Crapplestar Craptacular, More Like

By Alec Meer on October 25th, 2007 at 2:54 pm.

The Battlestar Galactica remake is just made for games, with its compelling jump-cutty, eerily quiet space combat and signature ships. Fortunately, people have done so, for free and very well indeed. There’s the Homeworld 2 mod here, and the Freespace 2 mod here.

And today the official game’s been released, available exclusively online. It’s $20 (or £13), which doesn’t sound like much, but every penny spent will feel like a knife in the kidney if you do splash out. Fortunately the demo’s enough to make that pretty obvious. Forlorn impressions follow.

Yeah, it’s an arcade game, just a simple shmup, so maybe I should cut it some flak. Except taking that approach in the first place suggests a fundamental not-getting-it. New Battlestar is rarely about, as this is, a single Colonial Viper heroically fending off massed Cylon attack; most of its space battles play as either gung-ho Star Warsy squadrons or Aliensy bickering between its cast of surly fighter pilots. The fun of the many outweights the fun of the one. Also, the distressing vulnerability of the series’ Vipers is made clear repeatedly, so having you play as one ship capable of invulnerability, special attacks, health pickups and respawing simply doesn’t feel anything like the show.

The game’s entirely cartoony, a 2D game in a 3D engine, and surely an attentive watch of the series would have revealed that this would not be what its fans wanted. (Am I a fan? I was. I reallly don’t know if I am after the atrocious Bob-Dylan-transcends-reality finale of the last season, though. I’m praying for less mysticism in season 4). With none of the show’s music or voice samples in there either, the whole thing feels depressingly characterless.

Even if the theme is ignored, this is still a shmup that handles awfully, lacks any sort of variety and never feels thrilling. Single player attempts to crudely emulate a few key space-based argy-bargies from the show, but, designed primarily for Xbox Live, multiplayer’s the focus here. The sluggish controls forbid any sort of meaningful skill, so that’s a frakk up too.

And did I mention the magic walls in space? That’s right, spacewall. A big blue floating circle around the map means you can’t go into that bit of space, even though it looks exactly the same as this bit of space.

Spacewall!

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12 Comments »

  1. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    Theyre obviously not the real final *NUMBER* though, don’t worry. 4 will explain everything in an entirely satisfactory way. And yeah this looks ass. ASS. ARSE.

  2. Phil says:

    “Atrocious Bob-Dylan-transcends-reality finale of the last season” – For me it’s more a Bob Dylan-themed-mystrious-signal-redeeming-played-out-characters-to-restore-geniune-sense-of -dramatic-tension finale.

    Incidentally, thanks for the excuse to play more Homeworld 2.

  3. Prophetik says:

    The finale was badass. I can’t wait for this next season.

  4. charles says:

    You know, the dylan song might have been ANY song. Seriously, ppl this is high concept scifi here. The season was awesome the way it was, sorry if there weren’t enough EXPLOSIONS and TITS.

  5. Alec Meer says:

    Okay, before anyone takes the rather presumtuous comment above as a cue to start flamewar, let’s have a moratorium on discussing BSG the show here, and stick to BSG the game(s), please.

  6. Masked Dave says:

    How is it possible to fuck this up? You’d need to somehow be making games about a show without having any knowledge either!

    All we wanted was just X-Wing vs TIE Fighter with fancy new graphics (and not Star Wars models).

    Actually, I just want that game regardless of TV tie-ins.

  7. John Walker says:

    I think any flamewar is your fault Alec, FOR BEING SO WRONG.

    As the finale was excellent, and duh – they’re getting close to Earth. SO THERE.

  8. Chis says:

    So, this plays as bad as series 3 was tremendously tiresome to watch?

    I mean, Dylan must have been livid!

  9. simonkaye says:

    Oh. Oh oh oh. Stop spoilering, I’m still catching up in the galactica stakes.

    Better get back on topic. Erm, bad games should be nailed to the amp of a Tangerine Dream tribute band.

  10. Steve Cooper says:

    Mmmm, 3 A.M. At The Border Of The Marsh From Okefenokee

  11. Bobsy says:

    Bah. Just make X-Wing 3 or Tie Fighter 2 and be done with it. Whatever happened to Totally Games after that Star Trek game, anyway?

  12. can'ttell says:

    And I thought it was Jimi Hendrix’s song! Well, his version is great anyway

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