Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

kiss kis bang bang

kiss kis bang bagn

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a dark comedy with a strong noir edge mystery about a murderer being pursued by a gay private investigator, a thief mistaken as an actor and his childhood love interest.

Though this movie may be enjoyable to the casual movie going audience, it is especially appealing to those well versed in the medium of film. Film buffs will find great pleasure in this film as it takes the conventions you’ve come to expect and twists them around to great comedic effect. “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” follows a somewhat generic murder mystery plot, but infuses it with genre defying dark comedy at crucial moments to steer the film into unexpected territory with the comedy forming to the point of perfection and hitting its mark every time.

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While the comedy and some of the direction/cinematography stop “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” from being a true hard boiled noir, all the style is still there. The film has a great grasp of the noir style, with a lot of darkly lit sets, many washed over with heavy color as many neo-noirs do.

The music is also excellently noir and it is impressive how the often serious music manages to avoid clashing with the comedic moments that occur simultaneously. The music is all great and genre fitting, until the end credits where they used a horribly unfitting song. I’m one to usually read through the credits of a film if I like it, and the music choice stopped me from doing so. This isn’t a bad mark on the film itself, just a poor decision from the soundtrack department which up until that point had been so great.

The two leads are great. Robert Downey Jr. as Harry Lockhart and Val Kilmer as Gay Perry are both terrific. Each character is well formed, and though the characters never take on the buddy cop formula, they do have good back and forth on screen chemistry which makes the comedy work that much better. The excellent comedic writing is pulled off flawlessly by these two leads. The female lead, Harmony Lane played by Michelle Monaghan, is a different story. The threeactress did a fine job, but the writing of the character does not work to the film’s benefit . The only aspect of the film that didn’t work to me was the romance between Harry Lockhart and Harmony Lane. I really can’t see why she is worth all the trouble or why Harry would even want to be with her, she’s honestly quite a whore.

The film has one of the absolute best narrations of all time from Robert Downey Jr. as his character tells the story while having quite a bit of difficulty. He goes back to parts he forgot, criticizes scenes and gets off topic. All to excellent comedic effect. The film is very self aware which works in its favor and gives a feeling of true originality to the film.

The clever, tightly written script is the main reason to watch the film. “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” is hilarious but also manages to be very cool and stylish with a nice noir tone and even managing to have a pretty damn cool final shootout.
one

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” is a fantastic film. I highly recommend it to all fans of cinema. Anyone looking for a neo-noir, a comedy or even a low octane action film will likely find a good time wrapped up within “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”, it can even work as an alternative Christmas film like “Die Hard” or “In Bruges“.

 

Movie Recommendation of the Week #9

point blank poster

The premise of Point Blank isn’t anything terribly original. A man’s wife gets kidnapped and now he’s trying to get her back. While the film isn’t wholly inventive, it is executed well.

Be aware that this is more of a soft recommendation than usual. Point blank isn’t great or even very memorable, but it is an entertaining french action thriller, that most people probably haven’t seen.

This is not something that you need to go out of your way to watch. It is currently on Netflix, or if you happen across it, then give it a watch. Point Blank is a harmless entertaining movie, and sometimes that’s all you want.

Clone Hunt Level 1

clone hunt title card

This is a quick little action video done to test out some new editing moves. Check it out, if you want a Clone Hunt level 2 leave a comment saying so.

Scavenging trailer

Scavenging

Check out this trailer for my upcoming series:

Scavenging is a post-apocalyptic show starring Adam Cassie and Andrew Fortier and was written and directed by myself. The first episode will be released on the Brickwall Productions youtube page: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpp5qug5n5UuhHyXd782sQg?feature=watch

Subscribe to the channel to be notified when the first episode is released in the near future.

Macabre Month of Horror #20 F.E.A.R 3

fear 3

fear 3F.E.A.R 3 was a disappointment. It’s not a terrible game but it certainly didn’t live up to the expectations set by the previous games. The other two fear games are much better. They are scarier and just have all around better quality. I was looking forward to the addition of split screen co-op. The co-op is okay. But it isn’t very much fun playing as fettel. Until you take over a body that is, then he is the same as point man, minus the slo-mo.

