CID The Dummy
Developer: Twelve Interactive
Publisher: Oxygen Games
Release Date: 08/04/2009
Despite the fact that there hasn’t been a commercial featuring the Crash Test Dummies in awhile, or at least I can’t remember seeing one, it is odd that a developer would try to make a game based off of that property, license or no. Still a game based on the movie Clueless was released not too long ago, and Pimp My Ride for the DS just came out, so maybe there is some kind of nostalgic demand for games like these.
Regardless, one thing must be immediately made clear: if you thought the story for such games like Bioshock and Braid were riveting and deep, then you will be amazed at the depth of the plot that is in CID The Dummy. You see, on the surface it appears to be quick cash in on an existing intellectual property without actual ownership of said property, but in fact it is a metaphor for the argument about individualism versus collectivism.
Consider the main character for a moment. CID is a crash test dummy. He and his fellow dummies know that their existence has one solitary purpose; to lead self destructive lives in order to preserve the safety of their fellow citizens. This takes place in a future society where everything must be checked for danger, including mundane items such as lemonade. CID, however, has dreams of doing something more than what he was designed for. When a fellow crash test dummy points out that he can just walk out of the factory, CID just stands there and mentions he doesn’t know what he would do other than being a test dummy.
It’s easy to see how this is a profound statement about the effect of social programming in a collectivist society. Here CID yearns for individuality, but can’t actually follow through on the thought because the idea of being something other than the role he was made for is just beyond him. Shortly after making the proclamations that he would like to be something other than what he was programmed to be, the creator and owner of CID, Professor Werken, yanks CID out of the world he knows and fits CID with a special prototype suit that increases CID’s every ability.
Professsor Werken then pulls CID into his lab to explain to him why he has been chosen to wear the ESS suit. He mentions that he has been observing CID and has heard his pleas to be something more than what he was designed for. Werken needs someone like CID at that moment to help rescue his daughter MIA who has gone missing. By giving CID the tools he needs to become more than the other crash test dummies, Werken obviously represents the ideals and concepts of Individualism. Here he takes CID out of his drone life and give him a new goal. His daughter MIA as the child of Individualism represents what is missing from every from the factory of drone workers who wants to be more than what they are, Hope.
What quickly becomes clear is that MIA isn’t just missing; she has been kidnapped. A former colleague of Prof. Werken named D-TROIT has taken her. If Werken represents Individualism, then D-TROIT, as the antagonist, must represent Collectivism, and that he does: he harbors anger at Werken for an accident that occurred while developing the ESS suit and injured him, and he is angry that Werken keeps the suit to himself and refuses to share it with anyone else. To that end, he has kidnapped MIA (ie Hope), so that he can force Werken to share the ESS technology. It is up to CID alone to fight against the forces of D-TROIT and rescue MIA and return her to the factory.
Has there been another game with such a compelling statement about the Individual versus the Collective?
Has there ever been a review as full of pretentious crap as this one? The only way this could sound more ridiculous is if I lost a few nights of sleep, became an insomniac and then tried to write this review tired and drunk.
Ignore everything I previously wrote. CID the Dummy is one of the worst games available for the PS2. Given the fact that the PS2 has a game library in the thousands, this is no small feat, and I congratulate everyone who helped make this possible.
Where to start….
The story is beyond awful. CID comes off at the beginning of the game as one of those guys who talks about doing stuff but never does. Everything boils down to “ËœGo save the princess’, except it is super awkward. It doesn’t help that whoever did Professor Werken’s voice acting is by far the worst voice actor I’ve ever had the pain of listening to. Seriously, the character sounds like a drag queen with a raspy voice after having one too many things shoved down their throat. Not that I’d know from experience or anything. That’s not even the strangest thing about this character; for some reason this character is animated to use “air quotes”Â with his fingers at times when it DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE.
Example: “My daughter has ‘gone missing'”. What is that supposed to mean? Maybe he suffers from full body Tourette’s Syndrome.
