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Monday, September 18, 2006

I will finally become the Anti-Christ!

(Let's wait for the shock of that double-entendre to wear off, shall we?)

So help me, I have been in a giggle-fit of hysterical laughter all morning ever since installing the playable demo of Left Behind: Eternal Forces (191 MB download). Based on the best-selling novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, Left Behind: Eternal Forces is a real-time strategy game that pits you in warfare - spiritual and otherwise - against the forces of Nicolae Carpathia, AKA the Anti-Christ. Or: play devil's advocate and run the armies of the beast in head-to-head competition against other players. You can play the demo now and the full game will be available for sale in November.

It sounds like a good concept. But for a RTS game... well, let's put it this way: judging by the demo of this game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces makes Star Wars Force Commander seem downright exquisite. And I was probably one of three people that actually liked Force Commander! From the moment I saw the animated logo for Left Behind Games (a deep-space swoop past the Earth as thousands of stylized "souls" fly from the surface) I was tearing up from laughing so hard. And it only got worse.

Well, you can download the game from the above link at FilePlanet, and play it and see for yourself. But I just had to make a post about it. Here's some photo evidence that I waded into this... thing:

Mission select screen...

Character bio screen, which shows if the person you have highlighted is a Tribulation Saint, on-the-fence straddler or lost soul damned for Hell...

Every Christian videogame should have a place where you can train your special-forces commandos...

This is a Disciple right after I selected for him to "Pray". The woman was just converted (and got a nice shiny white new set of clothes the moment she saw the light)...

"COMBAT! In Color..."
The only appeal this game would really have for me is if I let the little "id" thing on the dark side of my intellect come out and thrill to capturing the good guys... before hopefully getting to dispatch them for the crime of not taking The Mark(tm). You know, that part of every guy that likes to play games like Quake just to watch your buddies get gibbed? Otherwise, and this is the serious Christian of me speaking: I don't really see at all how this could possibly be a tool for witnessing for Christ. It... I hate to say this but it kinda makes us pretty laughable. Like the first Left Behind movie (that's the only one of the series I've seen): some Christian commentators noted at the time, it really seemed like not even a half-hearted effort. That's what this game feels like too, just going by the demo. Or maybe the videogame medium just isn't really cut out to make for effective witnessing: that's possible too.

But not just that either, 'cuz Left Behind: Eternal Forces has a really clumsy player interface... one of the worst I've seen in an RTS game, even. When I said that Force Commander looks incredible beside this game, I'm not kidding: for all the camera craziness of that Star Wars RTS, it was a hella lot more easy to control than in Eternal Forces. And I didn't have to feel conflicted about moving all those Imperial Stormtroopers around either...

Well, like I said, try it if you like. If nothing else than because you simply have to see what it's like to fulfill the Great Commandment by going out to set up Combat Training Centers to build up an army for guerilla warfare.