to make it more exciting by not getting those med kits in the cells.

Now, arm wrestling! It’s almost the same game as the barbell with the bars tilted 90 degrees, but with the added challenge of an occasional move from your opponent knocking the line a bit to the side. Again, pretty fun game, though it makes a bit less sense here. Shouldn’t this work as the more you push, the better? Then that guard mentioned before shows up, and gives Jack the next access card to get his picture back. Again, the game picks a pretty weird time to start making sense. “A prisoner’s bullying me! I don’t know what to do!” “He’s down with Wire Boy and Timmy.” “He saved Timmy? Word!”

There’s a couple med kits that for some reason only fill the health bar a little more than halfway. That’s another thing that could have been touched up: there’s different kinds of health restoring items, but they all look the same. The usual hallway fighting in Cell Block D that doesn’t even get you any more packs, plus the guards don’t even talk anymore. “They figured no one would play this far anyway.” “Just make the rest of the level the stripper game.” Slowbeef does acknowledge that he was pretty stupid to not fill up his health before this.

Cell Block D, so more overhead fighting with the added twist that you’re stuck on the ground floor, which limits how many med kits you can run to. “The best part is later, Timmy comes to cheer you on.” One of the enemies says “Impress me, hero” which Diabetus repeats with a lisp. Oh, how many times are you going to go to that well? This is also where that number of level designers comes in, as apparently one of them decided to put a pair of desks at the rear wall for no reason. Kind of a weak payoff there; I prefer to think he was foreshadowing the Obvious Beta of level 14. Patience, we’ll get there. Oh, and one of the guys Jack beats up apparently pees blood, which somehow goes unnoticed (though not by the Viddler commenters).

Weird little cutscene of the guard walking down the stairs once you defeat everyone, which opens up the upper level. “He just looks at all the bodies and says ‘Well, my shift’s over.’” The picture is up there, but once you grab it the thief returns with two buddies. So another perfunctory boss fight, though at least this one’s a bit more earned than the others. Slowbeef tries to talk with a straight face about how much strategy this requires before he cracks and says it’s just another regular fight against a guy with higher defense than normal. “Can you arm wrestle him to death?” “You have to punch a small bag into his face.” He also finally notes the awkward overhead camera angle, when he briefly gets stuck fighting under the catwalk so he can’t see a thing. And quite understandably, now that they’re almost done getting cigarettes, Diabetus needs to be reminded what they’re for.

So with the picture in hand, the game once again makes you walk all the way back to hand it over. “The guard there is like, ‘great fight, Jack.’” “Oh, is it Tuesday again?” They’re forced to fill the time with more cracks about the lack of guards; luckily, none of the other levels have so much downtime so the commentary will soon get better again. The picture gets Jack his last pack, though he can’t resist calling the woman a pachyderm. “He couldn’t even think of anything funny to say there. He’s just like, ‘Oh, she’s fat.’” Then an abrupt end to the video, thanks to how ungodly long this level is. Next time: the breakout, after which things thankfully get a little more fun again.

edited 30th May '10 1:52:43 PM by Eegah

 
 22 Myrmidon, Sun, 30th May '10 2:23:37 PM from In Antartica
The Ant King
I'm having Hard Time flashbacks. It is not a pleasant experience.
Kill all math nerds
Chapter 3 Part 2

“Where’s he holding 25 packs of cigarettes?” “I don’t think I want to know.” “The one place I knew they wouldn’t look.” Hey, you knew that joke had to happen sometime. Perfunctory scene with Wire Boy where Jack gets the acid, then is told Tattoo, the prisoner with the escape plan, is probably in the showers. So of course, he phrases it “I’ve got to see Tattoo in the showers.” Honestly, they couldn’t have come up with a name that didn’t make that sentence sound dirty? “That’s excellent advice for any prison, go check out the showers.”

Outside the workshop, Jack hears Shadow barking, and for once the game doesn’t make you walk all the way. Cut to Sickle harassing Shadow in what I can only guess in the prison’s kennel. Yeah, seems a lot of these prisoners have dogs and they’ve all been locked up too. Even considering everything else we’ve seen of this place, that is a little ridiculous. So Sickle’s just another standard boss, though he does block more than usual. Slowbeef points out how besides Shadow, the dogs look like statues with no animation. He claims to see one move, but I can’t see it. “Maybe it’s not a kennel, it’s a taxidermy place.” Then one of Slowbeef’s best lines: “I just like to pretend in this scene I’m beating up Kung Fu Hitler.” “Sickle heil!”

