By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on May 26, 2017
Has it already been two weeks since our last Timemachine?! Damn, time flies when you're having fun... not to mention one drink after another in a more or less continuously fashion! So how did this drinking binge come about? Well, that is easy to explain. You see, Dennis and I were having a few problems in communicating with each other, so I thought it was high time for a team-building experience. We looked through a few leaflets but quickly decided that the activities proposed in them were not really our style. Trekking through a forest with only a can of water and a box of matches did not really suit our needs at that moment. Furthermore, I am more than sure we would find a way to, completely by accident of course, burn the entire forest down in the blink of an eye!
So we did the one thing any sane person would do; we stocked up on booze, cigarettes and women and locked ourselves in our beautiful, albeit slightly damaged from our latest mishaps, HQ and started drinking and talking about our problems. It seemed we always managed to find new problems to solve, so we had to order a new batch of drinks after only one day. But, I am relieved to say, we managed to solve all our problems over the last two weeks. After a great deal of (manly) crying and hugging (most of which was with the women, although I am pretty sure Dennis and I did shake hands once), we felt we were ready to work together once again and go on a whole new series of adventures!
Speaking of adventures, it is time to go on one right now! And when I say adventure, I mean adventure. In this week's Timemachine, we make a short hop through time and go back in time for a measly ten years. This is mainly because I am still a little intoxicated and don't want to run into any Timepolice on the way to our destination. So buckle up and come with me as we go back to 2007 and look for a game that in many ways helped define the action/adventure genre: Uncharted!
Released in 2007 by Naughty Dog and Sony for the, then still brand new, Playstation 3, Uncharted is a third-person action/adventure game that introduces us to one of my all-time favorite game heroes, Nathan Drake. When we meet Nathan, he is on the verge of opening what is believed to be the coffin of another legendary explorer, Sir Francis Drake. Nathan is being accompanied on this trip by a female news reporter named Elena Fisher. When they open the coffin, it turns out to be empty, apart from a small metal box, containing the long lost diary of Francis Drake. This marks the start of a treasure hunt like we had never seen in a game up till then.
Quickly after retrieving the diary, Drake and Elena are being set upon by modern-day pirates and they'll have to fight to stay alive. This fight serves as an introduction to the controls and basic fighting techniques of the game. It explains how to shoot firearms and how to knock out enemies, using melee attacks. Although they manage to defeat most of the pirates that attacked them, their boat catches fire and looks ready to explode. This is when Nathan's closest friend and ally, Victor Sullivan, or Sully for short, comes in and saves the day! After rescuing Drake and Elena, Sully takes them to a small port, where Drake shows him Sir Francis' diary. They decide to leave Elena behind, which is really not a very nice thing to do, and start their search for El Dorado.
This is the start of a grand adventure that will lead us through dense jungles, dark caves, crumbling ruins and even a hidden Nazi research station in the pursuit of the legendary treasure of El Dorado. Naturally, any game of this magnitude needs a villain, and in Uncharted, this role is taken by two guys: The enigmatic Gabriel Roman and his right-hand man, Atoq Navarro. You seem Sully has a bit of a gambling problem and has foolishly told Roman about their quest for the treasure. Being the bad guys they are, Roman and Navarro follow Drake and Sully into the Amazon and steal the treasure map from them, shooting Sully in the chest and forcing Drake to run for his life. After escaping the bad guys while being forced to leave Sully behind, Drake runs into Elena again, who gives him a good smack across the face for leaving her stranded.
Notwithstanding their differences, the two join forces and try to find a way off the island and away from Roman and his men. To do so, they will have to face and overcome a lot of natural dangers and armed men alike, solve a couple of environmental puzzles and find a means of transportation. You must make your way through the game by walking running, climbing and dangling, using the environment as your personal playground. After a while, Elena and Drake end up using Sully's old plane to escape but, as one might suspect, things go awry very quickly and the plane is shot down, forcing Drake and Elena to parachute out. The duo get separated as they are both blown in opposite directions and Drake sets out to find Elena and then get the hell off this island!
What I absolutely love about Uncharted are its characters. Nathan Drake is a witty anti-hero and reminds me, in many respects, of another one of my favorite action heroes, Indiana Jones. The same kind of humor that can be found in the Indiana Jones movies, can also be found in the Uncharted games. Drake's one-liners can match Indy's any day of the week. Apart from that, both men are somewhat over-confident, but somehow manage to get the job done. And, of course, they both get the girl!
Back in 2007, Uncharted looked like no game I had ever played. The lush environments, brilliant lighting and grand vistas, that still look amazing, even ten years later, helped the game create more of a movie-feel than any other game before. This feeling was greatly enhanced by the intricately woven story and the fun and truly well-written characters. It is not very hard to connect with the person Nathan Drake, with all his flaws and bravado, but with a solid golden heart that is firmly in the right place! The lovely Elena Fisher is a constant voice of reason, but has an adventurous side of her own. She really is the Yin to Drake's Yang. And then there's Sully; he's the cement that keeps everything together, not to mention a fantastic character! Because the game has been around for ten years, I feel I can reveal that Sully isn't dead after all and rejoins Drake and Elena in a later point in the game, completing our fun and adventurous group!
What the people at Naughty Dog managed to do, was to build a foundation where upon three more Uncharted games would be built. Even their widely praised game The Last of Us would have probably never been made if it wasn't for the wise-cracking Drake, the charming Elena and the cheeky Sully. Uncharted is one hell of an adventure, featuring just enough supernatural stuff to make it larger than life, while managing to not have a protagonist with super powers. It is guaranteed to keep you enjoying yourself for hours on end, without ever feeling repetitive or tedious. And that is, if I may say so, not an easy task!
So, this brings us to the end of this week's Big Red Timemachine! Man, I feel great. Even my hangover is gone and I feel I'm ready to take on the world, figuratively speaking of course. Now, if I could just find Dennis, we could start making plans for expanding our HQ. I mean, if we have to rebuild part of it, why not just make it bigger?! Now, where is he? Oh, I know; he's probably crying (in a very manly fashion) at his super-duper computer, which I kind of wrecked a couple of weeks back, completely by accident. Okay, okay, I did smash it with a machete. But I did say I was really, really sorry, so I hope he won't keep moping about it for too long!
Well, that's all the time we have for this week! I wish you all the best and can only hope you'll join us in two weeks, when Dennis is going to take you on a brand new trip through time and space. And, always remember, we're professionals here at the Big Red HQ, so don't try this at home!
Naughty Dog & Sony Computer Entertainment