I'm not really into music, but two songs pop into my head whenever I play Red Faction: Guerrilla
. The first is Peter, Paul and Mary's "If I Had A Hammer"
, a song I sang at "Luke 18", a kind of Catholic summer camp I used to attend:
If I had a hammer
I'd hammer in the morning
I'd hammer in the evening
All over this land
I'd hammer out danger
I'd hammer out warning
I'd hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land
Following that, the second song is AC/DC's much less ironic "Smash and Grab"
Those songs essentially define
(one of them ironically so) the typical Red Faction: Guerrilla
experience. You hammer stuff, smash stuff and, on occasion, grab stuff, usually for the purposes of throwing it at other stuff with the intention of blowing said stuff up. There's some shooting stuff in there, but really now
. Red Faction: Guerrilla
is anger management in video game form, software-borne catharsis.
Trying to evaluate the game is like having one of those debates schoolkids have over whose father/superpower/spaceship/console is better, with one kid making a statement and the other grasping to phrase his counterargument as condescendingly as possible.
Kid A: Red Faction: Guerrilla's vehicle controls feel sloppy, with even heavy trucks slipping around like they're on ice.
Kid B: Duuuh! Mars' gravity is less than half of Earth-normal. A 3-ton Humvee weighs just 1 ton on Mars! The dry atmosphere makes its dust extremely fine. Ice road truckers have nothing on the average Martian commuter.
Kid A: Well, the environment is all just red and gray dust! It looks boring!
Kid B: Are you stupid or something? Have you ever seen a picture of Mars? Stupidhead!
Kid A: All of the structures feel like they're made out of cardboard, and will break apart at the slightest provocation!
Kid B: Of course they are, idiot! These colonists don't have the resources to build proper foundations for their buildings. Everything's prefabricated from light materials that they probably had to glue together from scrap! Why else do you think their main form of currency would be salvage?!
Kid A: But I can't kill everyone! I get penalized for shooting civilians! How can I cut loose and destroy things if I have to worry about collateral casualties?
Kid B: You should be on the short bus! Why the hell would a populist guerrilla go around wasting the people he's supposed to be helping?! There are more than enough military targets to satisfy, and besides, raising morale by hitting those targets turns civvies into homies, who help you blow crap up! You're as dumb as Mercenaries 2!
Kid A: Speaking of dumb, your enemies just can't seem to cope with your abilities. They never seem to resort to the tactics you use to such great effect. They have tanks, but they don't run you over with them. They just stand around and rush you, or take cover behind stuff you'll just walk up to and break down.
Kid B: Have yo--
Kid A: Them being miners, you'd think all your homies should have hammers, but they don't bust up walls with them or toss remote charges around. And why is it that they seem armed to the teeth at all times (they break out frickin' assault rifles whenever they wanna join in the fun), but never actually try fighting back on their own, patiently waiting for me to swing by with the entire EDF on my ass?
Kid B: That's--
Kid A: And speaking of being on my ass, why do enemies just spawn in right behind me in waves when I raise the alerts high enough? I can't be a proper sneaky insurgent if I can't frickin' sneak! I can't be all super-tactical when taking on a heavily guarded target because they never stop rushing me long enough to be surgical about it. More often than not the most efficient way to deal with it is just to grab a tank or other heavy vehicle and run it through the walls until it collapses, then hoof it out before dying. Is it some kind of commentary on the Iraq surge, because I haven't heard of US troops just spawning in behind insurgen--
Kid B: IT'S LIKE THAT BECAUSE YOU'RE STUPID. YOU'RE STUPID AND A BUTTHEAD AND YOUR BREATH SMELLS LIKE POOP. YOU'RE IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE AND YOU APPARENTLY DON'T CARE THAT YOU'LL NEVER VIEW AN ACTION GAME IN THE SAME WAY AGAIN. CRY SOME MORE, BECAUSE IN MOST OTHER GAMES YOU CAN'T JUST BREAK THROUGH THAT CONVENIENT PILE OF JUNK OR LOCKED DOOR OR OBVIOUSLY MAGICAL WOODEN BENCH THAT IS SOMEHOW ADEQUATE COVER FROM NUCLEAR MISSILES. IT'S A LOT OF FUN TO BUST SOMEONE ELSE'S STUFF UP, AND NO ONE ELSE SO FAR HAS LET YOU DO IT TO THIS DEGREE. YOU'RE FRICKIN' MIGHTY THOR EXCEPT WITH NO RAINBOW BRIDGE OR GOLDEN HAIR.
Kid A: Well...yeah, it is a hell of a lot of fun, and never really stops being fun. Plus, the multiplayer backpacks are great and remind me a lot of Tribes
Kid B: Damn straight. Everything should remind us a lot of Tribes
In conclusion, I like Red Faction: Guerrilla because it lets me break stuff and feel like Thor.