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 Post subject: A very special Planet Joker review
PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 6:53 am 

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Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 3237
Location: Huntsville, AL
Originally posted cha: ... post237874

When you think about the worst game ever made, what do you think of?

Some people think of Superman 64, which I have never played. Some think of the ill fated E.T. game which supposedly resides underground in a desert somewhere. Some people merely think of some game they really hate, regardless of its design merits.

Regardless of what you think, chances are, you're wrong. You're wrong, because you probably aren't one of the few unfortunate Saturn collectors who actually plunked down some money for this game:

I would also make note of those unfortunate enough to buy the game upon release at full price, but I feel fairly certain they committed suicide shortly thereafter.

How bad is Planet Joker? Well, I'll put it like this:
I'm fairly certain I have the highest score in the world for the game, because, I'm fairly certain I'm the only person who ever wasted the time it takes to 1CC the game. Mind you, I only tackled the 1CC out of pure morbid curiosity, and what I found at the end of that road was more bizarre, horrifying, and made less sense than anything I had seen in the medium prior. But, I'm getting ahead of myself now, so let me start at the beginning.

Planet Joker. The title screen. Here, you can choose whether you want to play the Normal Game, if you want to play the Time Attack, if you want the mess with the options, then there's some other mode, and finally, you are teased by a darkened "Boss Rush Mode" which makes the sound of a puppy dying with you try to select it. Foreshadowing? I like to think so.

So we jump into normal mode. Here you can select one of seven generic multicolored mechs.
Its the well-balanced blue mech.

And here's the "offence" heavy green mech. There's also two red mechs, a darker blue mech, a slightly darker blue mech, and another green mech. And once you beat the game, if memory serves correctly, you unlock the black mech.

Ok, so we choose our mech. I go for the blue mech, because its well balanced, and I don't think I could stand anything else. Who knows, maybe the darker blue mech turns Planet Joker into a AAA title? Maybe the green mech's "Thunder Laser" and "Round Shot" are far more impressive than the blue mech's plain "Laser" and "Shot Gun". The world may never know.

So we push on and are greeted by this loading screen:
Are you seriously playing this? Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

OK, so the lady giving us the "wtf" eyebrow isn't enough of a warning. But the following two things we see next definitely set the mood for the adventure:
If ever a screenshot screamed "GOTY", this kneeless mech would be it.

He looks how I feel.

Joy! And now the game begins!
Please note where my "just fired bullets" are, and where the mech is now. Planet Joker is the pioneer is "pause before moving bullets".

OK, so first we notice a few things:
1. We're attacking the ocean apparently.
2. This shmup has that weird isometric view thing that people generally don't like. Only now, its infinitely more horrid.
3. The controls... you know what? I can't even say this game has controls. You can move, you can shoot, you can bomb, and you can put up a shield. But you will not be doing any of these things well.
4. The graphics make the worst looking Atari Jaguar game look like Gears of War.

But the sound is OK. I mean, its not great, and it might just induce dementia. But its there ya know? Its one pillar of pure mediocrity in an ocean (literally) of suck. Of course, then we get "the laser".

Planet Joker also pioneers "pause before moving lasers". Maybe the "Thunder Laser" would work better?

Let me describe the laser for you:
Its easily the most powerful weapon I encountered in the game. You can down midbosses in seconds and bosses... well, I ASSUME if you fought a boss with the regular gun, they would NEVER die, so... the laser makes killing the bosses possible.

The downside, is that every time you shoot the laser, it sounds like someone is running their nails across a chalkboard. So you have a choice:
You can not kill anything with the pellet gun you start off with, you can brave the other weapon that sucks, or you can sit and suffer through with the laser.

Well, since I wanted to BEAT the game in order to review it, I suffered through the laser. ... I wish I had something witty to say about that, but... no. Just pain. Pain.

So we got this nifty laser in our magical isometric ocean battle, so surely NOTHING can stop us right? We should be destroying EVERYTHING that appears with our pixel-mesh laser o' doom right? Well, in theory, sure. In practice, no, because unfortunately Mr. Mech can only shoot at an angle, and as we can guess, this creates magical corners of safety for the bad guys.

The pilot of this enemy is very thankful that these mechs do not have joints.

So... we suffer through that. After killing a bunch of muddy looking blocks, we come to the first miniboss!

Yes, the first miniboss is a submarine that shoots Atari 2600 missiles at you. Thankfully, it goes down quickly and we move on.

I guess now would be a good time to go over Planet Joker's play mechanics (before the first boss), so here you go:
You have a lifebar (or shield as they call it). Its that weird sorta-circle in the bottom left. The yellow gauge above that is your shield strength, which surrounds you with a weird cone of pixel-mesh and makes you invincible. You can activate by holding down C. The little canisters with Cs on them, are your bombs. Also, a little fun fact, if you move to the edge of the screen (well, to the left/right edge or the bottom of the screen), your mech will start doing cartwheels in place. It will also do this while the game is loading after a miniboss or right before a boss.

So anyways, first boss!