The first F.E.A.R game was done by Monolith and Sierra. The second F.E.A.R game still had Monolith, but introduced Warner Brothers for some added polish and a higher budget. The third F.E.A.R game is just Warner Brothers. This is where I think the problem comes from. Without Monolith there was no real passion involved in this project. It just feels a bit lazy and lacking genuine effort. Warner Brothers does not understand how to do horror.

The other 2 F.E.A.R games managed to be scary, this 3rd doesn’t even try to be scary. Instead it focuses on being an action game. The game so rarely even attempts to be scary, and when it does, it fails pretty badly. There are a few cool moments, but for the most part the horror is pretty slim pickens.

The action can be fun, but it shouldn’t be the only passable aspect of the game. The shooting is good and can be a good deal of fun, but surprisingly even the shooting feels worse than in F.E.A.R 2. It’s not as finely tuned or polished.

The entire game actually feels unpolished. The graphics have moved a step backwards which there is no excuse for. All the colors look flat and all the textures look terrible. The visual effects are of lower quality as well. It just looks cheap. This game is also far less gory than it’s predecessors. Actually, that’s not quite true. it tries to be just as gory, but again the effect is cheapened and it does not look good at all.fettell

when you die you are immediately given the menu where you can retry from. The problem is, sometimes you randomly die in this game, and the menu pops up before you even realize you’re dead, and you end up hitting quite game, or restart mission like an idiot. it is rage inducing. The menu is way too sensitive. if you just try to select retry, you’ll probably end up bouncing off the selection down to restart. the menu is way too sensitive to the point of being faulty.

The game has this built in challenge system. you get points and level up from meeting these challenges. some of the challenges are: kill a certain # of enemies with a particular gun, kill from cover a few times, use a hell of a lot of slo-mo, kill without getting hurt, etc. etc. at first you might find these challenges cool little things to do, but I think that they take away from the game. when you are so concerned with meeting these challenges you get distracted or do stupid things to try and complete the challenges, leading to much frustration. It takes you out of the experience of the game and is an unnecessary distraction.

There are some really bad checkpoint placements. Dying can send you back incredibly far or actually jump you ahead other times.

The weapons are a weird sort in this game. The shotgun this time around is terrible. It was awesome in the first game, a little worse in the second game and pathetic in the third one. The pistol is better than in the second game, but you still can’t dual wield them which doesn’t make sense since f3ar shotgunyou are now playing as the same character from the first game. The awesome Hammerhead from the second game has been replaced by the much less interesting HV Penetrator. Each game has a different main submachine gun. It’s weird that the weapon selection completely changes from game to another.

The horror element of the game is just not here. It almost seems as though they forgot they were making a fear game. The story in this game is not good. It’s very convoluted and rather stupid. The second game left off with a promising premise for the next game. Alma is now pregnant, ready to have a demon baby. Too bad the 3rd game squanders that premise. The big payoff for her pregnancy is a hilariously lame boss fight at the end of the game that feels like it’s out of a cartoony platformer that just has a bunch of filters over it. Speaking of filters, they get ridiculous in this game. It’s as if the makers thought that if the screen is flashing or changing colors or pulsating than the gamers will be scared, but that is not the case.

in the cutscenes Fettel is completely invincible and just sort of teleports from place to place. Too bad he sucks when you actually play as him and can’t do any of the things from the cutscenes.

There are some strange glitches in the game. They show up more frequently when playing the split screen. Glitches such as your character deciding to walk incredibly slow, or that he doesn’t want to raise his gun, or he just doesn’t feel like climbing a ladder. These glitches are incredibly annoying and some, such as the ladder, glitch were only resolved by restarting the level, only to have the same glitch happen on the next ladder.

F.E.A.R 3 was not a worthy successor to the previous games. It’s not a terrible game but it doesn’t live up to expectations. I would like to the series get another shot though. I think they could bring it back to glory with another shot, if maybe Monolith comes back or we get a new studio involved.

Macabre Month of Horror #19 F.E.A.R 2

fear 2

fear 2 pooster

F.E.A.R 2 begins a short bit before the end of the first F.E.A.R game, however you play as a different character in a different location. Monolith still had a large part with making the game but now there is the addition of Warner Brothers.

Monolith still handles the horror elements which are in top form and Warner Brothers throws in some cash which makes the game much more polished than the first one was. The shooting is more modern and finely tuned. I loved the shooting in the first game after I got used to it, but the shooting is very good in the second game as well, but they are entirely different.

