Beastiality’s Not Great, Boys: Zoo Race

By Kieron Gillen on January 17th, 2008 at 7:57 pm.

Here at RPS, we’re dedicated to bringing you the finest in PC games entertainment. Except all the times we’re not. This is a not. Say hello to Zoo Race.

A videogame.

And if a picture of a dancing pig wearing a top hat, in a disco that appears to illuminated by the Arc of the Covenant isn’t enough to make you click the “read the rest of this entry” link, I don’t know what could.

Zoo Race is, as the name may suggest, about animals racing one another. It’s also, as far as what appears to genuinely be a Christian games, the most openly Blasphemous example I’ve ever seen. Its plot – which is best experienced in the 8 minute trailer to let it revel in its ludicrousness – can be paraphrased as people started speculating about what Noah actually did when he’d got all his animals together. And they realised – hey – they probably raced each other for God’s amusement. Then the people get turned into animals, and they find themselves doing exactly that. This is probably ironic.

Even the characters have trouble believing it. Take Hannah on the start screen…

Hannah, on the way to being sectioned

Hannah, as alliteration insists, became a horse. Here’s a picture of Hannah at the Disco, dancing with a man I eventually worked out is Noah. Noah, you sly old dog. Mrs Noah (or Emzara, if you’re going to listen to the book of Jubilee) is going to be right pissed off.

Dancing in the Disco, bumper to bumper. Wait a minute! I'm a horse.

I’m actually being unfair. The disco stuff is actually a subgame to the real experience, where a camera rotates around the scene, while all the characters dance to the original soundtrack of Christian Rock (only three of the many in the shareware version, alas). You’re able to make each character pull move by clicking on them – spinning on the spot, propelling themselves in the air or – in the case of Noah – quoting bits of scripture in a cheaply-computerised echo-voice. It’s not the real game.

The real game looks like this.

Super Mario Kart can fuck right off

The Rhino’s in front, which is somewhat surprising, as the Rhino is the strong but slow character. He’ll come into his own when he can knock his way through obstacles. The Horse and Coyote are good on land, while the pig is good at swimming. They all wear hats because they’re (er) Christians or something. Christians are big on hats, at least when the Good Lord has transmuted them into animals. Or so I vaguely recall from Primary School.

This is about as sane as the game gets, with most of the level full of seemingly whatever the developer thinks of next. The game main aesthetic inspiration is, basically, those late ninety geocities websites with Gifs about JESUS LOVING YOU WITH BUNNIES. The plot justifies this array of stuff by – basically – having Shep and the Noah brats decided to put stuff everywhere. Which does beg the question why they made a maze out of stained glass mirrors, or have one of them standing at the top of the hill and Donkey-Kong style just sending barrels rolling down. Except, that’s over-selling the game. The person at the top of the slope is actually not moving at all, and just casually watching the barrels materialise before them before rolling downwards. When God’s saved you from a flood, I guess you get a little blase around miracles.

(That said, I think the Good Book really does suffer for the lack of the Miracle of Barrel Materialisation. It’s in some apocryphal texts, I know, but how it’s been wiped from the official church history is a bloody disgrace).

For me, it gets most surreal when Noah – doing his best Charlton Heston impression – is commentating on the race, alternating between dutifully noting the position and quoting the choicest bits of Psalms.

Anyway, another screenshot.

Videogames are the great new art form of the 21st century.

Cougar Interactive’s website is also quite the thing to see. Its tone can be summed up by a little text urging you to buy the full game – 8 characters! Many levels! Some More Many songs! – when you quit the demo: “Buy the fun game that the big name publishers refused to finance or even show you. Why wait? You can do it, because you are a fun loving creation of god.”

Fucking big name publishers. We hate those guys too. Clearly, it couldn’t have anything to do with the glitchy animation, complete lack of physics, my-first-quake-level geometry and the fact the whole thing is completely batshit insane.

If you want more, watching the full length trailer with plenty of game footage – the horse-firing cannon is a particular high-point, which you’ll find at the 5:05 mark – or you can follow my paw-prints and download the Peggle-and-abit demo. Or you could even buy it, for a mere $17.77.

Me? I’m going to stare at this screenshot of Cain the Cougar celebrating for a while.

Not our favourite sort of dancing cougar.

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45 Comments »

  1. Smee says:

    When the music kicks in at the 5 minute mark I thought I was going to explode in sheer happiness.

    It was half past nine or a quarter to ten
    They said something then it started again
    The war began

    You can download three songs from their Myspace. Already on my Ipod.

  2. Faust says:

    I fairly sure rhino’s don’t make that sound….. if they do, I’m definitely missing something, because they just took on a whole new kind of scary.

  3. Zeno, Internetographer says:

    To the best of my knowledge, all games based on Christianity are horrible. It even managed to mess up the Narnia game, through its thin veil of Biblical allegory.

  4. Meat Circus says:

    It makes you wonder if there’s a gameplay mechanic that couldn’t be biblically justified as long as Noah was commentating and the pigs wear hats.

    And lo, did Noah tire of firing horses from cannons, and turned to God. And God, seeing that violence sells, did say unto Noah, “wouldn’t it be better if the animals were beating each other to death with Katanas?”

  5. Seniath says:

    I saw this on Kotaku this afternoon. My brain promptly dribbled out of my ears.

  6. DuBBle says:

    The internet is going to have a field day with this one.

  7. Nuyan says:

    Oh… God.. This is…. amazing!

    I imagine some christian fund throwing a shitload of money to some developer that just ridicules the whole thing and makes something awful. Seriously, how can someone even come up with something like this? This can’t be….. serious. Right?