Yes, it is the dreaded shovel toy from the Tonka line. It threatens the bridge we're following. Though the fight does get pretty "heated":
I really wish this was a Playstation exclusive. Oh, and there I am using that shield I mentioned earlier.

So we kill the first boss, we get bonuses for Destruction Rate, Shields left, and bombs. Then its on to level 2:
Apparently level 2 is about the blue mech's journey to pick up an Xbox360.

I really wish this part was a video or gif, so that you could all see that this circle of road to the right is SPINNING IN PLACE! I do not know what effect this is supposed to give off, but whatever it was, it FAILED.

Well, not much happens in level 2. You kill some stuff, you find the evil 360 of doom
Halo edition even.

and eventually fight the dreaded green and orange helicopter that protects this particular stretch of road (since level 1 was the ocean plus a different stretch of road. Lots of reoccuring themes in Planet Joker).
I would like to take this time to point out that you cannot pause during boss fights. So if the pictures come out "off", its because I'm trying to dodge horribly done attacks with a horribly controlled mech while I'm trying to take a picture with my cellphone.

So we kill the green helicopter. On to level 3!
Level 3 mostly looks like a strip mall or something. You fight these things at some point/

Well, once you kill the above enemies, you find yourself flying UP A BUILDING! So epic!

Once on top, you fight the dismembered-but-enlarged head of Johnny-5.

Who happens to have a bigger pixel-mesh laser than you do.

After scaling the building and killing that thing, we come to the third boss. A giant red mech, who instantly walks to the front of the screen, and shoots... out? I guess its trying to kill you personally for playing this long.
Red Mech: I can't get out of this game through the front!
Blue Mech: There's not an escape back here either! DAMMIT!

So we defeat* the red mech after a heated battle, that inolves him shooting in every direction except at you (my favorite part is when it creates a giant unanimated energy ball that just flies off screen right).

*I say defeat, because eventually the red mech just walks off smoking.

Now its time for level 4. Level 4 is quite interesting, because level 4 starts off by changing the camera view. Yes, for a few brief moments, the game becomes a traditional top down shooter.
Hey wait... this is normal?

Unfortunately, reality shatters when you fire your weapon:
A limp laser?


Yes, for the first moments of level 4, you are in a top down shooter, where you shoot as if you are still in an isometric shooter. As you can imagine, this results in a lot of enemies laughing their asses off as they safely fly by you, pointing and laughing all the way.
Hahahahaha! Look guys, he can only possibly kill one of us!

So... level 3 was flying through a strip mall and eventually up a building to kill a red mech right? Well, level 4 is flying through a city, then eventually another strip mall, and finally up a building AGAIN to kill a greenish mech.
I don't even want to know what this guy is getting ready for.

So after a heated battle with this guy, he flies away, the screen rumbles, and some anime scenes play out.
Apparently the phantom of the opera blew up the strip mall while we were fighting on top of the tower.

So level 5 starts off with you taking an elevator somewhere
At least no one suggested this part be playable.

and... you fight your way through some underground tunnels and lava

The triangle invasion must be stopped! At all costs!


Face the power of pixel-mesh!

And... once all is said and done, somehow you wind up on top of a tower, fighting across a pixel-mesh cylinder, and you eventually break it, and then move on to level 6.

To hell with your pixel-mesh road in the sky!

Level 6 is your standard fare. Underground base, etc. etc. etc. Here's pictures.
Evil red pyramids...

Look... its the boss of level 6... *yawn*

Now we reach level 7. The final level. Level 7 is interesting. First, apparently the bad guys realize you've almost beat the game, so a red alert is issued

and then the developers realize that you've almost beat the game. So THEY do something that broke my brain to first time I saw it. There are no words that can accurately describe the turn Planet Joker takes in the end, so let me SHOW you:

Yes... for the final fights of Planet Joker, the camera is BEHIND you. Do the controls change? No. Moving "up" just has you flying into the screen:

And trying to move "down" does this:

Yes, and look at my lasers!
Those little red squiggly lines you can barely see are my lasers.

So Naxat Soft was kind enough to give you a WARM UP fight against a giant bird before the final boss. You know, just so you can get used to the new camera angle! So thoughtful!
A most dangerous game of confusion and pain.

And then... finally, you face off against the large footed final boss, with the camera dutifully BEHIND YOU, and... here's that battle:
The final boss of Planet Joker... at this point, is there really anything else I can say?

And so you beat the game, get saluted
"Holy shit! Someone is actually seeing this screen!"

and finally, input the ole' initials.

And thats it. You've finally unlocked the black mech and Boss Rush Mode. The features so desperately needed to make Planet Joker Radiant Silvergun's equal are finally unlocked, and now you may proceed to enjoy this wonderous game!

No, not really. I've never even seen Boss Rush Mode and haven't played a second as the black mech. In the end, all you need to know is this:

Planet Joker is the pinnacle of suck. It has horrible controls, horrible graphics, horrible gameplay... fuck it, there AREN'T any redeeming qualities. Planet Joker is bad, and playing it should be considered cruel and unsual punishment.

And thats it, I have nothing else to say. Planet Joker is the worst game you will ever play. The end.

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