FPS fearThe first game had a lot of cramped corridors and droning offices but there were only a few locations and that meant you were looking at the same decor and art design throughout most of the game. Visually the game got a bit repetitive and stale.

They improved this greatly for the sequel. F.E.A.R 2 has a much higher quantity of settings as well as having more color and stronger more polished visuals which make the presentation of the game much stronger.

The horror works very well. There are some ineffective bits and relies on jump scares a bit too often, but there are still of creative, original, and ingenious scare tactics used to creep out any gamer. Alma is in full creepy mode, and though her transformation in the first game may have been a highlight, her figure in F.E.A.R 2 is creepy in it’s own right.

fear 2

The shooting is a great deal of fun. Once again the shooting takes some of the tension out of the moment and you feel safe from Alma when under fire, so the integration could still be improved upon.

F.E.A.R 2 is even gorier than the first game. You can shoot a guy with a shotgun and watch him completely explode leaving nothing behind save for bloody smears on the walls and ceiling. You can blow a guy in half at the waist and watch his upper half flail around in agony. You can blast a guy’s shoulder off and admire the gruesome ribs sticking out from the side of his chest. It’s a bloody good time. There is a wider variety of guns this time. Some useful and some not so much. The guns range from being awesome and cool, like the hammerhead which can pin people to walls, to being completely lame and not fun to use, like the napalm cannon.

There are some interesting set pieces in F.E.A.R 2. There are segments when you hop inside a battlemech type thing and fire machine guns and rockets. These parts feel out of place like they belong in a different game. At any rate they are not much fun and only manage to take you out of the experience. At times the action overall feels as if it’s on too grand a scale for a horror game, but the shooting is usually fun so I digress.

fear alma

*SPOILERS* The game ends with one of the downright creepiest game plot developments ever. Your character gets strapped to a chair and raped by Alma. That is pretty messed up, and disturbing to be sure, and further more she get’s pregnant, setting a wonderful stage for a sequel. *END SPOILERS*

F.E.A.R. 2 was a great follow up to the first game and furthered the cannon of the series. It was another great game being added to the eventual trilogy. Check back tomorrow to see if the 3rd could complete an entirely worthwhile trilogy.

CLICK HERE to order F.E.A.R. 2

Macabre Month of Horror movie review #16 Manhunt

manhunt Macabre Month of Horror video review

manhuntManhunt came out in 2003 for the PS2. It was a highly controversial game that got banned in a number of countries. The game is considered highly controversial due to its brutally violent style, but the violence is not totally unwarranted. It’s easy to say that the violence is the whole point of the game, but it can also be thought of as a comment on modern society.

The story of the game has a convict, James Earl Cash (which is an awesome name if I’ve ever heard one) who was supposed to be executed, but instead was put into a snuff film directed by the deranged Lionel Starkweather who is expertly voice acted by Brian Cox. Brian Cox played Hannibal Lecter in Manhunter (Manhunt and Manhunter are completely unrelated) so now everytime I play Manhunt I can’t shake the feeling that it’s Hannibal Lecter telling me to kill all these people. Lecter just set up this big elaborate snuff film for a laugh.

Starkweather talks to you throughout the game over an earpiece. He orchestrates the whole ordeal and encourages you to kill people in the most violent way possible for the sake of his snuff film. That says something about society, the fact that there is an audience for these films who are getting off to all the violence. The game is hinting at our own society that we all have a violent nature and just need to unleash it. The executions in the game have 3 tiers. each successive tier being more brutal, bloody, and violent. The higher the tier the harder it is to pull off. Think about it, Players are rewarded with gorier kills, and it’s strangely compelling to get the most violent kill possible. A quick tap of the button results in a quick, not so gory kill, but take your time and charge it up and you get to the gory stuff. The game makes you work for it. There’s something profound to be had there.

manhunt bagLet me just say right now: Violent video games do NOT create violent people. If a guy goes out a kills someone after playing a game, he didn’t do it because of the game (or movie, two sides of the same coin) he would’ve done it anyway. If anything, violent games and movies provide an outlet to let your rage into, possibly acting as a violence impediment. I like to compare Manhunt to the final scene of Scarface. Try watching the end of “Scarface” when you’re angry. Watching Tony Montana go berserk and massacre all those f*cking cockaroaches while screaming and swearing is like watching all your inner rage melt onto the screen. The same idea can be applied to Manhunt. It’s a good stress reliever, if you’re angry go choke out a manhunt character with a plastic bag and break their neck, then you’ll feel all better.

