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Publisher: Freeverse    Genre: Arcade
Min OS X: 10.2.8    CPU: Any CPU

Kill Monty
March 23, 2005 | Eddie Park

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Popularity tends to be a cyclical thing. Folks will be into something for a while, only to forget about it as a series of shiny new things comes along. Eventually, however, they'll find themselves going back to that original thing, either rediscovering what was magical about it, looking for a shot of nostalgia, or just going along with the crowd.

Video games are no exception to this, as evidenced by the slew of "new releases" seen lately, which are in fact merely compilations or revitalizations of old genres. While some of them may see cosmetic changes, gamers can and have been reliving the past as far back as the Atari 2600, playing venerable titles such as Yie Ar Kung Fu, the original Mega Man series, and Pitfall. Even games using today's technologies are proving that simple and fun is still a winning formula, such as Katamari Damacy.

Besides the kick of being able to play old games, I think the popularity of such releases is due partly to the fact that they remind us of what originally (and still does) make a game truly great. It doesn't take photorealistic graphics, a symphonic score, or system requirements unmatchable by a supercomputer cluster, but rather that intangible quality known as "fun" that can suck a gamer in and keep him or her tapping away for hours on end. Tetris, for example, is undeniably a simple game, but it kept millions of gamers occupied for years, and iterations of it continue to this day.

This, of course, leads us to one of Freeverse Software's latest offerings, Kill Monty. A spruced-up version of Justin Ficarrota's uDevGames winner Kill Dr. Cote, Kill Monty is yet another reminder that a game need not have 6 trillion polygons and require a separate keyboard purchase in order to suck away countless hours in blissful non-productivity. Rather, it's a profoundly simple and fun game that demonstrates once again that gameplay is king, random violence can be lighthearted, and that we can never, ever get enough of Jen. Or monkeys.

Kill Everything
As the subtitle above states, Kill Monty's story, objective, and ultimate purpose of existence can be summed up in two simple words. Highly reminiscent of an old personal favorite of mine, Smash TV, Kill Monty deposits Jen, Freeverse's enigmatic poster girl, into an enclosed area, hands her a gun, and starts sending wave after wave of cannon fodder after her. It's the player's job to keep her alive as long as possible, which is best expedited by running frantically while blasting away at anything that looks even remotely biological. The phrase "Look out, it's coming right for us!" has never been more applicable.

The enemies come in many different forms, many of them being recognizable icons from various Freeverse games. Mutant monkeys, monkeys dressed as Agent Smith from the Matrix series, playing cards, and sharks are among the waves of menacing minions that seek to rend Jen into chunky pieces. Their motivations remain a mystery to me, but their patterns of attack are all the same, no matter their appearance: make a beeline for Jen and hope to make physical contact before meeting the wrong end of her head-popper.

Besides attempting to overwhelm Jen through sheer numbers, the unfortunate peons also have a few other tricks up their sleeves, gills, or what have you. As players progress through levels they'll start to see red-shaded minions which explode when shot. Needless to say, being in the proximity of such an explosion bodes ill for villains and heroine alike, so close contact is not encouraged. Still later on, blue-shaded enemies will start to appear. These folks have the unsettling ability to bend reality, giving them the ability to warp around the arena as they choose, often popping right next to Jen at the worst possible moment (the worst possible moment being when Jen is otherwise occupied gunning down waves of enemies, which is pretty much always).


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