Our favorite timewaster? Reading our fan mail. The King’s suggestion box is crammed with negative feedback from disgruntled followers calling him out for his inability to rule – in letters entitled ‘Does all this seem funny to you?’. We decided to earn some goodwill by following up on another citizen’s complaints of a ghost cow in the cemetery. In stepped military advisor Howser to dish out the legend of the skeletal cow and off we went.
What followed wasn’t pretty, but it was a great sign of how grander confrontations will work. Taking a farmer and three soldiers to the burial ground, we startled the bovine beast. As the William Tell Overture kicked off, the manic pace of the music was matched by our panicked button-stabbing, foolishly lobbing our men at the rampaging brute with little regard for strategy. Not versed in combat, it was the farmer who was the first to fall.
In a nice touch, health is represented as age. Every hit sees a citizen grow 20 years older – and 20 years more ineffectual. When they do kick the bucket a baby is born to replace them. It says more about the circle of life than The Lion King ever did, and all in two minutes. Alas, our men did kick the bucket – mainly because the cow kicked them – and we fled the battle. The game delivered a pretty scolding “There’s a thing called tactics. Look it up," and we felt suitably ashamed.
A nap righted the day’s wrongs and we returned to the blasted Bessie. Attacking when his head flew off did the trick (the fight plays more like a Zelda boss than Pikmin’s wars of attrition) and the war was won. We rested our aching bones and woke to find the kingdom celebrating with a big ol’ party around the cow’s skull on a plinth. A marvelous touch.
Feb 3, 2009