Have you ever seen the episode of The Simpsons in which the old folks’ home screens a special censored version of Gone with the Wind? “Frankly my dear, I love you,” says a dubbed Rhett Butler. Protothea is exactly the same thing: Geometry Wars re-edited to be of absolutely no threat to anyone. Slow enemies firing slow bullets – sedate is the keyword. Yet while its teeth are totally blunt, it still regularly kicks your arse on the basis of their sheer number. Excuse another reference, but remember the scene in Austin Powers where the security guard gets mown down by the steamroller? That’s this game to a T. Throw out enough slow enemies and you’ll eventually careen into one of them.
It’s a shame the gameplay’s so uneven like that, as the Geometry Wars-aping controls are as brilliant here as they were there, the analogue stick directing your ship, the pointer aiming your weapons. Using the pointer to drop bombs on the landscape below is a nice touch (how very Xevious), but what point is slick shooting when there’s no target that requires such bullet fluidity to overcome? Visually, Protothea looks more like a prototype: a genero ship floating over industrial landscapes that make Slough look like Super Mario Galaxy firing on all cylinders. Plus the undulating oceans of the first level hurt our eyes.
At a whopping 1,000 points Protothea is simply too lazy and charmless to recommend. For only a few bucks more you can pick up Geometry Wars Galaxies, and that would be money very well spent indeed. Treacle-slow gameplay and, unless you love generic sci-fi future visions, very little incentive to soldier on. Less Star Wars, more star bores.
Jul 22, 2008