Most Broken Game: The First Hour

Written by Phil Hartup

September 6, 2010 // 9:11 a.m.

Tags: #boiling-point #bugs #funny #most-broken-game #retro

Survival in open world adventure games like Boiling Point can be a tricky and even somewhat distasteful business. I remember being put off by having to acquire my first suit of basic armour off a still-warm corpse in Oblivion, for example. Some might argue that walking a mile in another man’s shoes is a way to empathy and understanding, but I’d wager they didn’t envisage killing the owner of said shoes and stealing all his belongings as a prefix to that meaningful walk.

In Boiling Point you don’t need to steal clothes, but you still end up doing your fair share of scavenging. New players start facing the world of Realia with just a basic pistol and a knife – and to give you an idea of how useless those weapons are I’ll explain that your pistol only carries five bullets. It may look like an awesomely powerful Desert Eagle, but you’ll find you need to reload at least once even if you’re shooting at an unarmed Old Granny.
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Getting started, the first thing to do is decide whether to pursue the main plot or get tooled up in order to handle the world and the critters therein. Personally, I’ve always liked to give the plot a sniff, just to see what’s what, and sure enough just meandering to the first waypoint and chatting with the angry editor of the local newspaper yielded me a free car straightaway. People are nice like that in Realia. Still, the easiest way to accumulate weaponry in Boiling Point, short of buying them, is still the same as it is in most RPGs– i.e. looting. So, like some kind of Second Amendment Ray Mears, I set out into the jungle looking for guns, ammunition and other useful objects.

Most Broken Game: The First Hour Most Broken Game: The First Hour of Boiling Point
Hello and welcome to Realia! Would you like a car? Have mine!

Sure enough, my crappy little car didn’t have to get far into the jungle before I happened upon a battle between government forces and local hoodlums. Gun battles in Boiling Point are sadly not the most exciting things in the world, nor do they really create the kind of fear that they ought to, particularly if you’re not the one getting shot at. So, I wandered over to the shootout and set about searching the dead bodies right in the middle of the crossfire. It was the only way to keep things interesting.

It’s worth mentioning though that Boiling Point does have measures in place to screw you over for your evil, looting ways. That assault rifle wielding NPC might be able to blaze away like a lunatic for as long as it takes before somebody puts a bullet through his dome, but the second he’s down and you get to search him it turns out that he was only carrying about a dozen rounds. Oh, and his rifle is mysteriously about to fall apart too. It’s as if everybody you loot, had they not died at the instant they did, would have run out of ammo or been decapitated by their own exploding rifle within seconds.

Despite these problems it didn’t take long to amass a small arsenal of basic weapons, as well as vodka, doughnuts and meds. Just the sort of gear you’d expect to find a soldier carrying into battle, basically.

Things got really interesting though when a jaguar appeared and began to close in on my location, apparently offended by desecration of the dead. With all the other soldiers around I thought I’d be OK, but sadly this was not to be. Both the army soldiers and the local mobsters refused to acknowledge the beast's existence, even as it started to pick them off one by one. I decided the only thing to do in this situation was protect the incompetent louts, lest the beast eat them all then come after me.

Most Broken Game: The First Hour Most Broken Game: The First Hour of Boiling Point
Random acts of jungle violence

Unfortunately the cone of fire on my semi-broken M16 wasn’t up to much and while my first burst killed the jaguar easily, it also winged the soldier it was chewing on. I hoped he’d be happy I saved him from the jungle cat, but the stray shot actually shifted my relationship with his faction to the extent that pretty much every sentient being in the jungle now wanted to kill me. They had a pretty good go at it too.

The damage system in Boiling Point is somewhat akin to Fallout 3 in that it is location-based and affects both your skills and abilities. Get shot in the arm and you’ll be worse with guns, get shot in the leg and you’ll be unable to run as fast. Legging it through the jungle, I somehow managed to discover the effect of being shot in every body part at once while somehow also managing to not die. I’d have been proud of that if I wasn’t preoccupied with getting back to the car at the pace of a drunk snail on a running machine.

It soon became obvious that healing would be required, if only to restore use to my legs such that I could step on the accelerator. Where to turn though? Rummaging through my inventory I tried painkillers and local herbs, but what turned out to be most effective was the doughnuts. In a moment of gaming surrealism on a par with regaining full health by digging a whole roast turkey out of a bin in Streets of Rage 2, I found that a fistful of doughnuts cures not only hunger, but multiple gunshot wounds and broken bones. Before turning my computer off for the night I wrote a bizarre note to myself in the style of a crazed investor.

Sell Guns. Buy Doughtnuts.

Boiling Point: Road to Hell was a FPS/RPG released in 2005 which is remembered here for both its ambition and the bugginess of the original release.

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