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Publisher: Chronic Logic    Genre: Arcade
Min OS X: Any Version    CPU: G3 @ 1000 MHz    RAM: 256 MB    Graphics: 32 MB VRAM

October 15, 2004 | Ian Beck

Click to enlarge

Pit fight!

Graphics and Sound
The graphics in Gish are, to use a totally cliched phrase, most excellent. Although 2D, Gish features things such as real-time lighting, light spots reflecting off of Gish's body, and more ambience than you can shake a stick at. Edmund McMillen obviously put a lot of time into crafting the graphics for Gish, because all of the environments and enemies have an attention to detail and consistency with each other that makes playing the game a pleasure.

The world of Gish is a dark, twisted, and one might even say Gothic world, and the graphics really serve to bring it to life. The game is not particularly gory, but there is a very macabre element in the graphics, ranging from the small spatter of blood when you crush a nibbler, to the skulls lying around some of the later levels.

The sound in Gish is really the easiest part of the game to cover, because while it may not stand out, it complements the game nicely, and never detracts. Just about everything you could want in a game's sound, really.

Gish squishes, amber clinks when you pick it up, various enemies make various odd noises when you squish, break, or otherwise incapacitate them, the lava sizzles on contact, and by and large the sounds enhance gameplay and help to immerse you in Gish's world.

The music is a nice addition to the game as well. Different areas in the sewers have different music tracks associated with them, and the tracks loop well. On the down side, each area has roughly seven levels, so all seven levels will have the same music. This can sometimes get a little old if you are stuck on a certain level, but overall the music adds to the ambience and attitude of the game. (And if you really get sick of it, it's simple to turn it off in the preferences and leave the other sounds alone.)

As if all the great stuff I discussed above wasn't enough, Gish also features several versus gameplay modes. You can battle a friend on your computer in diverse games such as sumo (shove the other person off the ledge), football (score the most touchdowns in two minutes), pit fight (take your opponent's health down to zero), and even the basically pointless dragster (both players hit the movement key and see who finishes first). Other games exist as well, and there's even one that you can't play until you've unlocked it by beating the single player game.

I really can't describe how much fun playing the versus mode of Gish is. The single player game is incredible and collection mode is a nice diversion, but versus is so much fun that it probably shouldn't be legal. Whether you are crushing "Gray" into the spikes in pit fight, desperately racing after the football as it flies towards the goal posts, or hanging onto a rotating ledge for dear life in sumo, it is ridiculously fun.

Unfortunately, defining keys for the versus mode can be challenging. For some reason Gish does not allow you to define anything but letters, arrows, and a few other keys, which can make the keyboard rather cramped with two people on it (since you really need two hands to control Gish or Gray). However, if you can figure out a key setup that works for two, this gameplay mode should not be missed for anything.

Overall, Gish is a fabulous game, and I would say the best shareware game that I have played this year, if not longer. I really can't stress enough how much fun Gish is.

On the other hand, it is fairly odd and macabre, which may not appeal to some people. Thanks to the fact that it's shareware, however, there is a great demo which gives you a good idea of what the levels are like, and also allows you to try versus mode. If you enjoy platformers, you really owe it to yourself to try this game.

As far as the system requirements go, I played it on a 700 MHz G4 with 384 MB of RAM. Overall it ran fine, but on some single player levels the game slowed down a bit, making timing difficult. For me this was slightly annoying, but not debilitating, and considering the amount of awesome game that you get for the price, I would recommend it to anyone with a similar or better configuration.

Unique abilities
Excellent physics engine
Single player, versus, collection modes
Tons of secrets and uber-secrets
Macabre and rather dark
Extremely fun!
Well worth the price

Difficult to fit two players on one keyboard in versus
Music can get old if you're stuck
Macabre and rather dark

Publisher: ChronicLogic
Download Gish Demo


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