By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on May 15, 2019
Hello again, dear readers. It's your pal Sadhonker, returning to you with yet another thrilling episode of the Big Red Timemachine! I can safely say that it has been absolute mayhem around here, ladies and gentlemen; somehow, our Big Red HQ has gone rogue and turned on us. You may recall that, last week, Dennis was chased by an evil iteration of Wreck-it Ralph. Well, over the course of the last two weeks, things have gotten increasingly worse...
I don't know about you, but being chased by a flock of Disney princesses is something I have dreamed of for years. But alas, these cartoon cuties weren't chasing me because of my boyish charm and stunning good looks. If that were the case, there would at least be the promise of a seriously fun albeit exhausting night. But there's just something about twelve women, armed to the teeth, chasing you with murder in their big eyes that is kind of off-putting. I suspect it's all the technology Disney inherited when buying Star Wars that messed up their systems... Damn you, George Lucas!
Nevertheless, we seem to have solved the problem for now. When I caught up with Dennis two weeks ago, he was hard at work devising a machine that would disrupt the command signals that the security AI of the park was sending out. After a few failed tests, followed by the inevitable running away from murderous cartoons, we decided that it was time for some old-fashioned Big Red Timemachine action. Long story short, we infiltrated the security HQ and gave that AI a piece of our minds... and various blunt and sharp weaponry. This at least bought us some time to form a battle plan. Because, as you're used to from the two of us, we absolutely refuse to go down without a fight...
But enough of that for now! It's time to go back in time and revisit a game of yore. Today, we're setting our sights on the year 2011. Yes, I know that's bending our own rules of only reviewing games of 10 years and older a bit, but sometimes you just have to roll with the punches and throw certain rules overboard. Seeing as how we're somewhat short on time because of the Disney security AI that is already trying to rebuild itself, this was the only course of action left to us. This is also the reason why this Big Red Timemachine is blasting off today in stead of on Friday, like it usually does. Whatever the case may be, it's time to take the role of a guy called Nicholas Raine; a soldier who, just like us, will not go down without a fight. It's time for some Rage!
Rage was developed by id Software and published by Bethesda Softworks in October of 2011 for PC, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. Rage's core gameplay consisted of FPS portions, interspersed with battle-racing sections. The game featured an elaborate post-apocalyptic open world in which mutants, bandits and other survivors are constantly at each other's throats. It's a harsh world, extremely lethal to anyone who isn't willing to fight for his or her very existence. On top of that, the game featured an interesting story and more missions than you could shake a stick at, even if the stick in question was really large and riddled with rusty nails.
The place is Earth; the date is August 23, 2029. A huge asteroid, labeled 99942 Apophis, is about to violently collide with earth and unleash a worldwide cataclysm. In view of this impending doom, a massive worldwide initiative called the Eden project has been underway for quite some years. During this massive undertaking, lead by General Martin Cross, Huge Arks have been built and filled with a selection of Earth's population deep underground with the goal of rebuilding the Earth after the effects of the catastrophic events following the asteroid's impact have subsided. The people who weren't lucky enough to get their hands on a coveted place on the Arks, huddled together in settlements and tried to make the best of their lives on the now ruined planet Earth.
You however, as Nicholas Raine, are one of the lucky people aboard just such an Ark. Sadly, mistakes have been made in the rushed attempt to get so many Arks ready in such a short time, resulting in some of these massive ships to malfunction. So, 106 years after the asteroid impacted, you wake up in a heavily damaged Ark, only to find your fellow Ark-mates dead. As you stumble out into the open, you are immediately attacked by bandits. It seems that rebuilding Earth hasn't entirely gone to plan. I mean, come on, the planet has been buggered up beyond all recognition. If I had a dog with me, I would probably be telling him that I don't think we're in Kansas anymore...
Luckily, you are saved by the leader of a nearby settlement; a guy called Dan Hagar. He provides you with your first weapon and vehicle and sends you into the world to fight for your very existence. Bit by bit, it becomes clear that the "good" general Martin Cross wasn't the savior he pretended to be. Instead of focusing on saving as much of humanity as possible, the general sabotaged the Eden project and, in doing so, made certain that the only Arks that were to emerge were populated with people loyal to him. This way, when the time to rebuild would finally arrive, he would have an army at his disposal and would be the absolute highest authority in the world. The rest of the Arks were to be kept locked down underground indefinitely, neatly doing away with anyone who would oppose him.
The malfunctioning of some of the other Arks threw a spanner in Cross' works however, because now, not only his troops were waking up, but his opponents were emerging as well. Now, these people weren't overly fond of the general's plans and starting to form a kind of resistance. Alas, the general's troops, now known as the aptly named Authority, are far more technological superior as the other survivors, and are threatening to overrun all pockets of resistance. This is where you come in. A desperate plan to thwart the Authority's plans has been formed, but in order for it to succeed, the still dormant Arks will have to be raised. A good plan, right? Well, yes, but there's one problem; the only place from where said Arks can be raised is Capital Prime. This sprawling city is firmly in the grip of the Authority and practically impossible to infiltrate.
Luckily, you have been injected with something called Nanotrites before being sent into hibernation. These Nanotrites provide you with superhuman abilities. These abilities are exactly what makes you a threat to the Authority, so they will be actively hunting you. So, for now, you prowl the Wasteland, in search of jobs to do and slowly upgrading your equipment so you will be ready to eventually take on the Authority and save the remaining arks, as well as what's left of the world!
And what a world it was! The post-apocalyptic Earth looked awesome, as did its inhabitants. Each group of people had its own style and appearance, ranging from the Ark survivors who looked slightly disheveled but pretty normal to the bandits with their punk look and predisposition to be blatantly violent. Next to these cool characters, there were the Authority troops; a high-tech military looking group of individuals that formed a force to be reckoned with. Especially the survivors and bandits looked like they were heavily inspired by characters from Mad Max 2, while the Authority wouldn't have looked out of place in movies like Stormship Troopers, Equilibrium or even Edge of Tomorrow.
The balance between vehicular combat and pure FPS gameplay made Rage a truly interesting game to play. When in your car, you felt quite invincible, as opposed to when you were creeping through narrow hallways filled with all kinds of murderous psychopaths and mutants. Your main goal was to earn money which, in turn could be used to upgrade your car or your other gear. Apart from the main missions, each settlement you visited offered you numerous opportunities to help out the people who lived there and provided the game with a lot of side missions that each came with their own specific reward.
I have played Rage time and time again over the last eight years and it never fails to captivate. It's a truly great game that offers more than enough hours of playing time, challenging fights, beautiful backdrops and awesome characters. I can definitely recommend playing Rage to anyone who is up for a fun and challenging shooter experience. Speaking of challenges, let's head back to our Big Red HQ to see if Dennis still has everything under control.
So that's it for today, my friends. I now have to return to the real world an start planning our strategy for securing the future of our HQ. Incidentally, we brought in the now pretty docile princesses for... let's call it serious questioning, shall we? I am somewhat wary of concealed weapons, however, so I think, just to be on the safe side, a strip search will be in order! Now, where did I put that bottle of massaging oil... I mean, of course, my interrogation tools! Damn, I really have to stop doing that...