“Tattoo’s made the showers his office. I hope there’s no strict dress code.” “David Caruso, he is not.” And this time you’re once again forced to make your own way there, so they just consider Jack’s outfit for a bit (no orange shirt, but no sunglasses either). Man, I’m looking forward to levels without so much down time.

Tattoo’s meeting with two guys in the shower, and here’s another role for Roger Rose, this time with a high pitched voice that kind of sounds like a raspier Michael Rooker. Jack chastises them for talking about the escape so loudly (he really has a point there), to which Tattoo makes a cops and donuts joke. Hey, the best way to make your hero sound witty is to have other people make even worse jokes, right? Jack wants Tattoo’s map, which means another boss fight. This one does have an extra gimmick, though it’s really not a good one: Jack decides the other two guys are a waste of time, which somehow gives them infinite health bars. And apparently the designers realized how hard this would make things, as there’s two full health packs in the room. “I’d like to point out, three boss fights in a row?” And that hit box trick from before shows up in extended form here, though Diabetus is too busy talking about the HoYay to notice for a while. “And the third guy is just kind of watching, amazed.” “I don’t want to disrupt the rhythm they’ve got going.”

After the fight, Tattoo’s big comeback is “Screw you!” Yeah, he’s definitely making Jack look witty now. The guards arrive and Jack runs back to his cell. “Oh, you have one of those?” Waiting for him is Kip Waterman, the same reporter from the radio (and apparently the only one in town, as will become clear later) who Jack uses to avoid another run-in with Sickle. Sickle’s response: “Son of a!” And honestly, what’s the point of worrying about adult content now?

Jack studies the map and burns it, then it’s on to the chair. It’s actually a pretty clever escape: Preacher shakes his Bible, which drops a razor blade hidden in the spine into Jack’s hand, then gets the acid onto the conduit in the guise of sprinkling holy water. Though I do imagine I’d be a little nervous trusting in his aim for that second one. Jack promises to come back to get Preacher out (though, well, you’ll see) and we get a look at Pinnacle: a fat guy in a pinstripe suit who’s constantly waving a cigar around. Hey, why be subtle now? Sickle comments “When you get to Hell, mention my name. You’ll get a discount.” Um, what? Oh, and we hear the name Dick Hennesy, a police captain. He was the guy Jack talked to at the end of level one, but we don’t get a look at him here so we still don’t know who the guy is. Again, remember that. Sickle pulls the switch, and Jack escapes. But before leaving he sticks Sickle in the chair, so he’s killed when the power comes back on. So there you have what I’m sure is the real reason for Sickle’s characterization: they came up with something badass for Jack to do, but knew the audience wouldn’t go for it unless it was done to an obvious Complete Monster. Sense be damned, we really needed this scene!

On the way to the showers, you have to evade a bunch of cops, and it’s game over if you empty any health bars. Not that the game bothers to tell you this. And Slowbeef left one instance of this in the final video just for the surprise value: “Killing the warden, that’s okay. Beating up a prison guard is game over.” Next is a funny moment where Jack gets the key he needs from an office, then the guard inside throws him toward the exit. After that, it’s just more dull hallway fighting, which is even longer than it has to be as Slowbeef screwed up the controls a couple times. They bring up how there’s suddenly a lot more guards taking notice of you, and “Who just let him grab the giant key?” Then: “Are you sure you don’t need to go back to the gym and get a little stronger before you’re ready for this next part?” “You’re gonna need 20 cigarettes to use this exit.” Oh, don’t even joke about that.

On to the sewer, where it turns out Jack’s memory of the map is photo perfect. It’s stuck in the corner, and you follow the dotted line. No challenge to it at all, but I give it a pass since this is actually building up to something. Another disarm, where Jack spins around the guy, elbows him in the head to bring him to his knees, and shoots him in the head without looking. We don’t learn the name, unfortunately. “Wow, as morbid as it sounds, I kind of missed that.” God, me too. Some mockery of the huge number of prisoners with guns down here: “You guys want to hang out in the escape route, maybe go to the firing range?” Slowbeef again insists that the game gets better, if not any saner. Diabetus brings up the Fridge Logic of leaving Shadow behind, though as we’ll see it doesn’t really matter.

Out of the sewer, and into…a mine shaft! Not technically a sewer level, but the same spirit. Though believe it or not the existence of this mine will actually be important. And just like Max Payne, they make the mistake of including platforming sections of walking across narrow boards. Jack’s speed, to quote the Sonic ’06 LP, has two levels, yes and no, and there’s also the Camera Screw of always pointing straight down the tunnel when the boards are always at an angle. Plus, a lot of them are hidden around corners. Thank you, eleven level designers.

