The following [which is sure to be a few meaty paragraphs by the time I've stopped madly tapping away at the keyboard and cleaving off any unwanted mind dribbles and grammatical mistakes (well *some* of them...)] is my thoughts on games that play like 80's action movies along with 80's action movies themselves…
80's action movies, like most things you either love them or you hate them. Granted I'm not talking about every 80's action movie, only the greats (at least in my mind!) such as Predator, Terminator, Alien (not 80's but close enough '79) and The Thing. I love these movies because well... they suck. But they suck in a good way (sounds dirty now that I've typed it down but it wasn’t intended to so lets move on…) you’re probably thinking, "What is this kid smoking?" Nothing, I can tell you that much. I will also tell you why I think they suck (in a good way!). They suck because they almost always feature the stereotypical archetypal heroes such as the macho man who blows away bad guys and women’s bras. A guy who is eight feet tall, ripped to the bone and unlike most of us lads he has abs - instead of ab. This doesn't make a movie suck, but once you place the said character in a situation, surrounded by your stereotypical characters, bad guys and environment. Who all proceed to spit out stereotypical lines, blasting thousands of bullets into said bad guys without reloading; all the while huge explosions go off around them it kind of does. The bad guys fire happily away at our hero, who is standing out in the open not too fussed about the obscenities and 50 caliber bullets coming at him. This all makes for great fun to watch if you do it in the right mood, but definitely not the greatest film experience. For example the first time I watched predator, I watched it with my cousin. He hated the film because he watched it as a serious movie; I loved it because I laughed at its faults as though it was in good humour. At the one liners like, "If it bleeds, we can kill it. " I loved the over the top final fight scene and the nuclear explosion that our hero endured and seemingly shrugged off only to ride off into the horizon.
In the case of Alien, Ripley is kind of a macho woman (she probably had abs...) but also a strong feminine character/leader type. Alien is a serious movie that has great tension and some genuinely scary scenes - but at the same time, the gore, the situation and the monster are over the top and fantastically so. Who doesn't love a huge, strong creature with razor sharp pointy teeth, a deadly whip-like tail and acid for blood? In the Thing, the creatures showcased are incredible. They are gory, have dodgy special effects and make crazy noises. Too bad their human counter parts are stereotypical like the strong leader, the coward, the drunkard, the soldier who all say the standard Hollywood(y) things in an over the top situation. Before I ramble on for another paragraph I'd like to get to my point. Games that offer either over the top gameplay, larger than life characters and ginormous guns and monsters are memorable and a real treat to play if you play them in the right mood. Old games like Duke Nukem 3D, Unreal Tournament, Serious Sam and Abe’s Exodus are examples from my childhood memories of fun games that play like 80's action movies (Abe’s not so much, but it kind of has that 'Alien' intrigue to it, its danger and genius). They are memorable because, unlike games that take themselves seriously (which I love in their own right, don’t get me wrong) the characters, the world they live in and the ridiculous action that surrounds them is so over the top its good fun to play.
These kinds of games and movies are brilliant to play and watch when you just want to relax after a long day at work/school. They offer to a certain degree mindless entertainment, which stays in your thoughts long after your done with them. Its these kind of movies and games that most people know of because they are the most memorable. Seriously who do you know who games and hasn't seen The Terminator and Predator, who hasn't played unreal tournament and Duke Nukem 3D (who were alive and gaming within a few years of its release!). Few people I suspect. Who could forget such vulgar creatures such as the Thing, the Face Hugger and Arnold Schwarzenegger! Hopefully this blog/rant has made you want to revisit some of those movies and games, like it has for me. On a final note, I say bring on more games that play like 80's action movies, we have enough serious games to occupy us in the mean time!