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Parallels in Gaming #1
A Fool's Comparison: Mr. Higgins (Adventure Island Series) and Chev Chelios (Crank Series)
I recently watched the cinematic masterpiece that is "Crack: High Voltage" and came to a very surprising realization...'Hmm...has to keep moving or he'll die....uses different items to get more energy....I've seen this story before...I've PLAYED this story before..." That's when it hit me.
MR. HIGGINS'!! Chev Chelios is a modern day Mr. Higgins!! Just replace the cromagnum-cap and tomahawks with an English scowl and pistols and the transformation is complete.
I know what you may be thinking to yourself...but it's not as crazy as it sounds. Here, let me break it down for you.
Both of these men are just trying to live there lives as normally as they can...it just so happens that everyone and there grandma is trying to kill them! When their loved ones are threatened...then its up to Mr. Higgins/Chev to save them. Their constant struggle to power forward in any situation is a testament to the will power of these characters. They don't believe in the old theory that a square peg won't fit into a round hole. They would rather break the peg into a thousand pieces, and take each piece and cram it down that hole...It is an interesting philosophy, to say the least.
They health is also under constant attack. They can't keep going forward in their mission without a little boost, be it from a juicy piece of rare tropical island fruit or a dangerous mix of drugs, sex and adrenaline. The constant worry of the player, the nagging thought in the back of your head, is where you'll find your next revitalizing piece of food. What keeps the viewer interested in the (minimal...) story of Crank is the thought of what other crazy stuff Chev will have to do in order to keep moving forward.
Transportation is a necessity...whether you are a Hitman based out of Los Angeles or a Semi-Prehistoric Native with a baseball cap. That's why both Higgins and Chev know how to ride around in style. Chev needs a car, he takes the car. He need the cops bike, he takes the cops bike. Higgins tends to be a little more selective about what he uses. He prefers the ancient method of 'tearing up the asphalt'! But one of the things that separates these to unrelenting heroes is their stance on vehicle safety. While Mr. Chelios himself may find the idea of buckling himself into the driver's seat unappealing, their were instances in both films where a little time taken to follow the rules of the road would have benefited him...particular by NOT having to pick himself up after flying through the windshield...It was pretty cool though! Higgins prefers to adorn the safety gear of the pre-form and plastic era, wearing a helmet, elbows pads and knee pads made of stone...I assume...or bone...This moves me into my final point: Their Allies!
In both series, the characters rely heavily on their friends to help them move forward on their respective journeys. Chev is a simple man, he knows who to go to if he needs help. As soon as he finds out he's been poisoned, he calls his shady, back-ally doctor. If he needs some info on the seedy underbelly of crime, he relies on his snitch/cross-dresser buddy. The allies found in the Adventure Island series are few and far between, but when acquired can change the pace of the journey in an instant. The dinosaurs all have their own unique skills and abilities but, by far, I find that the most useful (and coolest!!) would be the Pterodactyl. With this allie, Higgins can traverse the level in instant, avoiding all the traps and enemies strung along the way.
In conclusion, the Higgins/Chelios comparison may not be very unique in terms of games or movies. While you may be able to find similar characteristics in other characters from other series in their own respective genres, I doubt that you'll find one that maintains so clear the message that Adventure Island and Crank are trying to share. Now while I may be looking perhaps a bit too much into this, the message that these works are trying to deliver is simple: Keep Moving Forward! Don't bother looking back, just keep moving forward to your goals and do what you need to do to reach your goal! If you stay in one place long enough...you'll die.
Well...that how I see it at least