Saying “lots of indie games have been inspired by Portal” is a bit like saying “sofas are quite nice to sit on”, yet despite that ongoing cavalcade of tribute titles, I don’t believe anyone’s yet hit on the splendid idea of playing as GlaDOS. Oops, my mistake – a chap named Nerdook has.
While being a GlaDOS sim is doubtless its main draw, browser game I Am An Insane Rogue AI clearly owes a debt to all the great homicidal digi-brains (SHODAN and HAL particularly. I’m sure there’s some horrific slashfic about those guys out there somewhere. No, you don’t need to share it with us).
The hook is that you’re the human-hating machine behind all that locking doors, spookily switching off the lights, turning drones murderous and releasing toxic gases into the air stuff that we’ve experienced in so many man-shoots.
There’s a helluva lot that could yet be done with that concept, but IAAIRA keeps it tight and simple with a resource management structure. You’ve only got so many processor cycles to spend on assorted mayhem, so choose your actions wisely. There’s the obligatory upgrade system to buff up your AIosity, but it’s a fairly worthy one and is tied in with completing the game.
Not that wisely, mind – the rapid growth of mega-powers such as unleashing deathbots and turning fallen humans into zombies means it fast becomes pretty easy to blitz. So, while those violent powers are entertaingly vicious and horribly effective, I’d actually recommend you try and stick to as stealthy a path as possible. There’s achievementy things in doing so, if you’re hooked on that particular crack pipe, but the reason to do it is simply that it’s more satisfying. Use lights-offs and locked doors to scare the weak away from the terminals you must hack to progress, while ringing phones and biding your time will help get past the less flightly armed guards, hackers and ninjas.
Or, you know, just kill everyone.
Not a lot to it and it’s over fast, but it’s a giggle and I’d love to see it expanded into something bigger’n’deeper.