Let’s NEVER Talk About Live Wire

Live wire cover

I don’t exactly remember why I looked up this game or even remember why I remembered it. It took me a while to remind myself of the name of the game in the first place… Obviously I was in one those train-of-thought moments where a game reminds me of a game which reminds me of another one and then eventually, somewhere along the line, I’m put out of my misery and reminded of the title of this game.

Fuck knows why.

I remember googling ‘PS1 game with sphere tiles colour them might have rats in it’ and actually didn’t get anything. I’m not entirely sure there were rats in it (turns out there wasn’t and I was thinking of an entirely different game altogether). However, something made me google a bit harder and I eventually came across the name LIVE WIRE on a list of PS1 games. Why it jogged my memory, I’ll never know. After seeing the video of the game I was INSTANTLY taken back to the days of the good ol’ Playstation demo discs. THAT’S where I remember it from.

If I ever find the copy of that demo disc, I’m going to fucking burn it.

Suffice to say that I think you can tell from the title of this review just how AWFUL it is. I mean, I’ve thrown in a ‘NOT’ and a ‘SORTA’ into my titles for bad and iffy games but HOLY FUCKING PLUG SOCKETS this is quite honestly one of the most appalling experiences in gaming I have had until I attempt to play the 3DO Zelda titles WHICH WILL NEVER HAPPEN praise be to whatever.

Look, let’s cut to the chase and just get it over with.

This game is utter shite.

There’s no simple way of putting it. It’s shiter than shite. It doesn’t even QUALIFY as a game. It qualifies as euthanasia maybe. It’s… yeah. That.

How do I explain the premise of the game without making it appear fun…?

HERE GOES:

live wire 2

You are red blob.
You roam board or sphere and try to colour outside of tiles.
Colour all sides to claim tile.
Repeat ad nauseum or until death.

There. That’ll do. It’s almost like a poem, only without the imagery, interesting subject matter or the finger clicking at the end.

To expand on that, the general premise is that there are four of you on the board trying to gain territory, trapping tiles by surrounding them in your colour to turn them over. Gain the most territory and win the level.

And here’s the thing that makes it so shite: IT COULD BE VERY GOOD.

It just fucking isn’t. It’s fucking awful. Why?

1) Graphics
Look, I know the PS1-era of 3D wasn’t exactly up to snuff but to be perfectly honest, no game should be presented in this way. It is basic, banal and lazy in the most basic, banal and lazy way possible. It reeks of ‘couple of guys coding in a bedroom’ fodder and although they are functional, they are so… BLAH, that it just feels like a giant eyesore to watch them. I couldn’t even watch myself play the damn thing on some levels. The ocean and funfair levels were WAY too bright and then the SPOOKY level was too dark. The space level was JUST about right but to be honest, most of the time it was difficult to see what was going on anyway. On a positive note though, the game has graphics.

2) Soul
WHAT SOUL? WHAT ATMOSPHERE DOES THIS GAME PROJECT ONTO THE PLAYER? You are basically plonked onto a game world with NO instructions, NO tutorial, NO SUPPORT and you just wander around flat landscapes bumping into all kinds of things on the stage and hoping for the best. The lack of presentation or flashy graphics or any hint of personality was woeful at best. Given the fact they called the game LIVE WIRE, there’s a distinct lack of any actual LIVELY action. It is PAINFUL. Even a fucking firework exploding on the screen would have been fucking nice. ONE LONELY LITTLE SMATTERING OF SPARKS WOULD HAVE DONE. If I marked games, that would have bumped it up at least 0.2 of a mark. I don’t mark because some games deserve negative marks and that would just look silly. Might as well give it marks like TOASTER out of ten.

3) Controls
Fuck me sideways with a rusty rake; IF YOU ever get to grips with the controls, you are doing a damn sight better than I am because maybe it’s just how I set the options but aside from the RANDOM SPEEDS the game goes at and the slippery way in which your character trundles about along lines, the fact the game doesn’t ALWAYS respond to your directional button bushes is actually nigh-on unforgivable. I thought it might have been the wireless controller but then playing it again on the PS2 actually compounded my fears (not that this game is scary… apart from being a shit game which is sometimes a bit scary to say the least) – the controls are woollier than all the sheep in New Zealand and everyone knows that basically New Zealand is made of sheep and kiwi birds so that’s an actual fuckton of wool. Seriously, I was pressing down on the controlled for ages and my character kept going across the screen like a fucking numpty. I say character…

live wire 1

4) Charm
It ain’t got none.

5) Excitement
It ain’t got none.

6) Fun
It ain’t got none.

I hope you realise that that’s not a double-negative and that I’m doing British dialect. I hope you do. If not, learn air’a speak pro’ah, in’it? Might I suggest the Jeremy Kyle show OH YES I WENT THERE HO HO HO.

7) Music
Hang on… let me just read to you the blurb on the back of the box that was supposed to sell this fucking piece of tripe:

“Race against time, opponents and hundreds of enemies for territorial domination of over 50 levels. Accompanied by an adrenaline pumping soundtrack, mixed by the legendary internayional “house” DJ, Allister Whitehead of Cream and Ministry of Sound fame…”

Really? Did they really have to put that on the back of the box to get people’s money parting ways? I’m sorry but since when did having a PUMPING soundtrack actually trump all of the game’s other features?

“SIR, OUR GAME IS SHIT.”
“PUT SOME FUCKING DONKS ON THE SOUNDTRACK AND NO ONE WILL NOTICE.”
“THIS IS THE BEST IDEA EVER.”
“THAT IS WHY I AM THE BOSS.”
“THIS IS THE TRUEST THING YOU HAVE EVER SAID.”

*actual conversation. Guaranteed
*not guaranteed. Clearly made up. Go home, people, we’re done here.

If I’m honest, and I am right now, the music didn’t even register with me. I didn’t feel buzzed. I felt a considerable amount of malaise towards it. It wasn’t AWFUL but to be honest, I didn’t even notice the music was happening. I was too concerned by the fact the game sucked so much arse, I’m surprised I even remember any of the notes in any of the songs on the soundtrack. There might have been a C in there somewhere. There always is, isn’t there?

Interesting fact: Axwell has a song on the game soundtrack. You know, one of the blokes from Swedish House Mafia. They did those songs that everyone murdered on talent shows? Don’t You Worry Child? That one. Yeah. Wow.

live wire 3

Inside this ‘game’, which I now put into inverted commas for a reason, there is something there. There’s something that actually COULD be very good. It COULD be bloody amazing if it wasn’t such a dourly presented, poorly produced, lacklustre piece of code. Everything about it feels like a good idea that nobody quite knew how to execute. The immense amount of lackadaisicalness about it, which I’m fairly sure is NOT intentional unless people want to make crappy games (and who are we to say they don’t? Go and google Zoo Race and find out for yourself what I mean), just warps the enjoyment so much that you don’t even recognise that it’s there… It MIGHT be there. IT MIGHT be there in two-player mode but if you really want to drag your friend into playing with you then you are a BAD PERSON and you are a BAD FRIEND and you should NOT HAVE FRIENDS OR BE ABLE TO TALK TO PEOPLE.

As a final treat, have some godawful puns about the game’s title.

It has NO SPARK!

It’s not live, it’s FLATLINING!

Should have called it… DEAD WIRE…!

Yeah I’m done.

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