Though there is one good aspect to this: some sections of the planned escape route have caved in, forcing you to go down another path while keeping your location in mind to try to return to the path later on. A pretty good puzzle element that even builds well, starting with a very simple detour that takes you right back to the route after a couple turns, then getting more complicated from there. “I wouldn’t say ‘C’mere coward’ to a guy who’s armed.” “And who can go super fast in time.” “And who can get to speed level 4.” “That is the most impressive thing.” We reach explosive barrels which Slowbeef says “take like 80 shots to blow up.” Um, he’s exaggerating just a bit there. By now I’m convinced that he’s just deliberately screwing with newbie Diabetus for no reason.

Wall mode time, as Jack has to edge along a tiny path on the side of a bottomless pit. And it’s way, way too long considering there’s no skill involved at all; the wall mode is automatic as long as you don’t press the joystick 90 degrees away from it. “Oh god, I hope I don’t fall ‘cause I’m just holding right!” Slowbeef brings up how the game has a prequel (which was nevertheless called Dead to Rights 2) and then that one had a prequel. I haven’t played either, but apparently one of them features Jack making a Dynamic Entry and then saying “I’m Jack Slate, bitch!” Please tell me Vinnie Jones did the voice.

A couple extra puzzles: non-functioning fans that Jack has to jump through, which can be a bit tricky with their small openings compared to how wild his jumps are, and one extra long pit that requires him to change direction halfway through…while people are shooting at him. This one really got me cursing Namco; these kinds of games should not be platformers! “I like how they have convicts guarding certain areas of the escape route.” Exploding barrels, which seem to take five hits or so to go off, so they’re about comparable to the drums from Goldeneye. Much weaker explosions though, which Slowbeef takes care to point out. But this section does add one final great challenge to the escape route puzzle, where you briefly have to go backwards along a part of the route that’s closed off from both sides.

The end of the tunnel puts you up against eight enemies, which is pretty lame as you can kill almost all of them with a single bullet time dive. Then lock picking with a 30 second time limit, where one of Slowbeef’s misses points out how unforgiving this minigame can be. Once he’s done, Tattoo has somehow made it all the way here without his map, so Jack locks the gate again. And again, the best Tattoo can come up with is “Screw you” as the guards beat him up mercilessly. Ah, Grant City is in Arizona! And of course they completely ignore the very slowly getting away Jack.

And now a cutscene that definitely could have been directed better. It’s supposed to show a guy in a car trying to run Jack over once he gets to the surface, but instead it’s Jack running right in front of the car and then just standing there like a deer until Shadow knocks him out of the way. How did Shadow get out? It’s best not to think about these things. The guy crashes into a tree for no apparent reason, so Jack snatches his wallet and drives off in the car. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen. Honestly, the first time I saw this I was completely convinced that Jack had just murdered an innocent man for his car. From the license, the guy’s name is Marvin Silt, and the narration also lets us know what we were supposed to be seeing. Well, that’s a load off my mind.

Jack knows the cops will be watching his apartment, so he goes to Blats’ place. You know, the place where he was arrested? Yeah, they’ll never think to look there once he doesn’t show up at home. Apparently Chinatown is the best place to get guns and information “more or less in that order, ” so here comes the next level.

The credits gag is melee combos which are all the same, one of which is Timmy’s Move of Doom. Slowbeef does a bit of Foreshadowing on how the game will eventually have Jack chasing after Marvin Silt. Yes, the guy he just had completely at his mercy. Would it really have cost that much more time to put the unconscious guy back in the car? And once more Slowbeef declares that the game really does get better now. “Level three’s kind of the low point. Okay, the stripper part’s the low point. That’s the bottom of the barrel.” And Diabetus demands 25 cigarettes before he continues watching. At least that’s just a couple packs.

edited 31st May '10 7:37:41 PM by Eegah

 
 24 Emperordaein, Tue, 1st Jun '10 2:11:35 PM from Australia Relationship Status: Hugging my pillow
Praise the Sun!
Yeah......Suffice to say that Preacher Garcian Smith will not be making much impact on the next course of events.

Anyway, it's time for Jack SHRATE to go to Chinatown!
 25 Myrmidon, Tue, 1st Jun '10 2:54:31 PM from In Antartica
The Ant King

4:30. And everything else.
Kill all math nerds
Total posts: 57
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