  8. Kieron Gillen says:

    Part of me strongly suspects it’s a joke project. But… there’s not even a slightest nod that they’re joking anwhere in the site.

    It’s quite the thing.

    KG

  9. Ben Hazell says:

    “I like games about animals. Those other games are boring to me…”

  10. Slappybag says:

    Looks like it was made in garries mod by a 2 year old =P

  11. Meat Circus says:

    Pig in top hat = new Gravatar. Om nom nom.

  12. Slappybag says:

    OH shit – you missed out about noahs adventures!

    http://www.noahsadventures.com/

    !!!!

  13. Slappybag says:

    I’d also like to point out that you can bunny hop in this game – but alias there are no bunnies =(

  14. Five says:

    Oh my god.

    That was fantastic from start to finish.

    The script and voice acting – fantastic
    The help-me-i-cant-stop-walking animation on the two other people in the library – fantastic
    The… toilet flushing sound? when Reuben ducks behind the counter – fantastic
    The vertical acceleration curve – fantastic
    The help-me-my-neck-is-broken horse running animation – fantastic
    The donkey kong level from hell – fantastic
    Hannah the horse climbing into a cannon and being shot into the air – fantastic
    Hannay the horse riding a train through some fallen rocks – fantastic
    Hannah the horse riding a missile to the moon – fantastic

  15. Zeno, Internetographer says:

    To the best of my knowledge, all games based on Christianity are horrible. It even managed to mess up the Narnia game, through its thin veil of Biblical allegory.

    I take that back, there is this game, which is just fucking awesome. It’s like Castlevania, but with Moses going apeshit on Egypt.

  16. THX-1138 says:

    Also fantastic, and extended sequence when you win involving an enourmous Noah legging it across stunning scenery to an animal disco. Whilst bieng seemingly bombarded with fireworks.

    Simply stunning, and I owe it all to you RPS!!

  17. THX-1138 says:

    Well, the links an stuff at least.

  18. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Recommended: Pentium 4 – 2 GHz or higher – 1024 MB RAM – Pixel Shaders 2.0 or above

    Bloody hell, that’s a bit steep for those graphics. Clearly they splashed out on those horse-firing cannon pyrotechnics.

  19. THX-1138 says:

    Found what I believe is a glitch, by holding both mouse buttons and the forward key you can go very fast. So fast you’ll likely glitch through the level.
    God this game is amazing.

  20. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Well I’ve yet to complete it, managed to glitch out of the map in both races. I love the assurances that the full game contains “MORE FUN ! ! !” when you exit though.

  21. NegativeZero says:

    I must be broken because the most amusing concept for me here is the idea of Noah quoting psalms, since according to the biblical timeline those were written hundreds of years after he died.

  22. JakethePirate says:

    That trailer was the greatest thing ever. I’ll play the demo as soon as I can.

  23. DigitalSignalX says:

    You game journalists must be made of steel. How someone manages to write a semi-serious review of this title escapes me. It would be far easier if the developers were actually given the leash to intentionally make fun of their subject matter, as well as probably be a more successful seller.

    I wouldn’t last 5 min trying to take it seriously.

  24. leafdot says:

    Doesn’t gaming need its Ed Woods, though?

  25. Tikey says:

    I’ve just seen the trailer and I must say:
    This is… the greatest… thing… ever… created.

    I can’t wait to try the demo.

  26. MrLipid says:

    I smell game of the year….

  27. JP says:

    bbbbpppptthhhhhbbbbllllllthhhhhhhlllpthhh

  28. JP says:

    Sorry. I blacked out for a bit.

  29. AbyssUK says:

    This is the sort of stuff that causes wars…

  30. malkav11 says:

    I am in awe.

  31. Mouj says:

    Geez you bunch of infidel, bashing a wonderful game that must be a work of whatever’s-up-there-if-there-is-anything ! How dare you ! Beware of the mighty Left Behind wrath !

  32. terry says:

    Hannah has some impressive five o clock shadow.

  33. Acosta says:

    Can god make a game so awful not even him can’t play it.

    After seeing this: absolutely.

  34. Andrew says:

    I started having conniptions when ‘Rueben’ glitched around the library at high speed yelling “LET’S HAVE A RAAAACE”.

    And it pretty much didn’t let up after that. Surely, surely this is a joke project?

  35. AbyssUK says:

    I need the rhino noise as my message alert on my mobile!

  36. davidAlpha says:

    this might be old as hell for some of you but I strongly recommend the game “i wanna be the guy”. It may not be the worst game but it comes close in a wonderfully frustrating way. link

  37. Razor says:

    Oh f*cking great, now I’m gonna have nightmares about pigs in top hats dancing in an disco.

    Thank you!!!

  38. Razor says:

    @ davidAlpha

    So I tried I wanna be that guy, and well, all I can say is seeing is believing. When the author says practically anything can kill you, he was not kidding =P I can only blame myself…

  39. ɹǝʌo llǝɟ ı poƃ ʎɯ ɥo says:

    Pigs in tophats are the stuff of dreams, not nightmares. Silly boy.

  40. Hobbes2099 says:

    Yes, but will it blend?

  41. James T says:

    Cain the Cougar?

    Cain, ‘The First Murderer’, the Cougar?

  42. MrLipid says:

    I have ordered myself a copy of this extra ordinary title.

    Looking forward to seeing if it fulfills the promise of the demo.

    This may be the game that challenges Tellurian for whatever title Tellurian currently holds.

  43. TheDiscordian says:

    I think that is the best thing in the history of time.

    ‘I’m not very strong, I’m so small, and thin.’

    I feel some serious faith right now.

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