Divine Divinity… Marble Marble… Rumbly Rumble… Metal Metal

I remember about the only one – the first one – of the idiosynchratic Larian Entertainment’s Divinity RPG-hack-‘n’-slashers I’ve played that it had a distinctly imbalanced skill tree. That’s no wonder, since their aim was to incorporate a large smörgåsbord of options suiting the three main playstyles, with both ranged and melee combat fleshed out, all the while dealing with obnoxious publisher interference during development. All of this and seemingly a lot more carries over to what was really the third in the series after Beyond Divinity, generally considered a small dip after Divine Divinity. To 2009’s Divinity II: Ego Draconis (later burnished and glazed into 2011’s Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga), the critics responded in similarly lukewarm ways, especially when it came to the Xbox 360 version. This is ironic because most of the time, it’s the PC port that tends to suffer from developers’ attempts at branching into controller-controlled territories.

To return to those skill trees: There obviously can’t be dozens of abilities each perfectly go-with-able, especially when no strict class-limiting exists. I also am yet to see a game balanced for speedrunning instead. Thrusting at enemies through the three-dimensionalized tracts of Rivellon and embracing the philosophy of the helicopter (a dual-wielding style), Marcel Kalmes makes short […er, by 14:16,] single-segmented 2:03:37 work of the realm’s unworthy would-be lords and masters. We might as well append Israeli’s professional-grade verification to Marcel’s own notes to give clues as to wherefrom the none-too-shabby improvement.

Don’t lose your MARBLEs now, but… stop the MADNESS! Now that that’s out of the way, we may proceed into a terse biography of Elipsis, the speedrunner and person we all know through six links max (as we all know each other, apparently). He has a couple of published runs for a boat racing game, another weird one that was timed at 0:00 (that’s gotta have been a Jedi mind trick), and another two that prove his fingers are all, individually and collectively, a ninja. His YouTube channel evidences having been around since that mythical time of yore when it was actually considered okay to handicam your cool gameplay videos. The only saving grace, really, is this crab. And this 0:02:43 for the NES Marble Madness if you’re into that sorta thin’. I don’t see anything left to explain about these ~2 seconds off. Just like the last time, all those reactions and all of that deep deep catharsis is conveyed in an touching, yet dignified, spoken commentary accessible by switching to audio track two in a player like VLC.

If the name, in general, of PS2’s Rumble Roses, is not enough to cue you in on it, the brazen initials have got to be: this game is going for “R-Risqué” and sure knows its thing. It’s about fantasy wrestling exhibitions where every fighter is, in the most flagrant fashion, a she, and possesses of a side personality, an evil – or in some cases good – twin. It threw me for a loop seeing the term “professional wrestling” applied to this in the Wiki article. Isn’t the default for all “professional” activities to be very much the real thing, no tricks and no gimmicks? It looks like what silly old me always knew as show wrestling has attempted some kind of facelift (which is appropriate since it sounds like one of their moves) by tacking on this possibly quite specious prefix (which is appropriate because that’s what the matches themselves are, a pre-fix). To clear our, no doubt, mistaken conceptions we’d have to summon someone who gives a measurable amount of damn. That’s not going to be the runner, ‘Tigger77’. Forgetting they’d surely get paid more if they were to drag it out a bit, they’ve went ahead and stomped their sleazy opposition right in their resting bitch faces on a character called Sgt. Clements, for whom changing attires to the two kinds of swimwear (I said “knows its thing”) can only barely avoid coming as an upgrade to her modesty. Let’s collectively count some blessings guys, the smut exhibition itself only takes 0:01:57, but the dirty thoughts, aye, they’ll linger…

Of all these anarchistic phrasal amalgamations, “Otherside” seems a relatively popular one. It’s evocative for sure: it suggests, in sufficiently vague fashion, a spatial juxtaposition of some kind pointing out the more alien and mysterious half (way more so than just “the Other Side” could ever convey!), but because space is often used as an analogy for experiences or states of mind, there’s hardly a limit to what the proposed dichotomy could be. You could make it “the Otherside [Entertainment] of the gaming industry” a là that company that keeps getting more limelight cause I can’t stop thinking about it apparently; “the light side vs. the dark side”, or some elder gods in actual Star Wars lore, would you believe it; or you could euphemize the woebegone bridge-underations of the accustomated vein-pricker as verily did Anthony Kiedis in a musical poem by this name.

Or then it’s a dimension where aliens thirst for the secret of Metal Morph-osis so they can Terminator their way in to establish a competitive multinational corporation making acquisitions through bribery, blackmail and guerrilla interventions… or whatever it is they had in mind… Yeah! What’s shocking is the run is by Patrick ‘P “The Man” J’ DiCesare, yet it doesn’t have that kind of uniformly piddle-on reviews we’ve grown to assume. At least it has to be as unfair as an asymmetric seesaw, right? Well, the customary audio commentary hitched onto this 0:37:14 certainly gives something by way of an explanation. You’re excused for thinking Origin, adulated for their Ultima series and Wing Commander, wasn’t capable of making a splash with traditional action titles like the one in question, but they did come up with the perfectly decent Crusader soon after, scurrying back to those PC systems that they were definitely more at home with so… I guess not really.


Source: Speed Demos Archive

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