Besides that, his “daughter”Â turns out to be another crash test dummy. Hey buddy, BUILD ANOTHER ONE.
As if the game wasn’t bad enough to punish your ears (for real, skip every cutscene if you actually play this game), the game looks even worse. Maybe it’s because the lead development platform was the PSP, but hey, guess what, if you make a game for a small screen and stretch it out, it looks like crap. If you ever wondered what the term “Ëœjaggies’ meant when reading video game reviews, just pop this bad boy into your PS2. The game looks like a PS1 game. I’m not just saying that because I’ve been spoiled by the HD generation of games; this game looks bad even when compared to just about every other PS2 game. I thought I might need LASIK after all the sharp edges of every object in the game shredded my eyes.
The music in the game is the least offensive thing about the whole presentation, and even that’s mediocre.
Still, as bad as it is to listen and look at the game, that’s nothing compared to actually playing it. Some genius decided that a game that has enemies and obstacles in 3 dimensions should only have a 2D side scrolling view. Again, probably so it would work on the PSP, but even then, I can’t imagine that it’s much more fun on that system. What this means is that that you might be facing an enemy or obstacle and punch/jump at/away from it, only to find out that it wasn’t in the direction you thought it was.
For some reason, in spite of this, the game has enemies that require several hits to kill and instant-kill obstacles. Oh, and the game has a set life limit that requires a full level reset when you lose all of your lives, as well as an unforgiving checkpoint system. Even when you are lined up with an enemy, the hit detection is off and the animation for punch combos isn’t timed well, which means enemies will get to hit you even when you think that they shouldn’t be able to. It’s safer to use the bazooka that shoots rubber pellets.
Actually, hold up. Let me interject my own review with a side rant: Why the does the BAZOOKA shoot rubber pellets? I mean the majority of the enemies are robots. Who shoots robots with rubber pellets? The enemies just disappear anyhow, instead of exploding into a shower of blood or robot parts, so I don’t understand why the game reassures the player that the BAZOOKA doesn’t shoot regular bullets, just rubber ones.
Side rant done.
Anyway, it is safer to use the ranged weapon…. except for the fact that, due to the 3D world in a 2D view thing, it’s hard to accurately shoot anything. So at CID’s disposal are two really poor ways of defeating all of the enemies, every one of which requires multiple hits to defeat.
Sounds about as fun as playing with a pissed off hedgehog, doesn’t it?
If the platforming didn’t suck, then maybe it would be worth dealing with, but even these parts are horrible. Jumping feels floaty and, due to the poor perspective, landing a jump right isn’t always easy. The developers also intentionally made this even more difficult with unkillable enemies near the start or finish of certain areas where you need to jump. Then there are areas that will kill CID off if you don’t time a jump right, and as I mentioned once you lose all lives then you have to start the whole area over.
Strangely, the developers included a bunch of useless abilities for CID. You can sneak, but the stealth parts are extremely limited and are overall completely pointless. You can run to break through barriers headfirst, but the only barriers that you do this to feel more like they’re in the way than an organic part of the level. There are different upgrades for the bazooka ammo that are only included for the most basic of puzzle solving. You can jump flip off of walls… if the game bothers to recognize the controller input at that moment.
The game breaks up levels by adding boss fights and areas where you have to drive a car. Unlike other boss battles, where you have to memorize a pattern in order to beat the boss, these bosses have no pattern and only reveal their weak spots randomly. The driving sections are such a waste of time that I’m not even sure why they added them. I’d write about them but I’m busy repressing the memory of ever playing them in the first place.
I think what I’m trying to say is DO NOT EVER PLAY THIS GAME. DO NOT BUY IT. DO NOT THINK ABOUT IT. The quicker it is ignored, then the quicker it can fade as a painful memory as one of the last, and one of the worst, games to have been released on the PS2.
Final Score: Awful Game
Short Attention Span Summary: