Adventure & RPG
Does anyone out there remember the really old Fantastic Four or Spider-Man cartoons that used to invade TV screens? You know, the ones with the overly-dramatic voice acting, campy plotlines, and ridiculously stereotypical characters? Look even further back, and you’ll find their origins stem directly from those old pulp comic books as far back as the 60s, where heroes thought aloud, villains would leave captives ridiculously unguarded to “certain doom,” and everyone good valued Mom, the American flag, and apple pie.
Such is the inspiration of Freedom Force (FF), a superhero game that somehow manages to blend a terrific RPG with a serious dose of action. Furthermore, Freedom Force simultaneously pays homage and pokes fun at the Silver Age of comics, and above all, never takes itself too seriously. Ported by the talented Omni Group and brought to the Mac courtesy of MacPlay, this title is shaping up to look like a welcome surprise that will hopefully be out in time for the holiday season.
To be honest, I had no concept of what this game was about and didn’t even know I’d be previewing it until it turned up in my mailbox several days ago. The installation alone was a surprise, as it was a simple drag-and-copy from the CD operation rather than the usual “run an installer” process. However, I knew I was in for something special when, after booting it up, my desktop, instead of doing the expected fade-out, swirled in on itself before starting the game, just like those spinning scene-switchers that the old Batman TV show used to use.
Secret OriginsThe plotline of Freedom Force is overused, simplistic, and rife with outdated stereotypes. In other words, it fits the plotline found in most Silver Age comics perfectly.
The year is 1962, and the Earth is evolving into a bustling metropolis. Unbeknownst to the human race, however, an evil intergalactic conquerer by the name of Lord Dominion is looking to, well, hold dominion over the Earth, as it just happens to be the last existing dimension yet to fall under his sway.
Rather than do the obvious thing and squish the Earth with either his fantastic cosmic powers or presumably immense army, Lord Dominion, being of the diabolical sort (what, the name didn’t give it away?), instead concocts a plan to seed corrupt members of society with the powerful Energy X, a substance that can grant tremendous powers to whoever uses it. As he sees it, put a couple of super-villains on the planet and the Earth will tear itself apart.
Enter the aptly-named Mentor, a being of good who learns of this plan and decides to stop it. Nabbing some canisters of Energy X, he makes his way to the Earth in a stolen spacecraft. Unfortunately, a lucky shot by his pursuers causes his craft to eject, forcing him to jettison in an escape pod. Canisters of Energy X, released from the ship, plummet to the Earth’s surface, eventually empowering ordinary citizens, both good and bad, with fantastic powers.
And so for the battle for the fate of the Earth begins. (Sorry, I’ve always wanted to say that).