But wouldn’t it be marvellous if there was a different option? What if instead of beating away the invasion or doing the invading, you were a well adjusted alien immigrant with a silly cockney accent who’s dreams didn’t stretch much further than a swanky hotel populated by hot alien Latino ladies? What if you could play as an alien bikini model with magical powers? What if you could play as the last of your kind only without a chin like two bananas tied together with bacon (thats right Matt Smith consider yourself challenged!) Well good news! There was one of those made in 2001!
The debut game from Planet Moon Studio's (the cooky blokes behind Armed and Dangerous and that boring Drawn to Life thing on the Wii), Giants: Citizen Kabuto is one of the first games I ever played back in my apple cheeked knock-down-gingering youth, so I have decided to go through it again and see whether placing it in my top ten games list is rare appreciation or nostalgic folly.
At an unspecified point in the future, a group of cockney alien space mercenaries presumably from planet Shepard's Bush spot an unknown planet on their way to their holiday at ‘Planet Majorca’ and decide to claim it for their queen. Once they get down there however, they are seperated by a crash and discover that the indigenous species, 'the Smartys', are being oppressed into slavery by the evil Queen of the Sea Reapers. Whilst attempting to find the grandson of one of the locals, their jetpacks, extra weapons and each other, they will fight the evil queen and attempt to free the Smartys by taking out the proverbial Richard the Third. Inspired by their efforts the beautiful princess Delphi decides to rebel against her Sea Reaper heritage and help our brave heroes whilst trying to stop the rampaging wrath of the monster Kabuto who is...errm...really hungry.
You play through three sequential campaigns, first as the English 'Meccaryn' mercenaries armed with jetpacks, a variety of guns and a pint ‘o lager ya mug! Then as the Romanian accented Delphi, the evil queens daughter with a conscience who fights with a bow, magic and two mysterious crystal balls attached to her chest. Then finally as the titular monster Kabuto, a gigantic powerhouse roaming the earth just hoping to find something to eat. Rather than ramble on about the pleasant memories these past few hours have given me, I have decided to ramble on in a far more refined analytical way, highlighting the characters of each of the three campaigns of the game one by one, so here goes.
A group of cockney mercinaries primarily designed for comedy consisting of Baz, Tel, Reg, Gordon and Bennett, these blokes have the first (and by far best) campaign to play through. Its the best for several reasons. For one, the difficulty curve is far better structured, with all the best weapons only gradually dealt out and with limited ammo, and the jetpack takes time to upgrade so you don’t just breeze over every hazard without even noticing.
Friends have told me that the comedy simply doesn’t hit home and they’re right, however if you take a step back and look at it from a broader perspective then the sight of seeing a bunch of aliens with accents more suited to selling bowls of fruit down the market and doing Dick Van Dyke impressions beating a tyrannical regime as a jolly boys outing can make it all nicely light-hearted and enjoyable.
A witch, swimsuit model and daughter of the evil Queen Sappho, Delphi is a sea reaper princesstrying to end her mother’s mistreatment of the slave race known as ‘the Smartys’. This is by far the easiest campaign of the three, as Delphi's sword can do massive amounts of damage and you get loaded down with various spells and types of arrow quite quickly. Playboy can also travel across huge amount of terrain in a second with a weird bullet time jump meaning that you could essentially just hop in and out of groups of enemies, kill everyone then play a few rounds of quash with their hearts without expending any ammo at all. But she is a swim suit model, did I mention that? A swimsuit model...
The single most boring campaign in history, you’d think that being a behemoth with the ability to give birth and eat pretty much any enemy in the game would be fun but by bollocks does it drag on! Oh sure it starts off quite good fun when you devour your first family of five, but you soon start to realise that every mission is just “go here, eat everything in sight then break the gate to the next area”, lather rinse repeat.
You are given a couple of special attacks, but they go completely unused because why bother waiting for every hostile to be in the same place when you can just wander round eating everything, which gives you back health you lose on the commute from one meal too the next? Oh and did I mention that you only have one weak spot? Yeah, just the one. It would seem that the concept of challenge died a long while ago.
I remember back when I was suckling milk I thought this game looked pretty cool but now I can tell you that every map looks exactly the same. Varying from fairly pretty orange mountain range to less pretty dark green mountain range, and despite the fact that you have a jetpack for a third of the game, there must be something wrong when you mainly get around these mountains by glitch climbing. All the buildings look the same and the only thing to liven up most of the landscapes is one or two trees swaying in unison. In short, you’ll notice how dated it looks despite the surprisingly expansive size of most of the maps visited.
This is mainly third person, you have to try pretty damn hard to get confused. However, the game claims to be far more complex than it really is, claiming that its a ‘Third person shooter with strategy elements, giving you complete control of allies in battle’. The keyword there is ‘elements’, as I would prefer the word ‘scraps'. When you have your buddies with you as the Meccaryns you can tell them to go kill something or tell them to not kill something, which isn’t exactly brimming with strategic planning.
The Meccaryn campaign also ends in a ‘strategic battle’ with Sappho’s army, which is really just a blend of tower defence and tedious resource gathering until you build enough needless crap that the game lets you have a massive game winning bomb thingy. I’ve already ragged on the easiness of Swimsuit McChesticles’ campaign and the dullness of Ogre’s, but I feel it should be noted how much fun the cockney Butlins crew’s is. Jetpacks and rocket launchers, need I say more to entice you? It also still has player run servers for the incredibly fluid (if unoriginal multiplayer feature and still boasts one of the friendliest, least complicated and lacking in douchebag Canadian teenage deathmatch obsessives community I have ever taken part in, which is a reccomendation in itself.
So does Giants: Citizen Kabuto still belong in my top ten list? No it doesn’t really. Only one of the campaigns is really as solid as I remember and it hasn’t exactly aged well. But despite my opinion that ‘it was good for the time’ isn't a good reason for recommendation I would still urge you to play this game. It was criminally overlooked in 2001 and at least deserves a fair hearing although I would understand completely if you stop playing at the final Kabuto campaign. So ya owe it ta yaself to at least give it a bash ya mug!