He’s Outraged! GearGrinder Demo Lunacy

By John Walker on September 15th, 2009 at 8:06 pm.

It's all the rage.

Kieron mentioned this morning that the GearGrinder demo was out. But just knowing that wasn’t enough for me. I had to play it too. HAD TO. And I can tell you, on a scale from 1 to Completely Hatstand Insane, GearGrinder scores a Batshit Crazy.

It’s a lorry driving game. But no, this is no Euro Truck Simulator, this is TRANSFORMING LORRIES WITH ROCKETS AND GUNS!

So how does the demo feel to drive? Like pushing a raw sausage down a bowling alley. It slides along easily enough, but it’s hardly under sensible control. There’s no sense of weight or length when controlling the jet-powered trucks – they might just as well be RC cars or hot air balloons for all the articulated feel of it. But screw that, because this is a game in which someone plants a bomb in your brain.

It's hard to fault his logic.

There’s no sense to any of it. I believe the publishers (whose name begs for a punchline) Head Up Games are from Germany, and the developers, TARGEM Games, from Russia, and perhaps the story would have made more sense to me if it had been left in either German or Russian. There’s a “training” level which doesn’t tell you any of the controls, which once completed takes you to the first proper levels that introduces how to play the game. Um. You have a slalom game (that makes absolutely bugger all sense – there’s no slaloming at all – instead you’re driving through spinning scores saying “4X” or “6X” add less than a second to your remaining time each). Then it’s a race against some other trucks. And then, of course, your character announces he’s breaking out on his own.

Um, from what? Apparently he’s been rescued from something, and the people who did it made him race I think. But no more! So now you’re told that your truck can transform into a machine of destruction at the touch of a button, letting you shoot at everything on the roads. You can also drive through lots of the destructible scenery, which slows you down and offers little incentive for destruction. Blowing shit up is much more fun, and you’re idiotically powerful. It seems that every single car on the road is your enemy, even if they’re a family saloon driving in the opposite direction. Hit one and it declares, “Enemy Crashed!” Shoot one and there’s the slightly more unsettling, “Enemy Pierced!”

Some trucks in a tunnel, yesterday.

So a bit later I’m sat in my cab and the phone rings. It’s Jorge, the person who rescued me who I now HATE for some reason, and I’m simply furious with him for ringing. He tells me, “We’ve implanted a bomb in your brain. If you disobey the orders, you die.”

In my BRAIN! How?! That must be terrifying! But no, brave old me, I declare, “Ok, I’ll do it, but you are playing with fire here.” And then throw the phone out the window.

Look, I’m not saying I would know what to do if I’d been told by a mysterious stranger that he’s planted explosives in my head, but I’m fairly sure it wouldn’t be to lob my only means of communicating with him out a speeding truck. I think there are possibly better responses. And talking of better responses, there’s our hero’s next statement:

YEAH!

Which isn’t precisely the same as following orders. You then proceed to blow up everything on the road, and carry on racing trucks. Without any instructions to either obey or disobey. WHICH IS CONFUSING.

It’s sort of spectacular. I mean, it’s dreadful. But in a really enormous way. Once through this first chapter it gives you the first level of the next, which lets you have much more freedom switching back and forth between your rocket-fuelled racing and machine gun-powered destruction, and hints at some possible genuine fun to be had. But it had better continue with the maddest story in driving game history, or it would not mean a thing.

, .

40 Comments »

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  1. Pags says:

    Completely Hatstand Insane is my newest favourite phrase. Well done JOHN WALKER.

  2. Psychopomp says:

    @game

    wat

  3. Noc says:

    Maybe they’re releasing the coherency as DLC?

  4. cyrenic says:

    “and hints at some possible genuine fun to be head”. If that typo wasn’t intentional, it should have been.

  5. Clovis says:

    I think this game may be in a competition with James Patterson for best writer EVAR. I can definitely imagine one of his characters shouting, “I’m outraged!” Seriously, pick up a Patterson book and read 4 pages (ie, 2 chapters). They are exactly like that last screenshot. I think English is actually Patterson’s first language though…

  6. Lambchops says:

    Might give the demo a shot – stupid dialogue can turn an average game into something incredibly entertaining (see Disaster “I don’t care about the nuke i just want the girl” Day of Crisis.

    Actually thinking back I think it was John’s review that resulted in me buying that game – for some reason he’s got the knack of highlighting the potential insane genius of this type of entertainment.

