Friday, 22 April 2011

The Terror

Genre: Third Person Shooter/Real Time Strategy/Simulation
Format: PS3, Xbox 360, PC 
PEGI: 18
Publisher: A&E

The Terror Game Cover
The lengthy historical novel 'The Terror' by Dan Simmons, which proffers a fantastical and horrific slant on the doomed Franklin Expedition, is brought to vivid gaming life by 'Obscure Novel to Game Specialists', A&E. 

Centred mostly around the two ice bound ships HMS Terror and HMS Erebus, the game follows the novel quite closely. You monitor the running of the ships, controlling rationing and dealing with potential mutiny whilst  keeping one eye on the menace that lurks on the ice: The Terror itself.

The Terror (not the ship) is a huge, shaggy Polar Bear type thing that turns out to be a demonic creature from Eskimo mythology called the Tuunbaq. There is no killing this monster, so when you control a member of the crew who is being menaced by it you have to try to hide or escape rather than fight. However, if you can muster enough armed crew you can scare the beast off with musket and shotgun fire.

Ice Master Blanky and Tuunbaq
Ice Master Blanky Chased Into the Rigging by the Tuunbaq (double click to enlarge)

The game is a mix of Real Time Strategy (the movement of crew, rationing and discipline), Third Person Shooter (not much shooting, more running) and The Sims.

Ultimately, the game is let down by the depressing subject matter. The crews of both ships eventually die and the only survivor (in the novel and the game) is Captain Crozier who 'goes native' with the Eskimo girl who appears early in the game and turns out to be the Tuunbaq's keeper/nemesis.

VT Rating: 7/10

Friday, 15 April 2011

Thieves Like Us

Genre: Thievery
Format: Various
PEGI: Teenagers +
Publisher: Not Known
Strutting straight from the feverish nightmare of a tabloid newspaper editor comes this new, controversial and immediately very popular website.

Thieves Like Us (or TLU as it likes to refer to itself) is a criminal's dream. Burglars (and potential burglars) have to only enter a few questions about their location and thieving skillset to be presented with a selection of properties that match their ability level and desires. Utilising Google Maps, the website shows the frontage of the property and the rest of the information (ingress points, hazards etc) is supplied by users and displayed on subsequent screens.
TLU Homepage - click to enlarge
The 'target' properties are (supposedly) selected on the basis of a complex algorithm that searches the database of previously looted properties and matches them against your selected criteria and skill levels. The database of properties is, reportedly, constantly growing thanks to updates from users who have logged properties that they have either burgled or 'sized up'.

The website also boasts a thriving and vibrant Forum where all manner of criminal activities are discussed, from burglary to shoplifting. It's all here.

Thanks to advertising, the website is free to use. Sponsors include Aviva Home Insurance, Yale Locks and Chubb Security.

We cannot see why anybody would want to use such a website, but if you are interested, check it out:

VT Rating: 7/10