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CID The Dummy

A platform game starring a crash impact dummy sounds like a vaguely interesting premise at the very least. All sorts of crazy scenarios spring to mind, and solid action coupled with the unique expendability of the dummies could lead to a genuinely enjoyable videogame. It’s a shame then that, judging by the preview code of CID The Dummy, any and all good ideas appear to have been left to perish on the drawing board in favour of an uninventive, bog-standard trudge through all too familiar territory.

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However, CID The Dummy is more than just a clichéd platformer – it’s quite a bit worse than that. The unfortunate problems quickly become evident in the basic controls, and simply moving CID (the player character) around the screen is a challenge. Although the head-scratchingly few frames of animation dedicated to his running and jumping is distracting, it’s the astoundingly slack collision detection which shoulders most of the blame. When playing this near-final build of the game it caused some horrendous issues with even the core platforming, turning most jumps into little more than frustratingly imprecise exercises in chance. The issues continue into other fundamental elements such as the camera. It sits at an awfully obscure angle, causing further hassle to arise from even the simplest of leaps, and the schizophrenic nature of the essentials mean that, at the moment, CID The Dummy isn’t likely to reach even the overcrowded realms of average.

It’s not just the foundations which are shaky, however; nearly everything about this version is distinctly lacking. The cut scenes in particular are suspiciously awful, combining Z-grade voice acting with an atrocious script to create a putrid combination that’s so bad it’s not even worth watching for a laugh. Visually, the game has presumably been wrenched from the dawn of 3D and dumped on a DVD. With barely a texture to speak of, effects so small as to be unnoticeable, muddy, flat backgrounds and blocky characters, it’s arguably the worst looking game this generation has had to suffer thus far, and it certainly wouldn’t look out of place on the original PlayStation.

Sound, furthermore, is painful to tolerate and dangerously below average. Repetitious music loops for whole stages, and it’s enough to turn any normal person mad after just a couple of minutes. Effects are also at a bare minimum, with the meagre crashes, bangs and wallops interspersed by infuriating quips from the main character. The same three quips. Over. And Over. And Over. The red mist eventually descends, and it’s difficult to resist the urge to mute it altogether – in fact, it’s difficult to resist the urge to wrench the speakers from the plug and fling them at the neighbour’s cat.

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CID’s clumsy controls also intrude into the weapon handling. Yes, that’s right, weapons. He comes equipped with a little pellet gun, but the insane camera and awkward movement totally impair its use. CID can also punch enemies, but there’s no skill involved, and hammering the button whilst hoping the enemy doesn’t get a counter in is pretty much the only way of going about it. The limited moveset is accompanied by a few different abilities, like a stealth walk, wall run and the thankfully very occasional swimming sections, but they’re not put to nearly enough use. Distressingly, though, even their few chances to shine become tiresome by the second or third time. Other attempts at variety include two sections, in the preview build, in which the mechanics are shifted to driving a car and flying a robot respectively, but they’re so poor that it would have been better to simple not include them at all.

There are many more flaws, both major and minor, which should have been seen to long before now, but the priority list is so big that one doubts they’ll be fixed. Worst of all, though, there’s no semblance of self-awareness to be found in CID The Dummy. Unlike similar games, it doesn’t appear to know what it’s trying to be, and this sadly means that somebody, somewhere thinks it’s, if nothing else, an acceptable videogame. Going on this evidence, that’s patently not the case. Granted, it’s geared squarely to the younger audience, but even then it’s unlikely that any enjoyment will be squeezed from it. This is the stage in which polish is meant to be applied, not near-broken factors addressed, and barring a miracle, it’s highly improbable that the final version of CID The Dummy will fare any better.

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in March 2009.

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