  7. Petethegoat says:

    I love how I’m now getting life insurance ads. Downloading the demo now.

  8. kalidanthepalidan says:

    That is amazing!!! Best story I’ve heard in a long time. I hope they make a movie. And a book. And an animated TV series. And a radio drama.

  9. Petethegoat says:

    Sorry for the double-comment, but can someone please make Tim Stone play this?

  10. Rei Onryou says:

    Can Metacritic scores be replaced by insanity ratings?

  11. Xercies says:

    @Kali

    Oh no if they made a movie Michael Bay would probably direct it…ahhhh

    But a bomb in the brain….that sounds crazy

  12. ZIGS says:

    Wait, I thought the game was developed by Targem, a Russian company, and not Head Up, which I think are the publishers :\

  13. Knight Of Cydonia says:

    …yes, a bomb in the brain is completely crazy. Bombs attached to the head surgically, like in one of the BLade films (don’t try and make me remember which one), that’s sane and normal. BUT INSIDE?! OMG KAWAIIII!!!!1

  14. Schmung says:

    Man, I wish everyone around me suffered when I was outraged.

  15. Lucky Main Street says:

    Almost sounds like a videogame version of The Room, so bad it’s great. Want to try this!

  16. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    Solid!*
    —-
    that fills my daily minimum

  17. Sunjammer says:

    I’m outraged! I’m breaking out on my own!

  18. sinister agent says:

    You have made this sound so wonderful I am at a loss as to how to express it.

  19. Stu says:

    Crank Turismo.

  20. Simon says:

    This is exactly what I need, thank you! :)

  21. Wooly says:

    They are going to pay!

  22. jarvoll says:

    @Stu: Aaaah, I see what you did there.

  23. Radiant says:

    “It’s sort of spectacular.”
    “I mean, it’s dreadful. But in a really enormous way.”
    haha! box quotes :)

  24. Gabe says:

    EVOLUTION OF GAMING

    1991…
    “Somebody set up us the bomb.”

    2009…
    “Somebody set up us the bomb… IN MY HEAD!”

  25. negativedge says:

    next time you should talk about the game

  26. Zerotime says:

    On a scale of 1 to Death Rally, how much like Death Rally is this game?

  27. Noc says:

    @Gabe: That’s a terribly flawed and simplistic analysis. If I may revise:

    EVOLUTION OF GAMING

    1991…
    Someone set us up the bomb.

    2000…
    A BOMB?!

    2009…
    I’m going to explode, bomb or no bomb.

  28. Günter says:

    The main character in this game sounds like the hardest motherfucker in the world.

  29. itsallcrap says:

    Up until the last paragraph, it sounded like you really loved this game.

    If they release it at a ‘budget’ game price, I might actually be tempted.

  30. Rinox says:

    The main character in this game sounds like the hardest motherfucker in the world.

    Close, but I think you will find that title belongs to Snake Plissken.

  31. Kem0sabe says:

    This demo reminds me of one of my favorite quotes…

    “Invisible Pink Unicorns are beings of awesome mystical power. We know this because they manage to be invisible and pink at the same time. Like all religions, the Faith of the Invisible Pink Unicorns is based upon both logic and faith. We have faith that they are pink; we logically know that they are invisible because we can’t see them.”

  32. Ffitz says:

    I can’t stop laughing at this article, topped off by that incredible final screenshot. It’s the onion of wrong, layer upon differing layer of awfulness, each one bringing tears to the eyes.

    Well done, Walker.

  33. Subject 706 says:

    The protagonist seems frighteningly unhinged…

  34. Kieron Gillen says:

    Why on earth does “So Bad It’s Good” need a bloody TV Tropes link?

    KG

  35. Kieron Gillen says:

    You will suffer my rage, ChaosSmurf.

    KG

  36. linfosoma says:

    This game is made by the sames guys that made Clutch, which is an enjoyable Carmageddon clone.

    In the story the Large Haldron Collider explodes and turns everybody into zombies, your character is kidnaped by a crazy cult that drugs you and convinces you that attaching a bomb into your body and killing yourself is the most honorable thing to do.
    Then you are rescued by mad scientist which give you the task to race inside the LHC to save the earth.

    I would like to see how they top THAT in this game.

  37. StenL says:

    Kieron, why do you hate TvTropes so much ?

  38. Michael Leung says:

    I think “I’m outraged!” or any other variant will become a new meme or something.