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V.I.P.

September, 1983. Millions of unsold copies of E.T., Atari’s holy grail of bad taste, were allegedly buried in a landfill site somewhere rather sandy in New Mexico.

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Fast forward twenty years and it’s hard to see why V.I.P., Ubisoft’s failed video game version of a failed TV series, didn’t suffer the same fate. Featuring Pamela Anderson and her cleavage, it might be difficult to see initially why the programme failed, but once you realise that the former Baywatch star made this series when her ginormous silicone breasts were drooping slightly and having become somewhat tired around the eyes, it becomes easier to fathom.

As in the TV show, the plot in V.I.P. is standard detective fare, except that you know who you need to go after right from the start, just as in Columbo. Whereas the latter was a success mostly because it kept the viewer guessing, the former was just a case of being spoonfed bits of story, mouthful after tedious mouthful, until the final climactic scene involving an improbable shootout between a bunch of professionals and Pammy, armed only with her handbag and a couple of tampons. It’s no different here either. The only variables are the stage school dropouts who Pamela needs to hunt down. The story, just as in all the episodes of the series, involves tracking down some ruthlessly stereotyped Latin American people and bringing them to justice, with the racist undertones being just as prevalent as with the Star Wars character Jar Jar Binks.

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During your adventure, you’ll need to control Pammy in a set of handbag bashing scenes, involving a bemani style set-up in which you press the buttons shown on the screen in order to attack the bad guys. These vary from the mind-numbingly easy (pressing one key on the numerical pad) to the slightly less easy (pressing three keys on the numerical pad). Also involved are a series of levels where you play the scarily-tall redhead, as she shoots a load of bad guys. During these levels you’ll need to press a button to lock & load, and then press a different button to fire. Yep, that’s two whole buttons! Tricky.

Also involved is the inclusion of the good old faithful Obligatory Bad Game Sliding Tile Puzzle. Why these seem to always appear in god-awful games I do not know, yet they do, and there’s a whole set of them here, one after the other, in what has to be the most tedious thirty minutes in any game ever.

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Keeping you playing this title throughout the whole arduous two hours will be the points you gain at the end of each level. The better your performance, the more points you’ll get, and considering how easy the whole game is, you’ll be getting rather a lot.

As always, points mean prizes, and this is where the extra special treat of V.I.P. comes in: you’ll be able to spend your points in order to unlock not only the movies you’ve already watched in-game (should you have a desire to watch the polygonitis all the characters are infested with over again), but also some fetching photos of the cast members wearing swimwear.

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Yes, you read that right. As if you hadn’t seen quite enough of Pamela Anderson and her worryingly manly co-stars already, you get to see them lounging around in swimwear here too. Although they all at least try to look sultry in their photo shoots, the final product isn’t exactly appealling. In fact, in one image in particular, it looks more like the annual pool party of the When Botox Goes Bad Society.

When the end finally comes, which it does really very quickly, you’ll find yourself relieved that it’s all over now rather than annoyed that you got ripped off. Although the entire game’s duration is at most about two hours, those two hours will have been the dullest of your life. V.I.P. is the gaming equivalent of a festering, steaming heap of horse manure being dumped from a great height onto your head while you’re trying to eat your dinner. Even the E.T. landfill’s too good for this title.

1 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in May 2007.

Gentle persuasion

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