The music is good in Manhunt. It’s subtle but effective. Right from the very opening the music sounds like it could have been composed by John Carpenter or maybe even Clint Mansell (only in the first scene for Mansell).

The game has heavy elements of stealth and some action aspects, but retains it’s grounding in horror. A realistic, dark and dirty, horror. It works because murders like this could actually happen, not on such a scale but I digress. It effectively creates a sense of dread. A fear of what’s ahead. The graphics are dark, dirty, and outdated, but that doesn’t hurt the game, in fact it works to make you perhaps even more uncomfortable. It can be absolutely terrifying getting chased by a baseball bat toting white trash psycho through a junkyard.

The game’s fighting mechanics are intentionally ineffective. If you try to go up against 2 guys you’ll almost certainly die. If you go up against just one guy there’s still a pretty good chance you’re not walking away from it. This forces you to stick to the shadows and stalk your enemies. Getting spottedmanhunt baddie sends you in a mad dash for safety, and sometimes that safety isn’t there. The brilliant banter and raving from the enemies makes for a harrowing experience. Each gang has their own personality and they are well designed and have a lot of detail. The game is made by Rockstar and they always put in a lot of effort.

There are some twisted moments in the story of Manhunt. A particular level has you roaming around a zoo, when you find out that your family has been kidnapped by the psychos and each have been tied to a cross, ready to be executed. If you get spotted, they kill your family. That is a tremendous motivation to do well and *SPOILER ALERT* They die anyway later on. That is dark and twisted and gives you a real reason to hate Starkweather if you didn’t already. *END SPOILER*

You can hide bodies, but I always preferred to leave them out for their buddies to find as an intimidation tactic.

The gameplay is very good. The dark and intense atmosphere is fun to roam through and they change up the locations often enough to stop things from getting stale. The enemies despicable personality makes killing them a treat. It can be real gratifying to bash their heads in, especially the white trash bigots. Caving their heads in with a metal manhunt gunbaseball bat is extremely satisfying. Late in the game guns are introduced. They use a lock on system which is terrible in most games, but it actually works really well in Manhunt.

Towards the end of the game you run into Pigsy: a mentally retarded man in a pig mask who escapes from Starkweathers attic and wreaks havoc with a chainsaw. The build up to you having to fight pigsy is intense. You really dread having to come face to face with him and when you finally do… woah baby

The boss fight against Pigsy is one of the most absolutely terrifying segments in any video games ever made. Top ten at least. Probably top five. It’s intense. Try him on hardcore mode and you’ll be quivering in the dark afraid to move.

You fight pigsy in this apartment type place with the walls all caved in. It creates a labyrinth for you to run around in. You hear his chainsaw approaching and can’t tell which direction it’s coming from, if you do get spotted by Pigsy, it results in a horrifying dash for safety that is very hard to escape from. His terrifying squeal and the putter of his chainsaw chase you down the empty halls, you hope you can outrun him and find a shadow to hide in. This boss fight is incredible. It’s truly terrifying.

Manhunt is a very good game. It’s actually one of my favorites on the PS2. I like it so much that I actually bought the sequel on release day. Manhunt 2 is the only game I have ever purchased on release day.

Manhunt 2 keeps the horror flowing strong. It introduces some new aspects to the horror. There are two major ones. The first being that your character begins the game by escaping from a mental institution in a pretty horrific sequence. Your character being completely insane leads to some interesting moments regarding the pickman project and whatnot. It also leads to a very cliche plot twist, but i thought the story was rather interesting.

The 2nd development is that they have ramped up the sexuality, adding an entirely new dimension to the psychological horror elements. It gets a bit excessive actually. Gone is the social commentary from the first game, which I missed. The second Manhunt was a very good game as well. The locations play a bigger part in the second game.

In the first manhunt the locations aside from a couple served only as a different place for you to slaughter people. The second manhunt integrates the locations in the story better. This creates some stand out and memorable levels, as well as a more diverse level selection. The second manhunt has some rather stupid moments but I still think it is a terrific game.

manhunt 2Manhunt 2 furthers the gameplay mechanics and style of the first game rather than the story. Manhunt 2 was even more controversial and banned in ever more countries.

