Crispy Gamer

Games for Lunch: Pain

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Developer: Idol Minds

Publisher: Sony

Release Date: Nov. 29, 2007

System: PS3 (PSN download)

ESRB Rating: T

Official Web site

0:00 I've been excited about this game since I saw the bone-crunching demo at the last E3. Haven't had a chance to sit down with it until now, though.

0:08 These first eight minutes were spent downloading and installing a "Version 1.5 update" for the game. This is becoming a bad trend.

0:09 Some generic metal riffs play over a title screen that looks like it was drawn on lined notebook paper. "P-A-I-N. PAIN!" the background singers chant. It feels like my emo high school days all over again.

0:10 The single-player mode is locked? Really? I guess I have to go through the "crash course" first. I probably would anyway, but still, I don't like being forced.

0:11 "Welcome to a Crash Course on Pain." Is that a threat? Basic controls: Aim with the analog stick, fire yourself with the X button, and try to cause pain and destruction. Simple enough.

0:12 Whoops. Forgot to account for gravity, so I miss my first shot by a country mile.

0:13 My second launch knocks me off a fire escape and into a window. Yowch! "Pain good!" my character says. Er, if you say so.

0:14 I hit a mime. Hitting mimes is funny.

0:15 I like how the game shows where I'm going to land, so I don't have to do estimated gravity calculations in my head. I also like the explosions that send me flying a second time in one launch. BOOM!

0:16 Oh, nice: I can nudge my flight after launch using the control stick. The adjustments can end up being quite significant. This makes things quite a bit more interesting.

0:17 I feel kind of bad knocking this guy to pieces, but he seems to enjoy it well enough. Then he pipes up with: "I do this, why?" Er, you tell me?

0:20 This part of the tutorial won't let me change my aim, so I have no idea how to hit a green box that's sitting just a few feet to my right. The mid-air adjustments aren't enough. Jeez, just let me aim already.

0:21 Ohhhhh, I can't control the aim, but I can lower my power to have more nudge time before the box. Well, why didn't they say so?

0:22 After I hit stuff, I can use the "Ooch" function to tweak my landing for "NEW PAIN!" Bonus points if you recognized that as a "Super Dave" reference.

0:24 Now my character is claiming unconvincingly that breaking every bone in his body "Didn't Hurt!" Is this guy schizophrenic or something?

0:26 I rack up a massive score by knocking a giant bowling ball off its bowling alley sign and into an elevated subway train. Plus, I get run over by multiple cars on the way down! BONUS!

0:28 Stunt man quote of the moment: "Hurt me, HURT ME!!!" Maybe he's not schizophrenic. Maybe he's just a masochist.

0:29 Shaking the controller gets me a one-time-per-shot "Super Ooch" to redirect my post-hit moves.

0:30 I can do poses in the air? What is this, Tony Hawk's Pro Pain?

0:31 Okay, these poses are hilarious. I especially like the Superman flight stance and the Chun Li spinning helicopter kick. Meanwhile, the game reaches new levels of class with a "Watch your crotch" bonus. Nice.

0:32 I see the point of teaching me how to hold poses, but making me hold each one for three seconds is a bit of overkill. I get it already! Let me move on!

0:33 I can grab on to things mid-flight and then fall down with them. Nice touch. I especially enjoy grabbing bombs and launching them mid-flight for additional damage. I'm surprised at the depth that they've squeezed into such a simple concept.

0:38 Well, it only took 38 minutes to unlock the game I freakin' own! Time for the single-player mode. "Mime toss" sounds fun because, as we've established, hurting mimes is funny.

0:39 So there's one character initially available, one to unlock and four that I can buy with real money? No, thanks.

0:40 Apparently I have to launch myself INTO the mid-air mime, then have that mime break some glass panes. I can't break the glass myself. That would be too easy, I suppose?

0:43 Using some good grabbing and OOCHing, I break all the panes of glass in 1:26. I know I can do better.

0:46 1:01:58 on the second try. I blame it on the bad grabbing controls. Half the time it doesn't register that I want to grab the mime. Annoying.

0:47 The mime jumps from "Do your worst" to "Please don't hurt moi" remarkably quickly.

0:48 On to Spank the Monkey mode, which has you spanking monkeys hidden around the city.

0:52 After hitting 18 monkeys, I unlock the double monkey round. This is surprisingly fun.

0:55 The final monkey can only be hit by aiming slightly above and to the right and sliding down a fire escape. Clever! Unfortunately, it took me a whole minute to figure this out, so I get a bronze medal.

0:59 My final moments are spent trying to get run over by a train in pandemonium mode. Try saying that about any other game. I dare you.

Would I play this game for more than an hour? Yes.


Why? It's a surprisingly deep stress reliever, even if it makes me feel bad about myself.

This column is based on a downloadable copy of the game provided by the publisher.

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