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ups: budget price, hilariously bizarre storyline
downs: no tutorial at all, Sean Penn as motivation

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Perimeter: Emperor's Testament Review
game: Perimeter: Emperor's Testament
three star
posted by: Sean Hilliard
publisher: Paradox Interactive
developer: K-D Lab
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date posted: 01:32 PM Mon Oct 2nd, 2006
last revision: 01:32 PM Mon Oct 2nd, 2006

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Click to read.Perimeter: Emperor\'s Testament has all the makings of a cult hit: Unique gameplay, bizarre storyline, uh, different characters. But the game mostly manages to fall flat on its face for a simple reason: most people will have no clue how to play it.

When I picked up the game, I was hoping to be able to sit down and pound out a few hours of fun, RTS gameplay. Imagine my reaction when the most guidance I got after booting it up was to proceed to the dimensional warp. It\'s very similar to GF! Production Editor Chris Martin\'s review of Dead Rising: Muthaphuckin\' stupid game in my muthaphuckin\' computer.

Unfortunately, this arm-chair private wasn\'t about to rapidly slam down the \"uninstall\" button. A sense of duty inspired me to soldier on through Perimeter: Emperor\'s Testament, even though I had to go online to figure out what the heck to do next.

Turns out that to proceed to the level exit you have to terraform the land separating your base from it. Which is pretty interesting, but unfortunately doesn\'t provide a whole lot of strategic replay value. The puzzle at this point turns out to be what area of land to pound down flat to most benefit your troops. You don\'t really get to cut off your opponent or anything like that. Perimeter: Emperor\'s Testament instead is an environmental puzzle game.

If I wanted that, I would play Ico on my PlayStation 2. At least in that game there\'s a hot chick to rescue.

And speaking of motivation, the motivation for completing Perimeter: Emperor\'s Testament is to expand the land under the rule of your emperor. Oh, and you\'re a slave, too.

Uh, right.

I mean, sure it sounds hokey, but that\'s the point. The game was developed by a Russian group, and if my memory serves me right, Russia\'s the land of vodka and bears. And frankly, a group of bears drunk on vodka could have come up with a more interesting plot.

Still, as I said before the plot is hokey and bizarre, which in computer games is a combination that sometimes works out. And it does in this case. Sure, you\'ll have no idea what you\'re doing most of the time, but getting that lame emperor to \"inspire\" you with his next diatribe on the \"sponge\" is pretty hilarious.

Perimeter: Emperor\'s Testament isn\'t your average game in that respect. While for the most part, you\'ll be confused by the cutscenes, by the time the end credits roll, you\'ll be doing shots of vodka every time he says sponge. Which he does a lot.

And by the way, Perimeter is one of those games that get better the more hammered you are. Although those environmental puzzles can get to be pretty hard when you can\'t see straight.

But you can always claim that in Perimeter: Emperor\'s Testament, you were annihilated in more ways than one.

The sound and graphics are pretty hilarious, too, and I mean that in the best way possible. If you were inspired by Doom\'s midi heavy metal tracks, then you\'ll feel nostalgic every time you hear from the emperor. Because he sounds a lot like those Doom audio noises put into words.

The graphics are strange, to say the least. They have a dated feel to them, but at the same time are crisp, which is more than a lot of console games this bad can say. The emperor, who is presented in a talking mugshot style, looks absolutely bizarre. Give Sean Penn a buzzcut, a mustache and some wires coming out of his neck and you\'ll almost have the emperor pegged.

And then you\'ll realize what\'s missing: Sean Penn actually takes himself MORE seriously than the emperor does. Plus, I don\'t think he\'d agree to having his likeness weirded out that way. I\'m talking about the emperor, not Sean Penn.

Which brings me to some kind of conclusion: Buy it or stay away from it? The budget price is nice ($20), most of the gameplay is fresh and interesting (if you like environmental puzzles) and everything else is hilariously bad.

Perimeter: Emperor\'s Testament is just like the B-movie I originally compared it to by manipulating Chris Martin\'s words: Snakes on a Plane made by Russian bears. So in the end, you have to consider it the same way as buying the Samuel L. Jackson film on DVD.

Is it really worth it? Maybe. But you\'re probably better off talking your na?ve PC-owning buddy into buying it. Especially if he\'s an arm-chair general. Because then you can just go over to his house and watch him play it.

And by watch him play it, I mean wait for the cutscenes and laugh like a mad man. Because, just like Stephen Colbert, Perimeter: Emperor\'s Testament knows funny.

And that\'s the word.

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