The first two spoken words in the game are actually “Holy f*ck!” The game was threatened with an AO rating and was almost banned in America which resulted in heavy censorship of the game. Rockstar had to put a bunch of weird filters over the executions, which make them harder to see, but you can still make out what’s happening for the most part. The Wii version was hit the hardest by the censorship.

I hold the Manhunt series close to my heart, I really love these games and I hope that Rockstar will make a Manhunt 3. They didn’t move on it at all during the PS3 age, but maybe for the PS4, some high-def slaughtering maybe?

 

Macabre Month of Halloween Horror 2013 movie review #3 ~ ‘John Carpenter’s Vampires’

John carpenter's Vampires poster
John carpenter's Vampires poster
John carpenter’s Vampires poster

John Carpenter is a master of horror. Sometimes he fails to deliver but he will always be known as one of the greats. He brought us a wide range of classics such as Halloween, Escape From New York, and Assault on Precinct 13.

Vampires stars James Woods, Daniel Baldwin, and none other than Laura Palmer herself: Sheryl Lee. James Woods tries his hardest to be a BAMF and sometimes he doesn’t quite pull off the tough guy act.

james woods
James Woods

The role could have been better cast, Michael Biehn would be my pick for the role. James Woods really does give it his all though, too bad he’s always just bordering on BA when the character deserves better. While James Woods isn’t always believable as a tough guy, the character is still really cool.

Sheryl Lee doesn’t have a lot to do in the movie. She mostly just looks freaked out or possessed, and Daniel Baldwin is interchangeable with a number of other actors, so the cast is not the strong point of the movie.  The strong point is in John carpenter’s impeccable direction. I will say that the guy who plays the young priest is awesome. His transformation is well done and he is about the only actor that I would not recast if given the option.

John Carpenter was actually thinking about quitting directing before making this movie. He said that it “Stopped Being Fun” This movie changed his mind and he decided to keep directing. That’s pretty damn cool.

Vampires has the look, sound, tone, and feel of an 80’s horror film, when it’s actually from 1998. Only 2 films ago for John Carpenter. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It resembles the sorely missed lost style of classic horror films. John Carpenter composed the music for the film and it is perfectly suiting and creates a strong style for the film.

vampire cross

John Carpenter’s Vampires is very similar to From Dusk Till Dawn. Both are vampire films with a Spanish flair and location. Both take inspiration from the vampire lore while twisting it around and tweaking it, and both have wild action scenes, killing vampires with really great gore effects. This is a movie that is proud to be rated R. Blood, swearing, and pretty much anything that can get you rated R. Vampires wears it’s rating like a badge and jumps at the chance to throw a motherf*cker in your face.

Vampires had two sequels the 2nd of which starring Jon Bon Jovi of all people.

Vampires isn’t “Scary” in the slightest, but it doesn’t really try to be. Instead it strives for being a cool action movie. The movie knows what it is and it just exudes cool. In a world flooded with terrible vampire movies like the whole Twilight franchise, it’s nice to know that there are still some cool vampire films worth watching that you might not have seen yet. It’s not a slow movie by any means, its 108 minute run time breeze right by. It’s entertaining without overstaying it’s welcome.

They’re not gothic vampires and they’re not bitchy brooding vampires either, they’re hardcore balls to the wall vampires that will tear you apart without pausing for a moment to think about Kirsten Stewart.

It’s not great, but it’s a decent little flick. It’s a fun vampire film in the vain of From Dusk Till Dawn. Definitely worth checking out.

Currently John Carpenter’s Vampires is available for free on Crackle so check it out if you’rd interested and keep checking back all October long for a new horror review everyday with this years MACABRE MONTH OF HORROR.

 

De-Jango Unspoken (Fake grindhouse trailer)

Newfound Film Making Club is located in the Newfound Region of NH

Members of the Newfound Film Making Club recently made a couple of fake grindhouse style trailers to play during a double feature film event. The club was founded by Green Carbon 2112’s own Sam and “advised” by Amy Lyn.

Here is one of the trailers “De-Jango Unspoken” a parody of the Quentin Tarantino film Django Unchained.

 

Sniper Ghost Warrior (PS3 game review)

sniper ghost warrior poster

sniper poster

Sniper Ghost Warrior

I love sniping. Any game that gives you the option to use a sniper rifle or a slew of other weapons, I always choose the sniper rifle. I tend to find conventional weapons boring, AK47? What else is there? I prefer the strange, one shot one kill type weapons in games, revolvers, shotguns, crossbows, and of course sniper rifles.

