Tag Archives: entirely too short

Condemned 2: Bloodshot

Three years ago and more, I played the original Condemned game. Creepy homeless people, a serial killer, crime scene investigations… fun, scary times! So, anyway, turns out there’s a sequel. Condemned 2 is every bit as creepy, with all the angry homeless people and new bonus extra-creepy people who have bizarre mouth and body-modifications. Not to mention hallucinatory slime people and evil animated dolls and all manner of bad times. The story part of the game is… well, pretty silly? See, the same characters from the previous game are back: Agent Ethan Thomas has turned to the bottle after his successful crusade to take down Serial Killer X resulted in no body, no proof, and a long-term suspension. His lab contact Rosa is doing fine, but the wealthy Malcolm Van Horn is being hunted by… a secret society. That has sinister plans for Agent Thomas.

On the one hand, yay for explaining all the crazy homeless people, probably better than the first game did. On the other hand, changing from a serial killer series to a conspiracy series without so much as a how-do-you-do is just a bizarre choice. One that will work better, I think, if there’s no third game. Really, the story thing isn’t a complaint per se. The game was scary and that’s what I was looking for. My complaint, if one is needed, is that it was entirely too short. Well, and there was maybe not quite enough studying crimes while nervously watching over a shoulder for a well-wielded pipe wrench. …yeah. Okay. Scary enough or not, it just wasn’t nearly as good as the last one. Oh, well.

Ultimate Secret

Ultimate Secret continues the Ultimate Galactus trilogy in much the same fashion as the opening volume. That is, it tells a reasonably good story whose main flaw is feeling entirely too short. I mean, most of the Ultimate books have felt like discrete storylines in the lives of our heroes. The Galactus books, on the other hand, have felt very much like part of an (extremely incomplete) ongoing story. It is not particularly a flaw, except that it makes it hard to feel much excitement for the review; it’s as though I’m reviewing thirds of a book, instead of three books.

Another way it matches the first volume is that it uses the Galactus story to talk about other characters entirely that had not yet been drafted into the Ultimate universe.[1] In this case, the fight is against the alien Kree who are sabotaging mankind’s space program, in the hopes that when Gah Lak Tus arrives, the planet will have no survivors. The story was decent, it just wasn’t what I was looking for. Again. I’m really relieved this is only a trilogy, as I’m not sure I could take much more pushing back the payoff.

Except for the lack of character continuity, what this has most reminded me of is the old G.I. Joe event weeks when they’d present a five-part series in which Cobra and G.I. Joe were crossing the world in search of parts for a doomsday machine, and inevitably Cobra would manage to get all the parts, fire up the machine, and then lose anyway. The continuity meant that each episode had a series payoff feel, unlike these books, but there’s still definitely a race across the world in search of clues feel. (Does anyone but me remember those episodes fondly? I mean, clearly there’s a movie studio that hopes so.)

[1] Captain Marvel? Really?