Carry On Doing Something Else: Medal Wars Demo

By John Walker on January 18th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

WAAAAAAAACKY!

Playing the Medal Wars demo is a lot like being trapped inside a British seaside postcard. It’s an isometric sort-of shooter, in which you play an Green Army recruit seemingly single-handedly completing missions against the enemy Black Army. But with hilarious japes and comedy references throughout! Trousers fall down! There are farty noises! And ladies have boobies!

Fixing its sense of humour somewhere south of Carry On Columbus, it’s such a peculiarly anachronistic thing. If games were made on the ends of piers, this would be the result. (In fact it was made in Edinburgh, but worry not, that doesn’t make it afraid to include lots of waaaaacky Scottish stereotypes.) And as such, it becomes quite a fascinatingly odd thing to play.

Although let’s not get carried away – it’s not particularly good in any way. As a shooter it struggles with crummily putting ‘fire’ and ‘move’ on the same button without a Shift or similar to keep you on the spot, because there haven’t been decades of examples of why that’s never a good idea. It’s also fixed to very low resolutions, and then zoomed far too close in. With a fixed camera, when you’re asked to move down the screen enemies appear from below the mess of clumsy screen clutter by the time they’re stood right next to you. Shooting feels incredibly clumsy. Despite its offering headshots and “footshots”, the targeting reticule is so enormous that there’s no sense of precision. And most of all, it’s just pretty boring to shoot your way through.

But what’s impressive is its commitment to its misfiring jokes. Every time you shoot any enemy his trousers fall down. Every time. Each time you visit a shop or upgrade hut you have to click through the very same lines of dialogue. And best of all, every time you enter the HQ tent you can be assured you’ll make the same reference to the officer’s breasts. Familiar like a stinking old jumper you left in the garden shed.

There’s a fair amount of game in the demo, although I quickly tired of it. At random points you’ll suddenly be overwhelmed by enemies who can wipe out your health very quickly, while elsewhere there’s no sense of threat at all. That all or nothing approach tends to only lead to frustration. Still though – if your constant lament is that videogames don’t remind you enough of the Russ Abbot Show, this is the one for you!

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23 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    P7uen says:

    Sounds horrible, but the fact their trousers fall down every time I do actually find quite funny (even if it’s not intentional).

    Reading this gives me the Cannon Fodder urge though, any thoroughly modern recommendations?

    • Gnoupi says:

      Running with Rifles? Really embodies the “one soldier in the middle of a war” feeling, great game in my opinion.

      Not exactly the squad kind, though. If you’re looking for this rather than the setting, Pineapple Smash Crew could do (though it’s a bit shallow).

      Both come with demos

      • ooktar says:

        Recruits Is inspired by games like Cannon Fodder and Jagged Alliance and is pretty good imo. Its only in Alpha though, but there’s a lot of content present already and its only $4.95 if you get it now.

    • Snids says:

      Yes! Love the trousers! Genius.

      • bluestargeneral says:

        I work for retro army and bizarrely we put that in thanks to RPShotgun’s review of the original demo. Which said they enjoyed the pants falling down thing, I was thinking IK+ personally ;)

  2. Toberoth says:

    I love the word “bugger.” I wish more games would embrace it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      There should be more games about buggery, yes. Along with wanking and general nookie.

    • bluestargeneral says:

      I agree, what happened to british games. I don’t mind being americanised but there needs to be some balance.

  3. Azradesh says:

    Ladies have boobies and they make jokes about them!? But that’s sexist and misogynistic! Wait, this is what we’re doing now, right?

    • Premium User Badge

      phlebas says:

      Maybe it’s ironic.

    • Shazbut says:

      If I was feeling cynical I would say drawing our attention to a game that no-one has heard of and that isn’t apparently, very good, might have the secondary function of allowing John to say that he has nothing wrong with games featuring boobies per se and thus showing that the Important Issue of sexuality in games is complex and worth a few more pages of discussion.

    • John Walker says:

      Er, no. Because that isn’t what I said, is it? I said the jokes were on the level of “ladies have boobies!”

      But, I don’t know, feel indignant about it if you like.

    • Snids says:

      Snooooooorreeeeee.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      I guess it’s like him meeting with a black officer and saying “why, he has very dark skin, does he not?” I mean, sure, race and gender are different social issues with different connotations depending on where you’re from, but it’s certainly not true that women in the West have achieved social equality with men yet, even if they can legally vote and drive and play the spoons or whatever.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        They can legally drive. And vote. And have mandatory maternity leave (in every country except the backwards US). And legally-mandated Equal Pay (in every country except the backwards US). And legally-mandated quota-based hiring (whoops, that’s a backward-step).

        All those pink Barbies and Easy Bake Ovens you see are often designed by women and marketed to girls because *PARENTS* are idiots.

        Little Susie’s mother, who refuses to buy her some GI Joes or a Lego Pirates set or whatever and tells her that she needs to learn how to cook and clean to please her future husband – that moron is infinitely more misogynistic than any guy making an OMGTITS joke in a game.

        Women are passed over for promotions for the exact same reasons as some men — because they’re not interested in being assholes. You might notice that women who are dicks tend to rise pretty high in companies. Some of the most powerful executives in the world are women, and are also dicks. Just like all the other dicks who run companies.

        All that said, the original comment WAS FUCKING SARCASM.

        • bluestargeneral says:

          I’m glad you brought this up, becuase it was never our intent to misrepresent women in games, afterall if you play the game, Betsy is your commanding officer. She’s also the only character that gets promoted whereas the player is always the grunt. Go figure, I guess the collectible cards could be considered sexist but I’d prefer to collect cards of beautiful women then some boring stuff like cars or whatever.

  4. Kefren says:

    Staring eyes?

    • tungstenHead says:

      It’s very close, but I just don’t feel like the eyes are focused squarely on the blackness in my soul.

  5. Snids says:

    This reminds me of A.P.B. There’s a real classic Amiga feel/crapness to it. Like that old Vis game.
    Good old “the Scottish”.

    I suppose it runs on a H.A.G.G.I.S Comp 6000 or somesuch?

  6. Koozer says:

    From the trailer:

    The words “WEIRD HUMOUR” followed by a scene of a man getting a splodge of mud on his face from a passing truck, a man’s trousers falling down, a man calling another man fat under his breath, and a man swearing at a submarine. Oh the hilarity.

    • Bhazor says:

      Be wary of the game that lists comedy on its feature list.

      It’s generally the videogame equivalent of
      “Hilarious four stars” Nuts magazine

  7. Premium User Badge

    lowprices says:

    This game looks about as funny as the kerb-stomping scene in American History X. I think I won’t bother with the demo.

  8. Adventurous Putty says:

    Heh, it’s funny — I’m a Yankee and I get the postcard reference, if only because Orwell wrote a lovely piece on them. You guys should read it!

    http://www.george-orwell.org/The_Art_of_Donald_McGill/0.html