So the idea of a game where you’re always using a sniper rifle sounds awesome to the niche demographic that I’m a part of. Hearing of this game got me pretty excited to play it, even though I just got around to it now (There’s already a sequel out).

The setting for this game is the jungle. There are villages, rivers, and temples, but mostly just dense jungle terrain. This isn’t really a problem because the game gives you enough variety in the environment to keep you from growing bored. The environments are well constructed. The areas are aimed towards realism, which when combined with the slow stalking combat and sniper theme, bring the Tom Berenger film “The Sniper” to mind.

The jungle environment made me think of the jungle sections from Metal Gear Solid 3. This might sound weird, but the main reason I’m reminded of it, is the ambient bird sounds. Kind of random, but these two games have really well done ambient bird sounds. A strange compliment to give a game I know, but the sound designers deserve a nod for that. It probably helps that I have a nest of birds right outside my window though. The ambient sound design really added to the environment and made the game more engrossing for it, especially in tense situations.jungle

Most of the other sound is done well. All the guns sound good. Each sniper rifle has its own distinct sound and the silenced pistol, whilst sounding incredibly cheesy, sounds awesome.

The big complaint on the sound department isn’t actually on the effects, it’s on the voice acting. It’s terrible. All of it. Every single voice actor in the game is awful. Some are worse than others, but none of them are good. It doesn’t help that the game has horrible writing, but I’ll come back to that in a moment. The delivery, especially from the main character is bad and comes off as awkward. I feel some of the blame belongs to whoever was directing the voice actors. Sometimes they exaggerate the lines to the point of being hilarious.

The people you are shooting at, are speaking a foreign language, and because of that fact, the game developers thought they could half *ss the enemy dialogue and nobody would care. True I don’t speak the language, but did you honestly think I wouldn’t notice that 87% of all the enemy dialogue is the exact same line of dialogue, read by the same single voice actor? Really? You couldn’t spend a little more time on the voice acting?

Another strange thing I noticed regarding this single line of dialogue is that if you kill the character saying at the wrong moment, he will finish the line from beyond the grave. Thies wasn’t a one time thing, it happened repeatedly throughout the game. The first time it happened I was confused, I thought maybe there was another enemy talking or something. After further investigation I discovered that it was in fact a dead person speaking.

The writing is terrible. It’s almost ridiculous how cliché it is. It’s like they didn’t even try to come up with an original story. All of the characters in the game, lack the most crucial part, “Character”. They have no personalities outside of plot convenience. At one point you get double crossed by a teammate and it has absolutely no impact because his character wasn’t established beforehand. Yeah he’s there in the beginning of the game, but he doesn’t develop. There are no interactions between him and the main character so the double cross loses its effectiveness.

slow mo

The main character is completely flat. He has no real personality, he just does what people tell him. Oh well, at least he has a voice, I hate when they make you silent in games. The main villain, (if you can even call him that, they do nothing to set him apart from the other nameless goons you whack on your way towards him) has no build up. I didn’t even remember his name, he doesn’t even have any dialogue, or a distinct look. He doesn’t really do anything either, he just stands around when it’s time to shoot him. You shoot at this guy twice throughout the game. Once in the very beginning and once at the end. The first time you shoot at him, he get’s away. I got really confused at this point. I shot him in the chest and saw him hit the floor, yet the characters in the game say that the shot missed and that he got away. Was I not supposed to hit him or something? He is the target for the game, which is really just one hit that get’s sidetracked a lot.

The story is full of cliché moments they even have a slow motion walk towards the camera that came out of left field. It’s your character holding his gun in the air and 3 obscure teammates, one of which is holding his gun over his shoulders. Anyway they all swag walk towards the camera, which was hilarious and completely out of character for the game. I guess it was supposed to be cool, but really, it was just surprising. Especially since you were nowhere near these other people before the swag walking started.

sniper scope

The A.I. is completely dreadful. Sometimes they notice you for no reason, and other times they stand there looking stupid. Something I don’t get is the accuracy of the enemies. You play as a sniper, a highly trained agent, with high tech weapons, yet your enemies have perfect aim from any distance with a regular old rifle. That’s kind of stupid if you ask me.

