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Rune Review
2000-11-03 Erik Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5
Here's a depressing rundown of the levels you'll death-march through: Nali village, cave, cave, cave, cave, dark castle, lava cave, lava dungeon, lava waterfall, lava sewer, cave, dungeon, sewer, Nali village, dungeon, cave, sewer, cave, Nali cave, tall cave with the ceiling removed, cave, dungeon, cave.  I think I forgot a sewer in the middle there.  If I wanted to visit a dank, lightless cave, I could go explore my own edgy basement right now.  For free.  I have no explanation for the tedious, sewer-centric art direction in virtually every game.  Maybe publishers have convinced developers that the game buying public is composed entirely of homesick C.H.U.D.S.

Rune screenshot or scene from C.H.U.D.?
Search the middle of the image for the scary answer!

Is it Human Head's fault that they're being blamed for the sins of gaming's Pilgrim forefathers - the Star Chamber sitting high atop a pile of golden crates who decreed that all games would take place in either a cave or Blade Runner?  Thanks to the assy-smelling fickle fuck finger of fate, yes.  Sorry, fellas.  You broke me somewhere over Rune sewer number seven.

As legendary sound designer Tim Gerritsen pointed out in a justified, but still somewhat un-viking-like rant against piracy, many of the members of the Rune team have "children and families to support."  Well, guess what Gerritsen, some bad shit's happened to me too.  I've got obligations and habits just like you people.  And you know what?   Left completely to their own devices, kids have probably a 70/30 chance of surviving by themselves, whereas I know for a fact that without my explicit intervention, Nembutal tablets and packs of Merit Lights aren't going to just march off the shelves of Walgreen's and jump into my mouth.  So in a lot of ways, I've got it much worse than you.  If I was Human Head's coach, I'd be grabbing them by the neck right now and screaming "Less whining, more less caves!"

Amplexus is what scientists call it when frogs fuck. Dope is for dopes.

I wish I was Human Head's coach, because these kids are obviously savvy technicians.  Rune is sound technically.  But so was Gone In Sixty Seconds, and movie reviewers didn't feel obliged to give that a free pass just because everything was in focus.  I'm single-handedly ushering in gaming's second age, where technical competence alone is no longer enough.  It's the industry's Virtua Amanda Weiss Batmitzvah - congratulations Ms. Gaming, today you become a woman. 

An example of what I now expect from all of you developers is on display in Jet Grind Radio for the Dreamcast (note to skeptical PC game snobs: it's the thinking man's Breakneck!).  This game proves empirically that not every virtual environment has to look like a pointy Frank Frazetta painting. 




"Oh the pain."


Here I am rollerblading on top of a city bus that's travelling across a layer of concrete beneath which is - presumably - a river of sewage. The Japanese creators of Jet Grind Radio were polite enough not to make me visit it.  And that's after we bombed the darn heck out of them in World War 2!  Developers: Note bright colors and sky and sun.

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