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Rune Review
2000-11-03 Erik Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5

I've offered a lot of criticism in this review.  But from the moment I - for a reason I can't remember now - got mad at George Broussard and called him chubsy-ubsy, right up until this very sentence where I repeated the chubsy-ubsy line, none of it has been very constructive.  I can hear Chet reciting the prissy emails to me now: "Physician, heal thyself."  My response: "Chet, type in 'Whatever, fag' then period then hit send."  But since since you asked, in a way that made me think of the entire insufferable fucking cast of M.A.S.H. [Note to Rich 'Zdim' Carlson: screw you, too - ed], I'm gonna tell you what you need to do to fix both Rune and all the games that it's exactly like.  Which is all the games.

First of all, do you see the title graphic for this page? Remember how in Star Wars 4 there was a new hope?  If so, step 1 is to forget fucking Star Wars.  Enough Star Wars already.  Everyone's sick of Star Wars.  The only ones who aren't sick of it are the

Page 5 Logo Postmortem:
"What Went Wrong"

  1. It was supposed to be Page 4.
    But that didn't work out.  It would have made more sense, though.
  2. Should have tried harder to find a Star Wars font.
    I'm sure they're out there, but I honestly just ran out of time before I could even look. I used the Battlestar Galactica font that came with our scanner.
  3. How do you make text look like it's fading off into the distance?
    Because I honestly have no idea. I italicized the words so that they'd at least be tilted a little bit. 
kind of people who are still writing detailed technical criticisms of TV's Small Wonder.  In other words, lunatics.  How did Star Wars effect Rune?  I'm not your Psychic Friend.  I have no idea.  But I'm sure it somehow contributed to the grey repetitive blandness of the whole thing.   Okay, how about this:  A priest, a dog, and Tim Gerritsen walk into a bar and see a Rune level designer at work.  The Priest says, "Good Lord, man, why did you make a hundred sewer levels?"  The level designer says, "Those aren't sewers, they're dwarven aqueducts!  Oh God, who am I kidding, I was thinking about wookies and I guess I blacked out."

There's been some discussion in our forums regarding the viability of an undergound, independent game development scene.  That inspired me to use my Internet skills to try to find some fresh blood for the industry - somebody who might have just one good new idea.  Mostly, what I found were dedicated, misguided garage programmers rewriting either Asteroids or Arkanoid with 3D bricks and rocks.  Granted, the results are often more fun than Rune, but that's not the kind of revolutionary thinking I'm looking for.   However, I did find a few notable gems.  Human Head should hire all of these people to consult with their accomplished, but ingenuity-crippled technicians.

If you think this screenshot looks like I'm piloting a helicopter while simultaneously hanging out its door attempting to handgun a dog, congratulations!  You're more or less right.  Welcome to the "new, 3 dimensional, super-futuristic helicopter equipped" world of 3D Helicopter Coyote Hunter!  Here's an exciting excerpt from the game's press kit:

Learn to fly your realistic helicopter and practice your shooting, flame throwing and ray gunning in the coyote arcade mode before you proceed to the do-or-die missions ... where there will be no margin for error. Not only do the coyotes become more cunning, but also you will have to deal with rabid, mutated, and vampire coyotes; and even coyotes wearing bulletproof vests!

Crazy?  You betcha.  But in an industry where putting a fucking viking hat on the orc sewer invader is now considered "innovative" [Kudos to FiringSquad for being such idiots - ed], I'll fly my futuristic helicopter, shoot at dogs, and be thankful for any faint glimmer of creativity.

This one's a little harder to explain.   It's called Action Mole Whacker 3D.  The idea of taking Whack-A-Mole and putting it in 3D isn't very innovative on its own.  But if you look at the right side of the image, you'll notice a hot guy wearing a thong.  You may also notice that his forearms appear to be made out of steel.  He claps every time you smash a mole with your mallet.  I can't tell you why this is so great, but it is.  It shouldn't work, but it does.  The authors of Action Mole Whacker 3D have taken what used to be a simple test of mole killing skills and cleverly turned it into a desperate attempt to gain the approval of thong-man.   By all rights, this should be the worst goddamn game ever created.  But instead, it's great and really original.  I'm not saying Rune needs a man in a thong - God knows action game designers already wear their muscular man fetishes on their frilly sleeves.  But this kind of risk-taking is sorely missing from mainstream game design.  Also note the "Mole Activity" counter at the bottom of the screen.  Next time you're working out the details of your awful new game and somebody says "let's have a meter, you know, like a rage meter."  Use "Mole Activity Counter" as inspiration to try to think of something better.

"It's the year 2078, the government had broken down after the third world war, and crime is higher than it ever was. A powerful organization called "The Hardcorps" was founded under the lead of a famous billionaire, and they were the only ones who could uphold law and order in these times. But it is a hard fight. More and more people died. Big firms are trying to get more and more power. They engage mercenaries to take control of areas, just a territorial war between theese firms. And between the sides, there is one man, Jake D. Fense, who decided to end this. And the day has come, the day of judgement. There's a bank robbery going on in the Neo LA Central bank, it's possibly organized by Yamamoto, a powerful firm, which would not mind killing some people just to get more power. Hardcorps was engaged to stop this robbery. Jake D. Fense looks and loads, ready for anything. And thats exactly what he should expect, anything..."

All developers should download the D-Fense demo right now.  Play it for fifteen seconds.  Now ask yourself, is my game perfectly, but inadvertently satirized by the unforgettable first fifteen seconds of D-Fense: The Hardcops?  If the answer is yes, it's time to make a different game.

When I was nine, my parents had a friend whose two year old daughter Carrie had Pica.   I was over at their house one day, and I walked into the kitchen to pour myself a glass of apple juice.  As I entered the room, I saw Carrie sitting in the cat box.   She was satisfying her Pica-induced urges by picking cat turds out of the sand and dropping them into her mouth, as if the kitty-toilet was a giant box of chocolates.   Somewhere around page two, I had some idea of how that story related to Rune, but now I can't remember what it was.  Consider it a little bonus for having read this far.  Shame on you, Human Head.  The end.

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