The gameplay is the strong point of the game. They clearly put a lot of effort into making the sniping feel “right”. It’s a more complex system than most games have. Bullet drop, wind, rain, all affect your bullet trajectory.

Sniping is a lot of fun and there is a cool slow motion effect that sometimes triggers when you score a headshot or a double kill with one bullet. The enemy ragdolls and goes flying. It’s fun. You have the option to take an assault rifle from a dead enemy, but I never did, I can’t see why you’d want to. You also get throwing knives, but they aren’t as cool or useful as you’d expect. The back of the game case proclaims that you can use C4 and Claymore mines in the game. I counted the number of times you can use these things. # of times you can use Claymore mines: 1. Yes only once, yet it earned a bullet point on the back of the box. # of times you can use C4: 1. Seriously just once again, they were really stretching for things to put on the back of the case.

There are a couple of segments where you have to use a station machine gun, first let me just say that the sound effect for this gun scared the hell out of me. It’s about 10x as loud as everything else and it very much surprised me. These segments were terribly boring and added nothing to the gameplay. They were most likely added for some variety, but whenever one came up, I just wanted to get back to the sniping.

Moving around is really awkward in this game. You can frequently get stuck on rocks and inclines in the terrain that seem as though you should easily be able to just walk over. The moving becomes further impaired when you crouch or crawl. In that state you can hardly even move side to side, and going up stairs? Forget about it, you’ll just glitch back and forth until you give up and just stand up.

hidin in da bushes

The other big component to the game is stealth. I’m a big fan of stealth games and this game did a different but good job at it. The stealth is not shadow based like splinter cell, or cover based like a game such as Deus Ex, it’s closest to Metal Gear solid again with its camouflage system, and while you never change camouflage in Sniper Ghost Warrior, you can use it to blend into the vegetation spread across the jungle. In the stealth sections, you usually have the option to sneak through or you just kill everyone and stride through like a magnificent BAMF, but don’t go striding off just yet, you can slowly plot your way around, under, or through your enemies like a stealthy and even more magnificent BAMF. The stealth works fairly well, except when the AI decides to just randomly start shooting. You can even use stealth in place of most of the killing sections. Sniper Ghost Warrior teaches you to take the long way around, and too often times disobey the instructions you are given. I don’t think this was intentional, but it is often more rewarding to avoid the preset path and the onscreen prompts and instead take the long way around. The stealth segments can be fun and intense and again reminded me of the movie “Sniper” which I’m guessing was inspiration for this game. Most of the music is just your generic Call of Duty esque military music, but some of the music in the stealth segments is perfectly fitting. It’s intense pulsating score fits perfectly in a stealth environment and sounds like a beating heart. I dig it.

The ending of the game left me in awe., but not because it was good, let me explain. The game goes “Kill this dude” and I was all like “Aight”, so I kill him and the game cuts to black with the text “The End”. then the credits roll with a completely unfitting reggae swing song. I kind of liked the song, but it went against the whole style of the game up until that point. I couldn’t believe how completely anti-climactic the ending was, no build up, no final challenge, the last enemy you kill before this is completely set up, he just stand there facing the wrong way while put a bullet or a knife in the back of his head then it’s just you and the big baddie. It’s not even a difficult shot, yeah it’s far away but I got it on the first try and I figure most people would do so as well, and there’s not even an ending cutscene, no closure, just BOOM the end.

The ending left a bitter taste in my mouth and it was only further soured when I checked my completion to find it at only 4 hours. That is very short. That’s only about half as long as a game needs to be in order to be worth the price in my opinion.

There is multiplayer, but it just feels tacked on and is not very well executed. I feel like this is some serious missed opportunity. I was hoping for some intense person VS person sniper battles like I got in the Farcry 2 multiplayer, but sadly this game did not deliver.

Sniper Ghost Warrior has a great number of problems, but it is still a lot of fun, the stealth and sniper segments can be intense and engrossing, but the rest of the game is so poorly constructed. It’s like having an awesome cake but it’s inside a box that someone dropped in the mud and pissed on. You don’t want to open it do you? It’s just not quite worth it.

Sniper Ghost Warrior is not worth buying at its current price of $19.99. If the price drops to under 10, then I’d say maybe, but only if you’re seriously into sniping and stealth. Right now I’d say just rent it or skip it altogether.